HomeWorldQueen Elizabeth II's coffin arrives in Edinburgh on final journey

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin arrives in Edinburgh on final journey

Thousands of mourners left the Scottish retreat on Sunday en route to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, where she died, to bid farewell to its longest-serving monarch.

A chariot carrying a 96-year-old oak coffin wrapped in the Royal Standard of Scotland was driven from the Balmoral estate via Aberdeen and Dundee to the capital, Edinburgh, where the streets were filled with well-wishers.

Some applauded, some cried, and then they fell silent as the coffin reached the palace of Holyroodhouse, met by senior royals, including the Queen’s daughter Anne, who cursed if it was taken inside.

“It was a great sense of loss, but there was also a sense of closure when you looked past the coffin,” said onlooker Lucy Hampshire from the northern English city of York.

The Queen died on Thursday after breaking a record seven decades on the throne, with her son Charles immediately taking over as King of the UK and 14 other territories.

His coffin will be held overnight at Holyroodhouse, the monarch’s official residence in Scotland, and on Monday Charles III will carry it in procession to nearby St Giles’ Cathedral.

It will be moved to London on Tuesday for four days let-in-state before the funeral on 19 September, the event is expected to be attended by heads of state and seen by millions of spectators around the world.

“This is history, history is being made. We’ve been with the Queen for so long – 70 years,” ex-soldier Stuart McKay watched as Cortez approached.

“This is the only emperor we know and I think it is my duty to say goodbye to him.”

– ‘Awesome Moments’ –

The symbolism of the Queen’s final visit will be heavy for Scotland – a nation that has deep royal ties but where there is also a strong independence movement seeking to break the centuries-old union with the United Kingdom.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was a “sad and touching moment” when the Queen was last seen leaving her cherished Balmoral asylum.

Charles – formally proclaimed monarch in a grand ceremony in London on Saturday – will attend a family watch on Monday evening at the coffin in St Giles.

He will also have his first audience with Sturgeon, before flying with his wife Camilla, Queen Consort, to Belfast on Tuesday.

The trip to Wales will take place later in the week, completing its tour of all four countries in the United Kingdom.

The new monarch will be attended by British Prime Minister Liz Truss, who was only appointed by the late Queen on Tuesday.

– William and Harry together –

Charles has seen his popularity recover since his scandalous split with his much-loved first wife, Diana, Princess of Wales, and her death in the 1997 Paris car crash.

But he takes the throne at a moment of deep concern over the rising cost of living in Britain and the international instability caused by the war in Ukraine.

While the accession of Charles has led newspapers to call the new “Carolian” era, Britain and the royal family are still approaching the end of the Elizabethan era.

Prince William broke his silence on Saturday with a heartfelt tribute to his beloved “Granny.”

“She was by my side in my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life,” said William, now the Prince of Wales, heir to the throne.

But the Queen’s death provided a surprising display of unity for 40-year-old William and his younger brother Harry, 37, as they emerged with their wives outside Windsor Castle to speak to well-wishers.

The sight of two couples, who have barely seen each other together since 2020 – even if they’re separated to speak and shake hands from different sides of the cheering crowd – might spark rumors of a reconciliation.

The photographs of the four were printed on the front pages of Sunday newspapers.

“Reunited for Grandma,” read the Sunday Mirror’s headline, while The Telegraph followed “Grief in Reunion” and The Sun followed with “All 4 One.”

The Sunday Times focused on the apparent frost, with the headline: “Warning Windsor’ Strange Struggle to Honor the Queen”.

– ‘Inspirational examples’ –

Charles swore at the ceremonial accession council at St James’s Palace on Saturday that he would “strive to follow the inspiring example set by me” by his mother during his “service of a lifetime”.

In recent days thousands of people have gathered outside Buckingham Palace and other royal residences to offer flowers and offer condolence messages, or simply to experience the history in construction.

But officials expect more people to pay their respects during the Queen’s state stay at Westminster Hall of Parliament, before a televised funeral service at Westminster Abbey.

Funerals for the Queen – who came to the throne in 1952 at just 25 years old – will be attended by world leaders including US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and possibly Japanese Emperor Naruhito.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is not expected to attend, said he was keen to “expand friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation” as he congratulated Charles on his ascension to the throne.

Charles was formally named king in Australia and New Zealand – former British colonies that have been independent for decades but retain the monarchy – at get-together ceremonies on Sunday.

He held his first reception on Sunday for representatives of the Commonwealth realms, the 14 former colonies he governs apart from Britain.

With the rise of republican movements from Australia to Antigua, one of her biggest challenges will be how to keep the worldwide family together that Mother loved so much.

The Queen’s record 70 years on the throne was a constant during a turbulent time for Britain, from the post-war deprivation and loss of her empire to recent turmoil such as Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronation of Charles, an elaborate ritual steeped in tradition and history, will take place in the same historical setting of Westminster Abbey as it has been for centuries, on a fixed date.

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