Queen’s children mount vigil around their mother’s coffin in tribute
King Charles III and his siblings paid a poignant tribute to the Queen by staging a silent vigil around her coffin after she was praised by politicians in Westminster and Edinburgh.
With their heads bowed Charles, the Princess Royal, Earl of Wessex and the Duke of York stood guard around the late Queen’s coffin, at rest in Edinburgh’s St Giles’ Cathedral.
Earlier, the Queen’s children had followed the hearse carrying their mother to the cathedral, walking in unison as thousands watched from the city’s Royal Mile.
A hush descended on the famous thoroughfare as the procession travelled from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to the cathedral for a service of thanksgiving for the Queen’s life.
Later that evening, the royals returned to the cathedral, and as members of the public filed slowly past, Charles, Anne, Edward and Andrew stood motionless, after joining four members of the King’s Body Guard in Scotland stood at each corner of the coffin.
Draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland and with a wreath of Balmoral flowers, the Queen’s coffin had the Crown of Scotland placed at its head in tribute to the late monarch.
Sat nearby was the Queen Consort, the Countess of Wessex and senior aides to Charles and Camilla who watched the vigil which lasted 10 minutes.
Earlier the Duke of Sussex issued a heartfelt statement about the Queen and thanked his grandmother for her “sound advice” and “infectious smile”.
Speaking directly to his grandmother Harry revealed the Queen had met his children a few months before her death, and he talked of “honouring my father in his new role as King Charles III” – perhaps a move to bridge the gap in their troubled relationship.
He wrote: “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.
“I cherish these times shared with you, and the many other special moments in between.”
The Queen’s coffin will remain at St Giles’ Cathedral for a 24-hour period before being flown to London on Tuesday evening where the new Prince and Princess of Wales will join Charles and Camilla and other royals to watch it arrive.
On Wednesday, it will lay in state at Westminster Hall and huge crowds are expected to queue overnight to pay their respects to the monarch over four days before her funeral next Monday.
During the thanksgiving service, Reverend Calum MacLeod, Minister of St Giles’, welcomed the royal family, “representatives of our nation’s life” and “people whose lives were touched by the Queen in so many unforgettable ways”.
He said: “And so we gather to bid Scotland’s farewell to our late monarch, whose life of service to the nation and the world we celebrate. “And whose love for Scotland was legendary.”
The Right Reverend Dr Greenshields, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, delivered the homily during the service attended by prime minister Liz Truss, who has joined the King during his tour of the four home nations to receive messages of condolence in person.
He said about the Queen: “She was determined to see her work as a form of service to others, and she maintained that steady course until the end of her life.
The senior minister added: “And although sometimes buffeted by events around her, she continued resolutely and cheerfully to fulfil her responsibilities. And so today we give thanks not only for the length of her reign but for the qualities she displayed so steadfastly.”
During the day, Charles and Camilla heard fulsome tributes paid to the Queen in Westminster Hall in London, where both Houses of Parliament gathered to express their condolences to the new monarch,
And in the Scottish Parliament, party leaders stood in the chamber to praise the memory of the Queen.
Charles, wearing Prince Charles Edward Stuart tartan and white heather in his lapel from Balmoral, quoted Robert Burns as he spoke to MSPs in Holyrood for the first time as monarch.
Responding to a motion of condolence tabled as the Scottish Parliament, Charles upheld the memory of his late mother, who he said he was “determined” to emulate in her service to the country.
Addressing assembled MSPs, former first ministers, presiding officers and leading figures from Scottish civil society, the new King quoted from the famed Scottish poet Robert Burns as he praised his mother’s life of “incomparable service”.
“If I might paraphrase the words of the great Robert Burns, my dear mother was the friend of man, the friend of truth, the friend of age and guide of youth,” he said.
“Few hearts like her with virtue warmed, few heads with knowledge so informed.”
The quote was taken from Burns’ Epitaph On My Own Friend.