Preparations for Queen’s cortege on ‘unprecedented scale’, transport bosses say

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Huge crowds are expected to greet the Queen’s cortege in Edinburgh on Sunday (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)
Huge crowds are expected to greet the Queen’s cortege in Edinburgh on Sunday (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Archive)

Preparations for the Queen’s cortege travelling by road from Balmoral on Sunday “does not match” the level of preparation that went into Cop26, transport bosses have said.

Traffic Scotland operation manager, Stein Connelly said events across Scotland on Sunday as the Queen’s cortege makes its’ way from Balmoral in Aberdeenshire to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh are on an “unprecedented scale”.

Mr Connelly paid his respects to the late Queen, who died on Thursday afternoon at Balmoral, recalling fond memories of her opening the Queensferry Crossing and the Borders Railway.

He said: “First and foremost I would like to express our deepest condolences on behalf of everyone at Transport Scotland and Traffic Scotland to the Royal Family.

“Many of us had the pleasure of meeting Her Majesty at the Queensferry Crossing opening and new Borders Railways events and we were always impressed with her knowledge and kind manner.

Floral tributes and messages left by the public at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)
Floral tributes and messages left by the public at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, following the death of Queen Elizabeth II on Thursday (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

“This is an event of unprecedented scale. Even the recent Cop26 gathering in Glasgow cannot match the amount of preparation and planning that has gone into this operation.”

Mr Connelly said for events set to take place over the next few days to go smoothly, the public must play their part.

Huge numbers of people are expected in Edinburgh over the weekend and early next week ahead of the Queen lying in state at St Giles Cathedral where the public may get a chance to file past her coffin.

Events are also taking place in Ballater, Aberdeen and Dundee as the Queen travels to Holyrood.

The Lord lieutenant of Aberdeenshire, councillors and senior officers will pay tribute to her shortly after she departs Balmoral on Sunday.

Shortly afterwards, a similar ceremony will take place in Aberdeen.

A short while later, the cortege is expected to arrive in Dundee and senior dignitaries will stand on a dais prior to the cortege leaving.

The vehicle is expected to arrive in Edinburgh at around 3.30pm where first minister Nicola Sturgeon and party leaders are invited to view the coffin at the Scottish parliament.

Speed restrictions will be in place on the Kingsway in Dundee and other roads may be closed at short notice and the discretion of senior police officers.

Mr Connelly said every effort will be made to minimise disruption but warned delays are expected.

He added: “Please plan ahead and use public transport where possible.

“If you absolutely have to travel by car, allow extra time and only park within designated areas.

The Queen is expected to lie in state at St Giles cathedral in Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)
The Queen is expected to lie in state at St Giles cathedral in Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Archive)

“For up to date travel information and other updates, visit the Traffic Scotland website and Twitter feeds, and check local authority websites for more localised information.”

Well-wishers have been asked by police not to leave their vehicles by the roadside as it poses a risk to public safety and should instead park in designated car parks.

Police Scotland Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said policing has “an important role to play” over the coming days.

He said: “As the Chief Constable has said, the loss of Her Majesty The Queen is deeply felt and policing has an important role to play in the coming days to ensure ceremonial events take place safely and with dignity.

“Our priority is public safety and we are working with partners, including the UK and Scottish governments, as well as local authorities, to support the delivery of planned events.”

Mr Graham added that they are working with businesses to plan ahead for any potential disruption as a result of the events.

He added: “We understand that the public will want to show their respects to Her Majesty and we would urge them to do so safely.”