King leads procession behind Queen’s coffin as Harry promises to ‘honour’ father

·3-min read
The King and his Queen Consort follow the coffin as they enter St Giles’ Cathedral (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
The King and his Queen Consort follow the coffin as they enter St Giles’ Cathedral (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

The King has led the royal family in a poignant display of respect for the late Queen – walking behind the monarch’s coffin with his royal siblings.

Expressionless and looking straight ahead Charles was joined by the Princess Royal, Earl of Wessex and Duke of York as they followed the hearse carrying the Queen’s oak coffin.

A hush descended on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile as crowds 10-deep first caught sight of the procession.

The silence was broken at one point by a woman who called out “God bless the Queen” a number of times and many of the public held up camera phones to record the historic moment.

All those in the procession walked in step, moving from side to side as one, within touching distance of the coffin draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland with a wreath of Balmoral flowers on top.

The Queen’s coffin, adorned with the Crown of Scotland, is due to rest at St Giles’ Cathedral for 24 hours.

Made from gold, silver and precious gems, the crown is the centrepiece of the Honours of Scotland – which are the oldest Crown jewels in Britain and among the oldest in Europe.

Following in a car was the Queen Consort and the Countess of Wessex but the new Prince of Wales and his brother Harry did not take part in the procession.

Earlier, the Duke of Sussex released an emotional statement paying tribute to the Queen and promising to “honour” his father as the new King.

You are already sorely missed, not just by us, but by the world over

The Duke of Sussex

Harry also paid tribute to his grandmother’s “everlasting legacy”, saying: “You are already sorely missed, not just by us, but by the world over.”

He reflected on his “first meetings” with the Queen, including “the first moment you met my darling wife and hugged your beloved great-grandchildren”.

And in a poignant final line referencing the late Duke of Edinburgh, he said: “We too smile knowing that you and Grandpa are reunited now, and both together in peace.”

Harry also referenced his father, with whom his relationship is said to have been strained, saying: “And as it comes to first meetings, we now honour my father in his new role as King Charles III.”

It came before the King promised “faithfully to follow” the “example of selfless duty” set by his mother in a speech in Westminster Hall as both Houses of Parliament gathered to express their condolences on the Queen’s death.

The King once again reached for Shakespeare, after quoting from the play Hamlet in his address to the nation last week, saying: “As Shakespeare says of the earlier Queen Elizabeth, she was ‘a pattern to all princes living’.

Prime Minister Liz Truss and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer joined MPs and peers under the cavernous timber roof of the ancient building for the service in central London.

A fanfare of trumpets sounded as the King and Queen Consort, both dressed in black, took their seats on two thrones.

The first changing of the guard in the King’s reign has also taken place – the first time there has been a changing of the King’s Guard at the royal palaces for 70 years.

And the late Queen was hailed as a “courageous and gracious leader” who contributed to peace and reconciliation in Northern Ireland at a special sitting of the Stormont Assembly.

On Tuesday, the King and Queen Consort will fly to Northern Ireland to visit Hillsborough Castle, where they will view an exhibition about the late Queen’s long association with the province, before Charles receives a message of condolence led by the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

The King will then meet leaders from all the major faiths in Northern Ireland before returning to London.

The Princess Royal will accompany the Queen’s coffin when it is flown to London by RAF aircraft on Tuesday evening, before resting in Buckingham Palace’s Bow Room.