Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako on Saturday left for Britain on a government plane to attend Queen Elizabeth II's state funeral, marking the couple's first trip abroad since he ascended to the throne in 2019.

For the empress, who has long been battling a stress-induced illness, it is also her first overseas trip since she attended the coronation of Tonga's King Tupou VI in 2015.

Japanese emperors do not traditionally attend funerals and the couple's attendance at the funeral of Britain's longest-reigning monarch on Monday will be only the second time, after then-Emperor Akihito and his wife, Empress Michiko, traveled to Belgium for the funeral of King Baudouin in 1993.