Mourners in Edinburgh, some in tears, filed past the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II through the night, before new king Charles III travels to Northern Ireland Tuesday and the monarch’s coffin returns to London.
As people paid their respects, four members of the monarch’s Scottish bodyguard, the Royal Company of Archers, stood heads bowed at each corner of the oak casket resting in the 12th century St Giles’ Cathedral.
The king then joined his siblings in a vigil, with the coffin draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland and topped with a wreath including heather from Balmoral, and the ancient Crown of Scotland.
Charles, 73, Anne, the Princess Royal, 72, Andrew, the Duke of York, 62, and Edward, the Duke of Wessex, 58, stood eyes closed for about 10 minutes around the casket.
Anne will on Tuesday accompany Elizabeth’s body on the next leg of its journey south from Edinburgh to an airfield near London by Royal Air Force jet.
Crowds of mourners are expected to line the route into the city as the coffin is driven to Buckingham Palace for more than four days’ lying in state ahead of her funeral next Monday.
The king, meanwhile, will make his first trip to Northern Ireland since his accession, followed by Wales on Friday.
In a show of national togetherness as he embarks on his kingship — a role for which he has spent a lifetime preparing — Charles has pledged to visit all four nations of the United Kingdom.
– ‘End of an era’ –
Earlier Monday, Charles, flanked by his three siblings, led a procession on foot carrying the queen’s body through hushed Edinburgh streets packed with mourners.
The queen’s coffin had on Sunday been driven to the Scottish capital from the Balmoral estate where she died, and held overnight at the royal residence of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Accompanied by kilted soldiers, the late queen was taken from the royal residence to St Giles’ for a prayer service.
Thousands of people lined the route along the Royal Mile to watch the procession make its way to the ancient place of worship as cannon fired at one-minute intervals from Edinburgh Castle.
The royals were joined by Prime Minister Liz Truss and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the service for the monarch who reigned a record-breaking 70 years.
Members of the public who queued for hours spoke of their deep emotions after they finally got to file by the coffin.
“It’s a real sense of connection to history, and bear in mind that we’re one of the few countries left with this sense of pageantry and connection to the past,” said Rob Parsons, 28, after emerging from the cathedral.
“Seeing her obviously is a way of accepting the fact that it’s the end of an era.”
– Show of family unity –
Prince Andrew was not wearing his military uniform, unlike his siblings, after stepping back from public life following a scandal over his links to US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
But his presence represented a united front, as did the joint…