Edinburgh, Scotland (AP) – In a mournful royal procession, Queen Elizabeth II’s flag-covered coffin was slowly carried across the Scottish countryside on Sunday from her beloved Balmoral Castle to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. Mourners filled city streets, highway bridges or country roads lined with cars and tractors to share a historic farewell to the monarch who ruled for 70 years..
The warship drove past piles of bouquets and other items as it drove a seven-car motorcade from Balmoral, where the Queen died on Thursday. At the age of 96, on a six-hour journey through Scottish towns to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. The late Queen’s coffin was wrapped in the royal standard of Scotland and topped with a wreath from the farm, including sweet peas, one of the Queen’s favorites.
The procession was a huge event for Scotland as the UK takes days of mourning Its longest-reigning monarch, the only one most Britons have ever known. People came out early hours to grab a space next to police barricades in Edinburgh. By the afternoon, the crowds were as deep as 10 people.
“I think she has been a constant in my life. She was the queen I was born under, and she was always there,” said Angus Ruthven, a 54-year-old civil servant from Edinburgh. “I think it would take a lot of adjustment because she’s not here. It’s quite surprising.”
Silence fell on Edinburgh’s busy Royal Mile when the ship carrying the Queen arrived. But as the convoy disappeared from view, the crowd began to applaud spontaneously.
When Hearts arrived at Holyroodhouse, members of the Royal Scottish Regiment, in green tartan skirts, carried the coffin in front of the Queen’s three youngest children – Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – and into the throne room, where it was to remain until Monday afternoon until Employees are able to pay their last respects.
On Monday, King Charles III and his wife Camilla will travel to Edinburgh to join another solemn procession that takes the Queen’s coffin to St Giles’ Cathedral on the city’s Royal Mile. The coffin will remain there for 24 hours so the Scottish public can pay their respects before it is moved to London on Tuesday.
The first village the procession passed through was Platter, where residents view the royal family as neighbours. Hundreds watched in silence and some threw flowers in front of the chair.
“It meant a lot to people in this area. People were crying, it was amazing to see,” said Victoria Pacheco, the manager of the guesthouse.
In every Scottish town and village, the courtiers were met with silent scenes of respect. People mostly stood in silence. Some applauded politely, others pointed their phone cameras at passing cars. In Aberdeenshire, farmers lined the road with honor guards of tractors.
Along the way, the procession passed through sites filled with the history of the House of Windsor. These include Dice, where in 1975 the Queen officially opened the UK’s first North Sea oil pipeline, and Fife, near the University of St Andrews, where her grandson Prince William, now Prince of Wales, studied and met his future wife, Catherine.
The festive drive came on Sunday when the Queen’s eldest son was officially declared the new king – King Charles III – in the rest of the United Kingdom: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It came a day after a pomp-filled inauguration ceremony in England.
“I am fully aware of this great legacy and the enormous duties and responsibilities of the Sovereign, now passed on to me,” Charles said on Saturday.
Just before the proclamation was read on Sunday in Edinburgh, a protester appeared with a sign condemning imperialism and urging leaders to “abolish the monarchy”. She was taken by the police. The reaction was mixed. One of the men shouted, “Let it go! It’s freedom of speech!” while others shouted, “Have some respect!”
However, there was some boos in Edinburgh when Joseph Moreau, King of Lord Lyons, finished his proclamation with “God save the King!”
Ann Hamilton, 48, said she thought the booing was “absolutely shocking”.
There are tens of thousands of people here today to show their respect. For them to be here, navigating through things, I think it was terrible. “If they were against it,” she said, “they should not have come.”
However, it was a sign of how some, including former British colonies, are struggling with the legacy of the monarchy.
Earlier, the statements were read in other parts of the Commonwealth, including Australia and New Zealand.
Charles, even while grieving for his late mother, was working at Buckingham Palace, meeting the Secretary-General and other representatives of the Commonwealth. Many in those countries wrestle with affection for the Queen and continued bitterness over their colonial legacywhich ranged from outright slavery to corporal punishment in African schools to looted artifacts found in British cultural institutions.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who had begun to pave the way for an Australian republic after elections in May, said Sunday that now was the time not for change, but to pay homage to the late queen.
India, a former British colony, marked an official day of mourning, lowering flags to half staff in all government buildings.
Amid the grief surrounding the House of Windsor, there were hints of a possible family reconciliation. Prince William and his brother Harryalong with their wives, Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, delighted mourners near Windsor Castle with a surprise joint appearance on Saturday.
The Queen’s sarcophagus was on an indirect flight to the capital. After the coffin was flown to London on Tuesday, it will be flown from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to both Houses of Parliament to remain in its condition until a state funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19.
At Ballater, Reverend David Barr said locals consider members of the royal family to be neighbours.
‘When you come here, and you go through those gates,’ he said, ‘I think the royal part of it stays mostly outside.’ “And as she entered, she was able to be a wife, a loving wife, a loving mother, a loving gran, and later on as a loving gran–and an aunt–and be normal.”
Elizabeth Taylor, from Aberdeen, had tears in her eyes after the corpse carrying the Queen’s coffin passed through Ballater.
“He was very emotional. She was respectful and showed their opinion of the Queen. She certainly did a service to this country, even a few days before her death.”
Corder reported from London.
Follow the Associated Press’ coverage of Queen Elizabeth II at https://apnews.com/hub/queen-elizabeth-ii
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