Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin takes a somber journey through Scotland

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edinburgh, scotland — In somber royal procession, Queen Elizabeth IIElizabeth’s flag-draped coffin was slowly driven through the Scottish countryside on Sunday from her beloved Balmoral Castle to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. Mourners filled city streets and highway bridges or lined rural lanes with cars and tractors to partake in a historic farewell to the monarch who had reigned for 70 years.

The hearse passed piles of bouquets and other tributes as it led a seven-car procession from Balmoral, where the queen died Thursday aged 96, for a six-hour drive through Scottish towns to the palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. The late queen’s coffin was draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland and topped with a wreath of the estate’s flowers, including sweet peas, a favorite of the queen.

The queen’s coffin was making a detour back to the capital. After it is transferred to London on Tuesday, the coffin will be transferred from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to the Houses of Parliament to lie in state until a state funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19. The White House said Sunday that President Biden had formally accepted an invitation to attend the funeral and will be joined by First Lady Jill Biden.

The procession was a big event for Scotland, as it takes the UK days to mourn its longest-reigning monarch, the only one most Britons have ever known. People came out hours earlier to get a space by the police barricades in Edinburgh. In the afternoon, the crowds were 10 people at the venues.

“I think she’s been a constant in my life. She was the queen I was born under and she’s always been there,” said Angus Ruthven, a 54-year-old civil servant from Edinburgh. “I think it’s going to take her a long time to adjust to her not being here. It’s pretty sudden.”

Silence fell over Edinburgh’s crowded Royal Mile as the hearse carrying the queen arrived. But when the convoy disappeared from sight, the crowd began to spontaneously applaud.

GREAT BRITAIN-ROYAL-QUEEN-DEATH
Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral procession as it proceeds down the Royal Mile towards Holyroodhouse on September 11, 2022 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

JAMIE WILLIAMSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images


When the hearse arrived at Holyroodhouse, members of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, dressed in green kilts, carried the coffin past the queen’s three youngest children – Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – and carried it away. They took them to the throne room, where they would remain until Monday afternoon so that the staff could pay their last respects.

King Charles III and his queen consort Camilla will travel to Edinburgh on Monday to join another solemn procession that will carry the queen’s coffin to St Giles’ Cathedral on the city’s Royal Mile. The coffin will remain there for 24 hours so the Scottish public can pay their respects before it is transferred to London on Tuesday.

The first town through which the procession passed was Ballater, where the residents have the royal family as neighbors. Hundreds of people watched in silence, some throwing flowers in front of the hearse.

“She meant a lot to people in this area. People were crying, it was amazing to see her,” said Victoria Pacheco, a guest house manager.

In every Scottish town and village, the entourage met mute scenes of respect. Most of the people remained silent; some clapped politely, others pointed their phone cameras at passing cars. In Aberdeenshire, farmers lined the road with an honor guard of tractors.

Along the route, the procession passed through sites steeped in the history of the House of Windsor. These included Dyce, where the Queen formally opened the UK’s first North Sea pipeline in 1975, and Fife, near the University of St Andrews, where her grandson Prince William, now Prince of Wales, studied. and met his future wife, Catalina.

Sunday’s solemn boost came as the queen’s eldest son was formally proclaimed the new monarch, King Charles III, in the rest of the United Kingdom’s nations: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It came a day after a pompous ascension ceremony In England.

“I am deeply aware of this great heritage and the heavy duties and responsibilities of sovereignty, which have now passed to me,” Charles said on Saturday.

Just before the proclamation was read out in Edinburgh on Sunday, a protester appeared with a banner condemning imperialism and urging leaders to “abolish the monarchy”. The police took her away. The reaction was mixed. One man yelled, “Let her go! It’s free speech!” while others yelled, “Have some respect!”

Still, there were some boos in Edinburgh when Joseph Morrow, Lord Lyon King of Arms, ended his proclamation with the words “God save the King!”

Ann Hamilton, 48, said she thought the heckling was “absolutely terrible”.

“There are tens of thousands of people here today to show their respect. For them to be here, disrupting things, I think it was terrible. If they were so against it, they shouldn’t have come,” he said.

Still, it was a sign of how some, including former British colonies, are struggling with the legacy of the monarchy.

Previously, proclamations were read in other parts of the Commonwealth, including Australia and New Zealand.

Charles, even as he mourned his late mother, was on his way to work at Buckingham Palace and meeting with the Secretary General and other Commonwealth representatives. Many in those nations are grappling with affection for the queen and her lingering bitterness over her colonial legacies, which ranged from outright slavery to corporal punishment in African schools to the looting of artifacts in British cultural institutions.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who had begun laying the groundwork for an Australian republic after elections in May, said on Sunday that now was not the time to change but to pay tribute to the late queen.

India, a former British colony, observed a state day of mourning, with flags lowered to half-staff on all government buildings.

Amid the grief engulfing the House of Windsor, there were hints of a possible family reconciliation. Prince William and his brother Harry, along with their respective wives, Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, enchanted mourners near Windsor Castle with a surprise joint appearance on Saturday.

In Ballater, the Rev. David Barr said locals regard the royals as neighbors.

“When she comes up here and walks through those doors, I think the real part of her stays mostly outside,” he said. “And as she comes in, she was able to be a wife, a loving wife, a loving mother, a loving grandmother, and then a loving great-grandmother, and an aunt, and just be normal.”

Elizabeth Taylor, from Aberdeen, had tears in her eyes after the hearse carrying the queen’s coffin passed Ballater.

“It was very emotional. It was respectful and it showed what they think of the queen,” he said. “He certainly did serve this country, even up to a few days before her death.”

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