Presidential sister Irene Marcos Araneta is the “special representative” of the chief executive attending the state funeral of British Queen Elizabeth II.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr‘s younger sister is accompanied by her spouse, chairperson and CEO Gregorio “Greggy” Araneta III of the Araneta Properties Inc.
The couple is attending the events for the state funeral beginning with the queen’s lying-in-state on Sunday (London time), according to Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles.
The president left Manila on Sunday for New York to deliver the Philippine national statement at the 77th United Nations General Assembly.
Last September 9, Marcos was among those who mourned the British queen’s passing upon receiving the news.
“The world has lost a true figure of majesty in what she demonstrated throughout her life and throughout her reign as Queen,” he said in a statement.
“She exemplified to the world a true monarch’s great dignity, commitment to duty, and devotion to all those in her realm,” Marcos added.
Elizabeth, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, died in her Scottish summer home at Balmoral Castle at the age of 96 on September 8.
Hundreds of foreign royals, world leaders and dignitaries are expected to attend her state funeral, seen as one of the biggest diplomatic gatherings in decades.
Also those who will attend are the queen’s family members, courtiers, public figures and United Kingdom politicians.
This is Britain’s first state funeral in over half a century ever since the death of its wartime leader, late British prime minister Winston Churchill in 1965.
The queen will be buried beside her husband, British Prince Philip, at the King George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor’s Castle.
Meanwhile, Irene’s role as Marcos’ “special representative” at the state funeral earned mixed reactions from the public.
Some wished her well while others questioned her capacity since she is not a government or state official, unlike most attendees.
“Have a safe travel. God Bless!” a Filipino wrote on Facebook.
“Enjoy mamsh LOL,” another Facebook user said.
“Family joined force, as in teamwork. Have a [blessed] and safe trip to you both, Madam [Irene] Marcos Araneta,” a different Pinoy commented.
“In what capacity? She’s not even a government official. Kahit ambassadorial level lang pwede na,” a Filipino in Twitter said.
“Dapat inuungkat ng senado ‘to, why in the world are we sending someone without official capacity????? Hindi ho tayo monarkiya dito,” another Twitter user said.
“Wasn’t [Ambasaddor] Teddy Boy Locsin just appointed as Phil Amb to UK? Why send his sister and spouse (both private citizens) as ‘special representative’?” questioned a different Pinoy, referring to Teddy Locsin Jr, the recently-appointed Philippine ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The public regards Irene as “the quiet one” since, unlike her blood siblings, she does not hold any public office.
The other private citizen is adopted daughter Aimee Marcos.
Irene is known as a socialite and a “long-time patroness of the arts.” She has also identified herself as a “musician by training, but generally a mother.”