UK inviting North Korea to send envoy to Queen Elizabeth's funeral - source

Britain mourns Queen Elizabeth

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain is inviting a representative from North Korea to attend Queen Elizabeth's funeral on Monday, but Afghanistan, Syria and Venezuela will not be given an invite, a foreign office source said on Wednesday.

Queen Elizabeth's funeral will take place in London on Sept. 19, and a host of world leaders, royalty and other dignitaries have already said they will attend.

The invitation for communist North Korea would be at an ambassadorial level, the source said. This means that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will not attend. Pyongyang has an embassy in West London.

Syria and Venezuela would not be invited because Britain does not currently have diplomatic relations with those states. Afghanistan was not invited due to the current political situation, the source said.

They join Russia, Myanmar and Belarus in not being asked to attend.

Foreign dignitaries who do come to Britain will also be invited to visit the Queen's Lying in State inside parliament's Westminster Hall ahead of the funeral.

Funeral invitations are being sent to all holders of Britain's highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, and the George Cross, which can also be held by civillians.

In total, foreign office officials have handwritten around 1,000 invitations for Monday's funeral and a reception with King Charles on Sunday. The deadline to accept funeral invitiations passes tomorrow, after which officials will finalise the seating plan.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Kate Holton and Angus MacSwan)