With the gentle rush of water flowing underneath, the Queen’s coffin made its final journey over the bridge and out of her beloved Balmoral as a small gathering of silent mourners looked on.
On the way out the gates of the rural estate – known to have been the monarch’s favourite residence in Scotland – the cortege passed masses of floral tributes.
Among them lay a special gift demonstrating the warmth and affection with which the Queen was held.
“A marmalade sandwich for your journey ma’am”, read the label on the small sealed bag – a nod to the Queen’s much-loved Platinum Jubilee sketch during which she had tea at Buckingham Palace with popular children’s character Paddington Bear.
A light mist hung in the air as media gathered early on Sunday to capture the moment the nation’s longest-reigning monarch began the long journey to her final resting place.
The sun shone on a crisp September morning as the oak coffin, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, came into public view.
A wreath placed on top was made up of flowers from the Balmoral estate, including sweet peas – one of the Queen’s favourites – dahlias, phlox, white heather and pine fir.
The Princess Royal – the Queen’s only daughter – and husband Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the minister of the nearby Crathie Kirk church frequented by the monarch, and a representative of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office were in the convoy following behind.
Aside from the low rumble of a police motorbike leading the cortege, the peaceful flow of the River Dee and some birdsong, silence descended on the area for the approximately 90-second journey from the gates out on to the road in Crathie.
Onlookers described the “emotional moment” as they bade a quiet farewell to “the only queen we’ve ever known”.
While some 5,000 people are estimated by council officials to have been bussed to Balmoral from the nearby villages of Ballater and Braemar since Friday, the public had been encouraged to go to spots along the route towards Edinburgh, rather than gathering at Balmoral, on Sunday.
Those who did turn out ranged from locals to a woman who drove for four hours from Northumberland, setting off at 3am to make it in time.
“I just had to be here,” said the 64-year-old, who did not wish to be named.
“It was very calm. She’s at peace at last. In her faith she believes she’ll be with Philip again and that’s lovely to think that could be.”
A group of Balmoral locals recalled the “special” times they saw the Queen walking on the estate in years gone by, always offering a smile, a wave and sometimes a friendly hello.
They felt it was important to see her off from an area they are proud to say she loved.
“I did have a little moment,” said one woman of the moment the coffin passed by.
It is said the Queen was “never happier” than when she was spending long summers with family at her adored Scottish retreat.