King Charles in Scotland, while Queen Elizabeth’s coffin rests in St. Giles Cathedral

EDINBURGH, Scotland – Long before you saw the hearse – and the English oak coffin, adorned with Scottish thistle and heather – you heard the sound of horses’ hooves on the cobbled streets of the Royal Mile.

Edinburgh’s Old Town isn’t usually a quiet place – it’s noisy, touristy, often a bit unsteady on its feet. But it was still Monday afternoon, under blue skies, with sunshine. The crowd heard the horses and leaned forward.

They saw, in majestic procession, the Mercedes-Benz hearse escorted by the king’s bodyguards for Scotland, followed by the main mourners: the four children of Queen Elizabeth II. Three were in their finest military attire, including King Charles III in Admiral’s uniform. Prince Andrew was dressed in a morning coat – he was no longer a member of the royal family, mostly banished by scandal, but still present.

Live updates: Scots pay their respects as Queen’s coffin lies in repose in Edinburgh

People were mostly silent, brandishing their smartphones. A lone rowdy, who aimed his insults at Andrew, was pulled back and arrested for disturbing the peace. Some in the crowd shouted “God bless the queen!” and “God save the king!”

At this moment, Scotland has embraced its “Queen of Scots”.

But the question with his death is what comes next?

There is no doubt that the British Royal Family has the closest ties to Scotland, and the vast majority of people here deeply respected the Queen.

And even. Scots have complicated feelings about the monarchy and whether Scotland should be independent – ​​or even a republic without hereditary kingship. Underlying those sentiments were here on Monday, as the Queen’s coffin traveled from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St. Giles Cathedral, and the new King addressed the Scottish Parliament.

Inside St. Giles, the Reverend Iain Greenshields paid tribute to the Queen’s love for Balmoral, where she was “appreciated as neighbor and friend, and there she drew strength and refreshment during the months of ‘summer “.

The Queen savored the royal estate of Balmoral in the Scottish Highlands, all 50,000 acres of it, where she vacationed, on the vast moors and glens, shooting grouse and red deer. The Queen’s family called it her “happy place”. This is where she performs her final ceremonial act – appointing its 15th Prime Minister, Liz Truss, last week. And that’s where she died Thursday, at the age of 96.

“She loved Scotland. I loved it,” said Haley Wilson, 34, a civil tax official who queued for hours to see the Queen’s coffin at the cathedral. the bagpipes. She loved the outdoors and the scenery. She loved Scotland. It means so much.

Wilson was 18 months old when she first met the Sovereign. Her mother liked to tell how the Queen, at church for Easter, had “waved” baby Haley. Wilson described Elizabeth II as a “Scottish queen”.

Paul Anderson, 52, a local violinist, has performed for the Queen on several occasions over the years at Crathie Kirk, a small church just outside the gates of Balmoral.

When he played upbeat music, she would “stamp her feet and smile and nod at me at the end,” he said. And he recalled that at a Balmoral ball with “vigorous” Scottish country dancing, the Queen – then 93 – was “the first person to step onto the dance floor”.

“People felt like she was part of the community,” he said, noting that at the same time, “they knew she was the queen” and the locals “would let them have it.” “.

The new king also has deep ties to Scotland. He attended Gordonstoun boarding school, with its cold showers, bullying and serious study, which he credits with teaching him hard work. He established a center for his Prince’s Foundation and advocacy for sustainability at Dumfries House in Scotland.

Prior to his accession, Charles held a series of titles in Scotland: Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, and Prince and High Steward of Scotland.

He even looks comfortable in a kilt.

King Charles III addresses Parliament for the first time as a monarch

Charles wore tartan and bright red socks as he appeared in front of the Scottish Parliament on Monday, as part of a whirlwind tour of the UK’s four nations.

King Charles III addressed the Scottish Parliament on September 12 after the procession of his mother Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin to St Giles Cathedral. (Video: Reuters)

“The Queen, like so many generations of our family before her, has found in the hills of this land and in the hearts of her people a refuge and a home,” he said.

This royal line descends from James VI of Scotland, who followed the first Elizabeth in the 16th century, during the time of William Shakespeare.

Charles quoted Shakespeare when he addressed both Houses of the UK Parliament at Westminster earlier today. But in Scotland, he borrowed from the poet Robert Burns, saying that his mother the queen was: “Man’s friend, truth’s friend; The friend of age and the guide of youth.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told the King she remembered well the royal family’s barbecues at Balmoral Castle, with her late father Prince Philip in charge of the grill. She remembers one time one of the Queen’s corgis chewed on a lamp wire at the castle – although the lights remained on and no dogs were harmed.

Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke to the Scottish Parliament and King Charles III about his memories of the Queen, including the first time he saw her. (Video: Reuters)

Sturgeon called the Queen “a loyal and steadfast friend” to her nation and “intrinsic to the history of Scotland”. Sturgeon pledged his government’s loyalty to the king.

Speeches of condolence have been warm, even from Scottish leaders of republican-leaning parties, such as the Greens.

But among the thousands of people who lined Edinburgh’s roads to view the Queen’s coffin, many expressed a dual loyalty.

Sophie Campbell, 63, a retired shop worker, said she would like Scotland to become an independent nation while keeping the king. “It would be the best of both worlds,” she said. “Old and new.”

Campbell said many Scots had no problem with the monarchy. “They are part of our history. But, she explained: “People in Scotland have problems with the English”, with Boris Johnson and the ruling elites in London.

Daniel Wincott, professor of law and society at Cardiff University, noted that although leaders of the pro-independence Scottish National Party offered respectful comments and “praises for the Queen” last week, he could always imagine that after a short period of “reuniting” when the Queen died, the ties that bind the United Kingdom might “loosen”.

In the 2014 independence referendum, which saw Scotland refuse to leave the union, SNP leaders made it clear that any newly formed nation would retain the monarch as head of state.

Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney, an SNP leader, repeated on BBC radio on Monday the promise that “His Majesty the King should be the Head of State of an independent Scotland”.

He said, “that’s what we will continue to discuss.”

Not all agree. Leaders of the Green and Alba parties in Scotland say they want to break away from the monarchy after independence.

A major survey in May, for the think tank British futurefound that 45% in Scotland wanted to keep the monarchy – with 36% saying the end of the Queen’s reign would be a good time to move to a republic.

On the question of Scottish independence, the Queen was rather silent. But not entirely.

In Crathie Kirk, the small parish in the Church of Scotland where the Royal Family attend Sunday service at Balmoral, Elizabeth stopped to speak to someone in the crowd ahead of the 2014 referendum. heard saying, “well, I hope people will think very carefully about the future”, widely interpreted as a nudge to vote against independence.

Tim Shipman, political editor at the Sunday Times of London, said it was not a slip. Journalists had been alerted to keep an attentive ear to his remark.

Then-Prime Minister David Cameron was surprised by a live microphone saying the Queen was ‘purring on the phone’ as he announced his campaign against Scottish independence had succeeded. He later apologized for revealing a private conversation with the monarch.

While Charles is less popular than his mother was in Scotland, and the institution of the monarchy itself is less popular in Scotland than in England, these are differences “of degree rather than kind”, said Alex Massie, Scottish editor of Spectator magazine.

“I don’t detect any great enthusiasm in Scotland for a republic,” Massie said. “Yes, republicanism is probably stronger in Scotland than in England, but that doesn’t mean it’s strong enough to win.”

He also warned against reading too much about opinion polls taken when Charles was Prince of Wales. “Becoming king is transformational,” he said.

“The institution is bigger than any individual, hard as it is to remember after a 70-year reign,” Massie said. “There is considerable goodwill for Charles which may surprise many people; many people are surprised at the extent of benevolence they feel towards the king.

Leave a Comment