King’s sad march as Queen’s final journey takes another step


King Charles was on his way to Edinburgh late on Monday, ahead of his next sad but key role in the national mourning for his mother, the Queen.

At exactly 11.25pm Monday (AEST), the King and Queen Consort Camilla will join another solemn procession that takes the Queen’s coffin from Holyroodhouse to St Giles Cathedral on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile.

Accompanied by his sister and brothers, the King will walk behind their mother’s coffin. It will be draped in the Royal Standard for Scotland and topped by the Crown of Scotland.

It is not known if other senior royals, such as the Prince of Wales, will also join the march. Thousands are expected to pack the streets to watch.

Once at St Giles, a service will be held at midnight (AEST) to celebrate the Queen’s life. Her coffin will remain at the cathedral for 24 hours so the Scottish public can pay their respects.

It will then be flown to London, accompanied by the Queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal.

Queen’s coffin arrives in Edinburgh

The former monarch’s body arrived in Edinburgh early on Monday (AEST), after a sombre, regal procession through the Scottish countryside from her beloved Balmoral Castle.

On Sunday, mourners packed city streets and highway bridges or lined rural roads with cars and tractors to take part in a historic goodbye to the monarch who had reigned for 70 years.

The hearse drove past piles of bouquets and other tributes as it led a seven-car cortege from Balmoral, where the Queen died on Thursday at 96, for a six-hour trip through Scottish towns to Holyroodhouse palace in Edinburgh.

The procession was a huge event for Scotland as Britain takes days to mourn its longest-reigning monarch, the only one most Britons have ever known. People turned out hours early to grab a space by the police barricades in Edinburgh. By afternoon, the crowds were 10 people deep.

Silence fell on the packed Royal Mile in Edinburgh as the hearse arrived. But as the convoy vanished from view, the crowd spontaneously started clapping.

Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Tim Laurence (left), Prince Andrew, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex wait for the Queen’s coffin at Holyroodhouse. Photo: Getty

When the hearse reached Holyroodhouse, members of the Royal Regiment of Scotland, wearing green tartan kilts, carried the coffin past the Queen’s three youngest children – Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – into the throne room, where it was to stay for several hours so staff can pay their last respects.

In each Scottish town and village, the entourage was met with respect. People stood mostly in silence. Some clapped politely, others pointed their phone cameras at the passing cars. In Aberdeenshire, farmers lined the route with an honour guard of tractors.

Sunday’s solemn drive came as the Queen’s eldest son was formally proclaimed the new monarch – King Charles III – in the rest of Britain: Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It came a day after a pomp-filled accession ceremony in England.

Just before the proclamation was read Sunday in Edinburgh, a protester appeared with a sign condemning imperialism and urging leaders to “abolish the monarchy.” She was taken away by police. Reaction was mixed. One man shouted, “Let her go! It’s free speech!” while others shouted: “Have some respect!”

Earlier in the day, proclamations were read in other parts of the Commonwealth, including Australia and New Zealand. On Monday, Victoria followed the other Australian states and territories with its own proclamation.

Charles, even as he mourned his late mother, got to work at Buckingham Palace, meeting with the secretary-general and other Commonwealth envoys. Many in those nations are grappling with both affection for the Queen and lingering bitterness over their colonial legacies, which ranged from slavery to corporal punishment in African schools to looted artefacts held in British cultural institutions.

The Queen’s coffin will take a circuitous journey back to the capital. After it is flown to London late on Tuesday (AEST), it will be moved from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to the Houses of Parliament to lie in state until a state funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19.

Up to a million people are expected to line up to visit the Queen’s coffin in London in coming days. Viewing will run 24 hours a day, and authorities have already warned that people should expect to queue for hours.

Ahead of the funeral the new King will visit Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, accompanied by British Prime Minister Liz Truss.

-with AAP

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