Hundreds gather to watch state funeral as Queen’s service to nation praised

·4-min read

Hundreds of people gathered in Scotland’s capital to watch the Queen’s state funeral as the late monarch’s service to the nation was praised.

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland read a prayer at the Westminster Abbey service which was expected to be watched by millions around the world.

Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields formed part of the pre-procession of church leaders including the Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland, Very Rev Prof David Fergusson, in the service at the abbey.

Dr Greenshields, who visited the Queen at Balmoral in the weeks before her death, opened his prayer on Monday with the words: “Let us give thanks to God for Queen Elizabeth’s long life and reign, recalling with gratitude her gifts of wisdom, diligence and service.”

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The Queen’s funeral took place on Monday in London (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Speaking after the service, the Moderator said: “The last 10 days have been a whirlwind and yet time seems to have stood still.

“It was a privilege and a real pleasure to spend time in the company of Her Majesty the Queen. She was considerate in every respect and had clearly taken time to understand her guests. I was struck by her tremendous recall and her obvious love for Balmoral and, indeed, Scotland.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of people turned out at Holyrood Park to watch the service on a big screen just metres from the Palace of Holyroodhouse – the royal family’s official residence in Scotland and where the Queen’s coffin was brought from Balmoral last week.

Emilia Wolfbauer, an 18-year-old student originally from Austria, said the response to the service in the park gave her “goosebumps”.

“Seeing everybody being sad, I got goosebumps,” she told the PA news agency.

“It was really touching and very sad.”

Events were held across the country to mark the funeral of the late monarch, who was on the throne for some 70 years, including on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

The yacht, which is now a visitor attraction, flew its flag at half mast on Monday during the day of mourning while former chief chef Jeff Hughes, 78, described the Queen as “someone special”.

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attended the service on Monday (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Returning to the ship at its current mooring in Edinburgh, Mr Hughes – from Wrexham, North Wales – told journalists: “It’s hard to explain, but the Queen is someone special.

“We will never have a monarch like the Queen, although King Charles will do a good job.

“Nobody will do the job like Her Majesty the Queen did. She was a one-off, you will never get that person again.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon attended the service on Monday, before which she paid tribute to the Queen.

“The state funeral for Her Majesty will be one of the most momentous occasions in recent history, with people from around the world watching and paying their respect,” the First Minister said.

“She was the great constant and it is an honour to represent Scotland at the service.”

She added: “As the Queen is laid to rest, it gives us a chance to reflect on the events of the past 10 days which have provided a sincere, solemn and fitting tribute to our longest-reigning monarch.

“We knew how important Scotland was to the Queen and, over recent days, we have been reminded just how much Her Majesty meant to the people of Scotland.

“I am sure the ceremonial events in Edinburgh will live long in our national memory and today we will all bid a final and poignant goodbye to a deeply respected and much loved monarch.”

The First Minister was joined by other dignitaries from Scotland, including Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and representatives from Edinburgh City Council.

Lord Provost Robert Aldridge said: “These past 10 days have marked a significant, historic occasion globally, and it is with immense pride that we can look back on Edinburgh’s contribution.

“We are proud to have had the opportunity to demonstrate our appreciation, admiration and respect for the Queen who loved Scotland and its capital city.

It was my honour to represent the city at the ceremonial events that have taken place at home and to then attend Her Majesty’s funeral earlier today in London, where I was joined by the council leader.

“There was an atmosphere of camaraderie as people celebrated her life and said their final farewells.”