- The Queen’s coffin leaves Balmoral Castle where she died
- The coffin will be taken to Edinburgh, Crowd Line route
- The funeral will take place on September 19
EDINBURGH, Scotland, September 11 (Reuters) – The coffin of Queen Elizabeth was carried from her summer home in the Scottish Highlands to Edinburgh on Sunday, past tens of thousands of mourners lining the road to pay their respects, many in a dark silence, some clapping and others in tears.
Shortly after 10 a.m. (0900 GMT), a hearse carrying Elizabeth’s oak coffin emerged from the gates of Balmoral Castle, where she died aged 96 on Thursday, at the start of a slow six-week journey hours to the Scottish capital.
The coffin was draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland with a wreath on top made of flowers from the Balmoral estate, including sweet peas, one of Elizabeth’s favourites.
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In a moving tribute to her mother on Friday, the new monarch, King Charles, said she had embarked on a “last great journey” to join her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, who died last year.
Her death has prompted tears, sadness and warm tributes, not only from the Queen’s close family and many people in Britain, but also from around the world – reflecting her presence on the world stage during seven decades.
As the hearse reached the small village of Ballate near Balmoral, hundreds stood by the side of the road in silence in the bright morning sun as the hearse passed, some throwing flowers across the road.
“It’s just very, very sad. I’m happy to be 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 procession made its way from the remote castle through scenic countryside, villages and small towns, passing at one point a guard of honor formed by dozens of tractors lined up in adjacent fields by farmers.
He was due to arrive in Edinburgh at around 4 p.m. (1500 GMT) where the coffin will be carried to the Throne Room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
“I couldn’t miss it. I would regret it for the rest of my life,” said Eilidh Mackintosh, 62, who left her home at 6am to make sure she had a good view of the famous Royal Edinburgh 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.”
Several thousand people have already gathered in the royal palaces in the days following Elizabeth’s death, and large piles of flowers are massed as people visit to pay their respects.
“I know how much you, the entire nation — and I think I can say the entire world — sympathize with me for the irreparable loss that we have all suffered,” Charles said at a ceremony on Saturday.
Charles became king immediately after his mother’s death and was officially proclaimed the new monarch at the ceremony, which was full of historical re-enactment and age-old traditions. Read more
Similar proclamations follow across the UK and the other 14 kingdoms where Charles is now head of state, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Read more
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Parliament would be recalled on Thursday to allow MPs to pay their respects. Read more
The Queen ascended the throne following the death of her father, King George VI, on February 6, 1952, when she was just 25. His coronation took place a year later.
While Elizabeth’s death wasn’t entirely unexpected given her age and deteriorating health, the news still came with a sense of shock.
The day of Elizabeth’s funeral will be a public holiday in Britain, officials have announced. US President Joe Biden has said he will be there, although full details of the event and attendees have yet to be released.
Before then, his coffin will be flown to London and there will be a somber procession as it is then moved from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall where it will lay in state for four days.
“It goes without saying that we can expect a lot of people,” a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Liz Truss told reporters.
Truss, whose appointment as prime minister on Tuesday was the Queen’s final public act, will join King Charles as the new head of state and prime minister tour the UK’s four nations in the coming days. Read more
Charles, 73, is now the 41st monarch in a line whose origins can be traced to Norman King William the Conqueror who seized the throne of England in 1066.
Elizabeth’s death capped two difficult years for the royal family.
The most high-profile issue involved his grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who left royal life in 2020 to move to California, from where they have both been highly critical of the institution.
This left them estranged from the rest of the family, with Harry and his older brother William barely on good terms. But the death of their grandmother put disputes aside, as they appeared with their wives outside Windsor Castle to meet the crowds on Saturday. Read more
A royal source described it as an important show of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family.
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Reporting by Michael Holden, William James and William Schomberg in London, Russell Cheyne at Balmoral, Lewis MacDonald and Marco Trujillo at Ballater and Andrew MacAskill in Edinburgh Editing by Kate Holton, Mark Potter and Frances Kerry
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