King Charles and his siblings stood by the coffin of their mother, Queen Elizabeth, as it lay in historic Edinburgh Cathedral, and thousands queued for hours to pay their respects to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.
With their heads bowed, Charles in a kilt, along with his sister Princess Anne and brothers Princes Andrew and Edward, stood for 10 minutes next to an oak coffin, draped in the royal standard of Scotland with a wreath and a crown. Scotland.
They left the city’s St. Giles Cathedral to the applause of the spectators.
The coffin had earlier been brought from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the King in Scotland, in a procession which was watched mostly in the silence of a large, mournful crowd, as Charles and other members of the royal family slowly walked behind the chairs.
The mourners, some crying, others bowing heads or bowing, slowly walked past the sarcophagus after having patiently waited for hours to be allowed into the cathedral.
“We were so upset,” said Michael Heinsworth, 70, a retired music teacher, who comforted his weeping wife and was one of the first to enter the cathedral to see the sarcophagus. .
“It’s hard to put into words,” said Mr. Hensworth, who had queued for seven hours. “Don’t think it’s going to affect you but then it does.”
Queen Elizabeth died on Thursday at her holiday home in Balmoral, in the Scottish Highlands, at the age of 96 after 70 years of rule, sending Britain into mourning even as it faces an economic crisis and a change of government.
Her coffin arrived from Balmoral on Sunday and stayed overnight in Holyroodhouse.
The lament of the bagpipe was the only sound as soldiers from the Royal Scottish Regiment carried the coffin from the palace and placed it in the heart for the short trip to the cathedral.
A gun salute exploded from a battery at Edinburgh Castle when the fire went out and fired one round per minute of the procession. Other than that, there was only silence—except for a short shout from a sniffer aimed at Prince Andrew.
Under a sunny sky, Charles, 73, who automatically became king after his mother’s death, and his brothers slowly walked behind the funeral, while the Royal Company of Archers provided a guard of honor.
Tina Richardson, 63, a retiree from Dunbar, was among those who stood on the centuries-old Royal Mile by the cathedral. She said her middle name was Elizabeth after the late queen.
The Crown of Scotland sits atop the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II during prayer and reflection on her life at St Giles’ Cathedral on September 12, 2022 in Edinburgh, Scotland. source: GT / WPA Paul / Getty Images
“There will never be another one,” she told Reuters. “She was a beautiful lady who gave us so much. She devoted her whole life to the country. The good times and the bad she was there, especially during COVID-19. She united everyone.”
“We had lanes, horses and archers. There was a sense that the Scottish community was here while she was making her last trip,” said Elle Merton, 52, an art producer, who traveled from Scotland’s Borderlands.
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Edward, Earl of Wessex, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, King Charles III, Camilla, Queen Consort, Princess Anne, Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Timothy Lawrence standing respectively while attending a prayer service and a reflection on the life of Queen Elizabeth II at St. Giles, on September 12, 2022 in Edinburgh, Scotland. source: GT / WPA Paul / Getty Images
In the new king’s busy schedule, Charles went to the Scottish Council of Commissioners after service to hear a condolence proposal. The day had begun in London, when he addressed members of the British Parliament in Westminster Hall.
He called Parliament “the breathing and living tool of our democracy” and vowed to follow his late mother’s lead in maintaining its independence.
As with all celebrations marking the Queen’s death and Charles’ accession to the throne, there were plenty of festivities.
He arrived at Westminster Hall amidst an uproar of trumpets with his wife Camilla, Queen Consort. The royal couple sat on ceremonial chairs, with cavalry soldiers in red jackets and striped helmets standing in the back.
He told members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords: “She has set an example of the altruistic duty which, with the help of God and your advisors, I insist that I faithfully follow.”
Then the assembly sang “God Save the King”.
Charles, now king of the United Kingdom and 14 other kingdoms including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea, is known for expressing his views on matters ranging from the environment to youth issues.
It has been suggested that, as king, he would modify his style, in keeping with the tradition that the king forbade him from political matters.
On Tuesday, the coffin will be flown to London, where on Wednesday it will begin the period of lying in the state until September 19 – Elizabeth’s state funeral day – on a catafalque in Westminster Hall.
In London, members of the public will be allowed to bypass the sarcophagus, which will be covered in royal standard with the orb and scepter resting on top, 24 hours a day until 6:30am on September 19.
The government said those wishing to do so should expect to queue for several hours and possibly overnight due to the large number of people expected.
Britain last experienced such public mourning in 1997 after Charles’s first wife, Princess Diana, died in a car crash in Paris.
In his first public comment since the Queen’s death, Prince Harry – Diana’s son – paid tribute to his “grandmother” on Monday, saying she would be sorely missed not only by the family, but around the world.
“We, too, are smiling knowing that you and your grandfather are now reunited, both together in peace,” Harry said, referring to Elizabeth’s husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, who died last year.