Thousands line streets as Queen’s coffin embarks on trip to final resting place
Floral tributes were thrown into the path of the Queen’s coffin as thousands of people turned out to pay their respects as the monarch began the journey to her final resting place.
Her oak coffin, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland with a wreath of Balmoral flowers on top, began its six-hour trip from the Queen’s summer sanctuary in the Highlands to Edinburgh.
The former monarch did not travel alone – the Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence were in a limousine as part of a procession directly behind her.
A single motorbike police outrider led the way as the hearse, followed by six vehicles, travelled at a stately pace through the Aberdeenshire countryside.
At one point, as the cortege travelled through Dundee, a lone long-stemmed flower could be seen on the hearse windscreen and in a rural part of the route farmers paid homage to the Queen with tractors lined up in a field.
With the monarch’s death prominent in the public consciousness, Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, sympathised with those reminded of the death of a loved one in his Sunday sermon at Canterbury Cathedral.
He said: “Many people will be navigating their way around the raw and ragged edges of grief today.
“All because of the Queen. But many families as well will have lost loved ones or been reminded of the loss of loved ones this week.
“Their grief may well feel all the more painful during this time of national and international mourning for loss is overwhelming to the person bereaved.”
The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, paid tribute to the Queen, calling her “extraordinary”.
In a tweet, she said: “A sad and poignant moment as Her Majesty, The Queen leaves her beloved Balmoral for the final time.
“Today, as she makes her journey to Edinburgh, Scotland will pay tribute to an extraordinary woman.”
Meanwhile the reign of the new monarch continued, with proclamations announcing the King read to large crowds at Mercat Cross in Edinburgh, at Cardiff Castle, in Wales, and at Hillsborough Castle, in Northern Ireland.
Hundreds lined the main street as the Queen’s coffin was driven slowly through Ballater, the village closest to the Balmoral estate, where locals considered her a neighbour.
The Queen and her family were often seen in the village in Royal Deeside, which she had visited since childhood and where the royal family have space to be themselves.
Many shops in the picturesque Victorian village had photographs of the Queen in their windows.
The hearse passed Glenmuick Church, where the Rev David Barr rang the church bells 70 times after the Queen’s death was announced.
Flowers were thrown into the hearse’s path by well-wishers on both sides of the road in Ballater, which was sombre and silent.
The hearse slowed to a fast walking pace and mourners could clearly see the royal standard-draped coffin and the wreath featuring flowers from the Balmoral estate, including sweet peas – one of the Queen’s favourite flowers – dahlias, phlox, white heather and pine fir.
Elizabeth Taylor, from Aberdeen, had tears in her eyes as she considered what she had just seen.
She said: “It was very emotional. It was respectful and showed what they think of the Queen.
“She certainly gave service to this country, even up until a few days before her death.”
Earlier, the Queen’s oak coffin was carried to the hearse by six Balmoral estate gamekeepers tasked with the symbolic gesture.
It had been at rest in the Balmoral ballroom so the monarch’s estate workers could say their goodbyes.
The hearse is making a journey of around 180 miles from Balmoral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
Some distance from the main cortege was a large number of support vehicles, including police vans and cars, an ambulance and what appeared to be a back-up hearse.
The Queen died at Balmoral Castle on Thursday. She did so “peacefully”, Buckingham Palace said.
Richard Gledson, factor of the Balmoral estate, managed the event supported by Rev Kenneth MacKenzie, minister of Balmoral’s Crathie Church where the Queen worshipped.
Rev Mackenzie travelled in a vehicle with the main procession, as did a representative of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office, a department responsible for organising ceremonial or public-facing events in the monarch’s diary.
The long journey was broken up with a stop for the drivers and when the cortege resumed they were greeted by crowds whenever they passed through a settlement.
Kensington Palace issued a statement after the Queen’s grieving grandson, now the Prince of Wales, spoke via telephone with Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, a conversation where William mentioned his “deep affection for Wales”.
The prince, who lived in Anglesey with his wife when an RAF search and rescue helicopter pilot, “expressed his and the Princess of Wales’ honour in being asked by His Majesty the King to serve the Welsh people.
“They will do so with humility and great respect.”