EDINBURGH – The coffin carrying Queen Elizabeth II on her final journey on Sunday arrived in the Scottish capital Edinburgh – now the focus of national mourning – after a six-hour procession from Balmoral Castle, where she died.
A huge crowd lined the center of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to catch a glimpse of the hearse as it slowed to its first destination, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the royal residence in the Scottish capital where the queen’s coffin will be kept overnight.
Locals, visitors and visitors crowded the main streets of the city under gray clouds to pay their respects to the Scottish monarch with deep affections. There was some applause as the convoy of seven, led by a motorcyclist, drove through the center of Edinburgh, although the mood was respectful and generally melancholy.
At the palace, the procession was greeted by an honor guard and coffin-bearers into the palace’s throne room.
The oak coffin, dressed in royal style, began its journey as it was carried by six butlers from the ballroom at the Balmoral estate, where the queen spent her summer vacation and where She has a deep and lasting affection.
The dramatic departure from Balmoral, a remote outpost in the Scottish countryside, begins a period when Britons will be able to pay their respects to the queen ahead of her funeral on September 19 at the Abbey. Westminster in London.
Crowds lined the streets as the procession passed through smaller towns and larger cities, with the queen’s wreath-covered coffin visible inside the hearse. In Ballater, a few people standing in the street threw flowers into the aisles of vehicles as the town paid homage and silence.
The route takes the hearse from Balmoral, through Aberdeen, Dundee and Perth, before the procession arrives after 4pm at Holyroodhouse Palace.
The Queen’s final days in Balmoral underscore her close ties to Scotland, which for two days will be the focal point of national mourning.
Members of the royal family are expected to accompany the coffin on Monday morning, when it will be moved along the Royal Mile to St. Giles’ nearby.
There, after a religious ceremony, the queen’s coffin will be rested for people to pay their respects. On Tuesday, it will be flown to London, where there will be more opportunities for Britons to bid farewell to their monarch before her funeral.