- The Queen’s coffin was taken from Balmoral Castle, where she died
- The sarcophagus arrives at the Royal Palace in Edinburgh
- Crowds, some brimming with tears, line the road
- The funeral will be held on September 19
Edinburgh, Scotland (Reuters) – Queen Elizabeth’s coffin arrived in Edinburgh on Sunday after a six-hour journey from her summer home in the Scottish Highlands as tens of thousands of mourners passed on the road, many in gloomy silence, some applauding. Others shed tears.
Just after 10 a.m. (0900 GMT), a plant carrying Elizabeth’s oak coffin emerged from the gates of Balmoral Castle, where she died Thursday at the age of 96, beginning a slow journey to the Scottish capital.
The coffin was Royal Standard of Scotland wrapped with a wreath made of flowers taken from Balmoral’s farm including sweet peas, one of Elizabeth’s favorites.
Register now to get free unlimited access to Reuters.com
And crowds, at a depth of fifteen somewhere, gathered in the center of Edinburgh to greet the procession that included the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, as it arrived at the Palace of Holyroodhouse where he was greeted by a military honor guard.
Then soldiers from the Royal Scottish Regiment moved the coffin to the throne room of the palace, where it will remain for the night.
Ilidh McIntosh, 62, said she left her home at 6am to make sure she had a good view of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile where large crowds were gathering.
“She never failed us and I didn’t want to let her down either. Now there’s a big hole left in the heart of the nation.”
The flight from Balmoral was the first in a series of events leading up to the state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London on 19 September.
In a touching tribute to his mother on Friday, the new King Charles said she was embarking on a “last great journey” to join Prince Philip, her husband who died last year 73 years ago.
Her death sparked tears, grief and warm tributes, not only from the Queen’s close family and many Britons, but also from around the world – reflecting her presence on the world stage for seven decades.
Wherever the procession went as it made its way through the picturesque countryside, villages, towns, and small towns, people lined the roads or parked their cars to get out and watch. Once she passed a guard of honor formed by dozens of tractors that farmers lined up in the nearby fields.
Many watched silently in the bright sunlight. Some threw flowers on the way. For others, the emotion of the moment made them cry.
“It’s very sad,” said Elizabeth Alexander, 69, who was born on the day of the Queen’s coronation in 1953. “I am glad to be here to say our goodbyes.”
Thousands continue to gather at other royal palaces across Britain, and large piles of flowers gather as people visit to pay their respects.
Charles became king immediately after his mother’s death and was officially proclaimed the new king at a Saturday party, full of old-fashioned joys and traditions. Read more
Similar announcements follow across the United Kingdom and the fourteen other worlds Charles now heads, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Read more
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Parliament will be summoned on Thursday to allow members to honor him. Read more
The Queen ascended to the throne after the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952, when she was only 25 years old. She was crowned a year later.
While Elizabeth’s death was not entirely unexpected given her age and declining health, there was still a sense of shock at the news.
“We all thought she was invincible,” her grandson Prince William, now heir to the throne, told an enthusiast on Saturday as he met the crowds at Windsor Castle. Read more
British officials have announced that Elizabeth’s funeral will be a public holiday in Britain. US President Joe Biden has said he will be there, although full details of the event and attendance have not been released.
Before that, her coffin will be flown to London and there will be a sombre procession when it is later taken from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall where he will remain in the state for four days.
“It goes without saying that we can expect large numbers of people,” the prime minister’s spokeswoman Liz Truss told reporters.
Truss, whose appointment as prime minister on Tuesday was the Queen’s last public act, will join King Charles as the new head of state and the prime minister is on a four-nation tour of the UK in the next few days. Read more
Charles, 73, is now the 41st king in a dynasty that traces back to Norman King William the Conqueror who seized the English throne in 1066.
Elizabeth’s death capped two difficult years for the royal family.
The most famous case involved her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who are stepping down from royal life in 2020 to move to California as both have been highly critical of the establishment.
This alienated them from the rest of the family, with Harry and his older brother William saying they barely spoke on terms. But the death of their grandmother put feuds aside, as they showed up with their wives outside Windsor Castle to meet the crowds on Saturday. Read more
A royal source described it as an important display of loneliness at a very difficult time for the family.
Register now to get free unlimited access to Reuters.com
Additional reporting by Michael Holden, William James and William Schomberg in London, Russell Chine in Balmoral, Lewis MacDonald and Marco Trujillo in Ballater and Andrew McCaskill in Edinburgh; Editing by Kate Holton, Mark Potter, Frances Kerry and Andrew Heavens
Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
“Lifelong beer expert. General travel enthusiast. Social media buff. Zombie maven. Communicator.”