King Charles leads procession behind Queen’s coffin in Edinburgh

·3-min read
 (PA)
(PA)

King Charles III has led the royal family in a poignant display of respect for the late Queen – walking behind her coffin with his 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.

It travelled from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the sovereign’s official Edinburgh home, to St Giles Cathedral, where a service of thanksgiving for the life of the late monarch will be held before the public pay their respects.

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, during an event at Westminster Hall in London, where both Houses of Parliament gathered to express their condolences to the new monarch, the King promised “faithfully to follow” the example of his mother.

The new King quoted Shakespeare when he responded to the formal expression of condolence from MPs and peers, spoke movingly about the tributes to his mother and described the “weight of history” as he stood inside the historic hall.

His son the Duke of Sussex issued a heartfelt statement about the Queen and thanked his grandmother for her “sound advice” and “infectious smile”.

Harry revealed the Queen had met his children a few months before her death: “Granny, while this final parting brings us great sadness, I am forever grateful for all of our first meetings – from my earliest childhood memories with you, to meeting you for the first time as my Commander-in-Chief, to the first moment you met my darling wife and hugged your beloved great-grandchildren.”

In bright autumn sunshine, the procession set off at a slow walking pace, with the Queen’s children arranged by age with the eldest Charles on the right and Anne, Andrew and Edward on his left, behind them was Anne’s husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.

A hush descended on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile as the crowds 10-deep first caught sight of the procession which featured the coffin’s bearer party – servicemen from the Royal Regiment of Scotland – flanking the hearse and they in turn were flanked by the King’s Body Guard for Scotland.

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.

When he addressed peers and MPs in London, Charles said: “I am deeply grateful for the addresses of condolence.”

He said the addresses “touchingly encompass what our late sovereign, my beloved mother the Queen, meant to us all”.

Charles once again reached for Shakespeare, after quoting from the play Hamlet in his address to the nation last week.

“As Shakespeare says of the earlier Queen Elizabeth, she was ‘a pattern to all princes living’.

“As I stand before you today, I cannot help but feel the weight of history which surrounds us and which reminds us of the vital parliamentary traditions to which members of both Houses dedicate yourselves with such personal commitment, for the betterment of us all.”