- The Queen’s coffin leaves Balmoral Castle, where she died
- The coffin is taken to Edinburgh, on the route of the crowds
- The funeral will take place on September 19
EDINBURGH, Scotland, Sept 11 (Reuters) – The coffin of Queen Elizabeth was brought to Edinburgh from her summer home in the Scottish Highlands on Sunday, past tens of thousands of mourners who lined the path to pay tribute, many in somber silence , some applauded and others in tears.
Just after 10am (0900 GMT), a hearse carrying Elizabeth’s oak coffin emerged from the gates of Balmoral Castle, where she died on Thursday at the age of 96 at the start of a six-hour slow drive to the Scottish capital.
The coffin was draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland with a wreath of flowers from the Balmoral estate, including sweet peas, one of Elizabeth’s favourites.
Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
In an emotional tribute to his mother on Friday, the new monarch King Charles said she had embarked on “one last great journey” to join her husband Prince Philip, 73, who died last year.
The funeral procession from Balmoral is the first in a series of events leading up to the state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London on September 19.
Her death has drawn tears, sadness and heartfelt tributes, not only from the Queen’s own close family and many in the UK, but from around the world – reflecting her presence on the world stage for seven decades.
When the hearse reached the small village of Ballater, near Balmoral, hundreds stood silently by the roadside in the bright morning sun as the hearse passed, and some threw flowers in the street.
“It’s just very, very sad. I’m glad I was here to say goodbye,” said Elizabeth Alexander, 69, who was born on the day the Queen was crowned in 1953. Read more
Accompanied by the Queen’s daughter Princess Anne, the funeral procession wound its way from the remote castle through scenic countryside, villages and small towns, and at one point passed an honor guard made up of dozens of tractors lined up by farmers in adjacent fields .
It was due to arrive in Edinburgh around 16:00 (1500 GMT) where the coffin will be taken to the throne room of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
“There was no way I could miss this. I would regret it for the rest of my life,” said Eilidh Mackintosh, 62, who left her home at 6am to make sure she got a good view of Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile, where large crowds gathered.
“She never let us down and I didn’t want to let her down either. Now that she’s gone, there’s a big hole in the heart of the nation.”
Many thousands have already gathered in the royal palaces in the days since Elizabeth’s death, and great heaps of flowers are piling up as people pay their respects.
“I know how much you, the whole nation – and I think the whole world – sympathize with me for the irreparable loss we have all suffered,” Charles said at a ceremony Saturday.
Charles became king immediately after the death of his mother and was officially proclaimed the new monarch at a ceremony filled with pageantry and centuries-old traditions. Continue reading
Similar proclamations follow in the United Kingdom and the other 14 kingdoms of which Charles is now head of state, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Continue reading
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said parliament would be called back on Thursday to give members a chance to pay tribute. Continue reading
The Queen ascended the throne after the death of her father, King George VI. on February 6, 1952, when she was just 25 years old. Her coronation took place a year later.
Although Elizabeth’s death was not entirely unexpected given her age and deteriorating health, the news nonetheless shocked her.
“We all thought she was invincible,” her grandson Prince William, who is now heir to the throne, told a well-wisher as he faced crowds at Windsor Castle on Saturday. Continue reading
The day of Elizabeth’s funeral will be a public holiday in Britain, officials have announced. US President Joe Biden said he will be there, although full details of the event and attendees have not yet been released.
Before that, her coffin will be flown to London, and there will be a somber procession when it is later taken from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall, where it will lie in pageantry for four days.
“It goes without saying that we can expect a large number of people,” a spokesman for Prime Minister Liz Truss told reporters.
Truss, whose appointment as Prime Minister on Tuesday was the Queen’s last public act, will be touring the UK’s four nations over the next few days alongside King Charles as the new head of state and prime minister. Continue reading
Charles, 73, is now the 41st monarch in a line that traces its origins to Norman King William the Conqueror, who succeeded to the English throne in 1066.
Elizabeth’s death capped a difficult few years for the royal family.
The most high-profile issue involved their grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who stepped down from royal life in 2020 to move to California, from where both have heavily criticized the institution.
This has alienated them from the rest of the family, with Harry and his older brother William reportedly barely speaking to each other. But her grandmother’s death has meant that differences were put aside as they and their wives appeared outside Windsor Castle on Saturday to meet the crowd. Continue reading
A royal source described it as an important sign of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family.
Sign up now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.com
Reporting by Michael Holden, William James and William Schomberg in London, Russell Cheyne in Balmoral, Lewis MacDonald and Marco Trujillo in Ballater and Andrew MacAskill in Edinburgh. Edited by Kate Holton, Mark Potter and Frances Kerry
Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.