Armenian prez Vahagn Khachaturyan slammed for having footman photograph him next to Queen's coffin

Vahagn Khachaturyan, the President of Armenia, stunned the staff in Westminster Hall as photography is prohibited in the historic structure

Armenian prez Vahagn Khachaturyan slammed for having footman photograph him next to Queen's coffin
Vahagn Khachaturyan, the President of Armenia was in Westminster Hall to pay his last respects to the late Queen (@AHajizade/Twitter, Yui Mok - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM: The moment when Armenian President Vahagn Khachaturyan was photographed by an assistant at the foot of Queen Elizabeth's flag-draped English oak coffin caused outrage among those present in the hall. In London's Westminster Hall, where the queen is laid in state, photography is prohibited and spectators are asked to be respectful and remain silent.

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On Sunday, September 18, Khachaturyan violated the strict guidelines of the 1,000-year-old structure by simply taking a photo. Anyone entering the magnificent hall with a specific time slot to pay their last respects is always given a briefing explaining the restrictions. Early in the morning, Khachaturyan, one of Vladimir Putin's few allies, is escorted into Westminster Hall by members of his entourage. Shortly thereafter, he is led into the VIP row and remains standing at the foot of the flag-draped coffin before joining hundreds of other mourners who had gathered throughout the night and waited for up to 13 hours. When his assistant pulls out his cell phone and takes a photo of him bowing and leaving, the others present in the hallway are shocked by this action.

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In a report by The Sun, it was stated that "Staff in the hall were left outraged by the incident" concerning the president of Armenia. Andrew Kerslake, 52, who spoke to The Sun said, "It's just dreadful. He was yapping away on the viewing platform, laughing and showing no respect."

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Kerslake added, "There were hundreds of people in that hall - no one was speaking. Only him. Yap, yap, yap, yap. He clearly planned to have his photo taken. He and his aide hold back as the group in front passes the coffin. It's an absolute outrage. These people are supposed to set an example. He knows the rules and would have been told before he went in."

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Another anonymous told The Sun, "The rules are extremely straightforward. We simply ask people to behave with respect and not take any photos. Everyone has managed to follow those rules to the very letter - apart from this one individual." 

U.S. President Joe Biden gestures next to first lady Jill Biden as they view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II lying in state at Westminster Hall on September 18, 2022 in London, England. Members of the public are able to pay respects to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II for 23 hours a day from 17:00 on September 18, 2022 until 06:30 on September 19, 2022.  Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III.
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden pay their last respects to Queen Elizabeth II as they view her coffin lying in state at Westminster Hall (Joe Giddens-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

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On Sunday, September 18, President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden also paid their condolences to the late monarch and will be present at the funeral. It is unknown if Khachaturyan would also be present at the funeral.

Kachaturyan nation received international attention following a deadly clash between Armenian forces and those of neighboring Azerbaijan. In the summer, Kachaturyan met with Putin to talk about their long-running dispute with Azerbaijan. This past weekend, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) visited Armenia with a legislative delegation and denounced Azerbaijan for its "illegal" attacks.

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