EDINBURGH, Scotland (AP) — King Charles arrived in Edinburgh on Monday to accompany the coffin of his late mother on an emotional procession through the historic heart of Scotland’s capital to a cathedral where she will rest for 24 hours to allow the public to pay their last respects.
Charles and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, were driven from the airport to the Royal Family’s official residence in Edinburgh, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin lay overnight in the Throne Room .
On their way, they passed large crowds of people who were crammed behind metal barriers along the Royal Mile, the road between Holyroodhouse and St. Giles Cathedral. Spectators cheered and waved as the King’s limousine passed.
Charles and Camilla got out of their car at Holyroodhouse and waved to people, and watched the floral tributes before a cannon salute rang out from Edinburgh Castle.
Earlier in London, Charles received his condolences in Parliament and told lawmakers he would follow his late mother’s example of ‘selfless duty’.
Earlier, Elizabeth II’s grandson Prince Harry hailed her as a ‘compass’ and praised her ‘unwavering grace and dignity’.
The government, meanwhile, announced that the nation would observe a minute’s silence on Sunday, the day before the Queen’s funeral. The “moment of reflection” will take place at 8 p.m. (1900 GMT). People were encouraged to mark silence at home or at community events.
Hundreds of lawmakers crammed into the 1,000-year-old Westminster Hall in Parliament for the pageant-rich service, during which Parliament offered its condolences to the King, and he responded.
A trumpet fanfare greeted the King and Camilla as they entered the room, which was packed with hundreds of lawmakers.
Charles told members of the House of Commons and House of Lords that he would follow his late mother in upholding the “precious principles of constitutional governance” that underpin Britain’s political system.
The hall, with its magnificent hammerbeam roof, is the oldest part of the parliament complex – a remnant of the medieval Palace of Westminster that once stood on the site.
“As I stand before you today, I cannot help but feel the weight of history that surrounds us and reminds us of the vital parliamentary traditions to which members of both Houses dedicate themselves, with such commitment staff for the good of all of us,” says Charles.
The ceremony took place in Westminster Hall as monarchs are not permitted inside the House of Commons. This rule dates back to the 17th century, when King Charles I attempted to enter and arrest legislators. This confrontation between the crown and Parliament led to a civil war that ended with the beheading of the king in 1649.
Earlier on Monday, a personal statement posted on the Archwell website from Harry and his wife Meghan said he cherished their times together “from my earliest childhood memories with you, to meeting you for the first time in as Commander-in-Chief, until the first moment you met my darling wife and hugged your beloved great-grandchildren.
Amid acrimony at the House of Windsor, Harry quit as senior royal and moved to the United States two years ago. Saturday there was a possible sign of reconciliation as Harry and Meghan joined his brother Prince William and sister-in-law Catherine to meet mourners outside Windsor Castle.
The national outpouring of grief continued on Sunday as thousands of people streets and roadsides lined as the oak coffin was transported from the late Queen’s beloved Balmoral Castle summer retreat, where she died on Thursday, to Edinburgh.
In Edinburgh, the King will walk behind his mother’s coffin as it is slowly transported from Holyroodhouse to St. Giles Cathedral, where the Crown of Scotland will be placed on the coffin before a service of prayer and reflection on life and 70- regnal year of much-loved monarch.
The Queen’s coffin will rest at the cathedral for 24 hours, giving members of the public a chance to parade and pay their respects. On Tuesday he will be flown to London where the coffin will be displayed in the Palace of Parliament from Wednesday afternoon until the morning of the funeral on September 19.
The authorities have already issued rules and guidelines for people wanting to pay homage to London, with a long queue expected.
After visiting Scotland, Charles is embarking on a tour of the other nations that make up the UK – he visits Northern Ireland’s capital Belfast on Tuesday and Wales on Friday.
Harry’s statement ended on a poignant note alluding to the death last year of his grandfather Prince Philip, saying that “We too smile knowing you and grandfather are reunited now. , and both of them at peace.”
Mike Corder reported from London.
Follow all the AP stories about the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the British Royal Family on https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii