Crowds line streets to see Queen’s coffin on final journey from Balmoral

·8-min read

Watch: Queen's cortege passes over Queensferry Crossing

Thousands of well-wishers lined the streets in Scotland as the Queen’s coffin began its journey to its final resting place ahead of her funeral.

The cortege left Balmoral Castle, where Her Majesty died aged 96 on Thursday, for the last time at 10am on Sunday.

It made a six-hour, 180-mile journey to Edinburgh, where crowds packed onto the city's famous Royal Mile — which stretches from Edinburgh Castle at one end to the royal residence of the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other.

A ripple of gentle applause started as the cortege went past but there was silence as it entered the forecourt at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where the Queen's coffin was received by the Duke of York and the Duke and Duchess of Wessex, and a guard of honour was formed by the King’s Bodyguard for Scotland (Royal Company of Archers).

The Princess Royal curtseys the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, as it arrives at Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, where it will lie in rest for a day.. Picture date: Sunday September 11, 2022.
Members of the Royal Company of Archers acted as pallbearers, carrying the Queen’s coffin into the throne room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. (PA)
RETRANSMITTING AMENDING BYLINE TO AARON CHOWN (left to right) Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, the Countess of Wessex and the Earl of Wessex watch as the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, completes its journey from Balmoral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, where it will lie in rest for a day. . Picture date: Sunday September 11, 2022.
Members of the Royal family met the Queen's coffin as it made its way to Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, including (L-R): the Princess Royal's husband Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence, the Duke of York, the Princess Royal, the Countess of Wessex and the Earl of Wessex. (PA)

The Princess Royal, who had travelled from Balmoral in the group of cars, and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence also stood alongside Andrew, Edward and Sophie – while members of the Royal Company of Archers acted as pallbearers, carrying the Queen’s coffin into the throne room at the palace.

As well as those who packed the streets throughout Edinburgh, others had clambered on to Arthur’s Seat and the Salisbury Crags, trying to get the city’s best view of the gardens and courtyard of Holyroodhouse.

Among those lining the streets was James Kinlock, who said he felt an “enormous pull” to watch the procession through the Scottish capital.

"I felt it [the Queen's death] far more personally than I ever thought I would," he said.

"I just felt compelled to come, utterly compelled to come."

The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland, is driven through Edinburgh towards the Palace of Holyroodhouse, on September 11, 2022. - The coffin carrying the body of Queen Elizabeth II left her beloved Balmoral Castle on Sunday, beginning a six-hour journey to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)
The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland, is driven through Edinburgh towards the Palace of Holyroodhouse. (AFP via Getty Images)
EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: Crowds watch the cortege carrying the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II by Mercat Cross on September 11, 2022 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. She married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended the throne of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth on 6 February 1952 after the death of her Father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. (Photo by Ian Forsyth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Crowds watch the cortege carrying the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II by Mercat Cross in Edinburgh. (Getty Images)

Discussing the moment the coffin went past them, Susanne Sedel said: “It was a touching moment, it was really touching.

"I was happy that it was quiet at the moment when she went past, but glad that people then broke out into a round of applause. I felt she deserved that."

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: Crowds watch the cortege carrying the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II by Mercat Cross on September 11, 2022 in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. She married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended the throne of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth on 6 February 1952 after the death of her Father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. (Photo by Ian Forsyth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Crowds watch the cortege carrying the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II by Mercat Cross in Edinburgh. (Getty Images)
The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, passing through the outskirts of Edinburgh as it continues its journey to the Palace of Holyroodhouse from Balmoral. Picture date: Sunday September 11, 2022. (Photo by John Linton/PA Images via Getty Images)
The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II passing through the outskirts of Edinburgh. (PA Images via Getty Images)
The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, after crossing over the Queensferry Crossing as it continues its journey to Edinburgh from Balmoral. Picture date: Sunday September 11, 2022. (Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images)
The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II after going over the Queensferry Crossing on its way to Edinburgh. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Earlier, hundreds of people had gathered on a roundabout of the Kingsway A90 dual carriageway, on the outskirts of Dundee, to get a glimpse of the procession. The crowd was 10 people deep on parts of the major junction, known locally as the Swallow Roundabout.

Afterwards Gillian Nicholl, from St Andrews, who had come with her two children, said: “It went very still and it was very atmospheric. I have never seen such a large crowd go so quiet. It was very sombre, there was a wee clap but it didn’t feel right.”

PERTH, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 11: People gather in tribute as the cortege carrying the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II passes on September 11, 2022 near Perth, United Kingdom. Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born in Bruton Street, Mayfair, London on 21 April 1926. She married Prince Philip in 1947 and ascended the throne of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth on 6 February 1952 after the death of her Father, King George VI. Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on September 8, 2022, and is succeeded by her eldest son, King Charles III. (Photo by Peter Summers/Getty Images)
People gather in tribute as the cortege carrying the coffin of the Queen passes through Perth. (Getty Images)
The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, passing through Aberdeen as it continues its journey to Edinburgh from Balmoral. Picture date: Sunday September 11, 2022.
The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II passes through Aberdeen as it continues its journey to Edinburgh from Balmoral. (PA)

It had previously passed through Aberdeen, where Elizabeth Taylor had tears in her eyes as she reflected on what she had just seen. “It was very emotional. It was respectful and showed what they think of the Queen."

In bright sunshine at 10am, the hearse carrying the late monarch had passed through the gates of Balmoral, the royal residence which was the summer refuge for the former head of state.

It first headed to the nearby town of Ballater in Aberdeenshire, where many locals considered the Queen as a neighbour.

The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, leaving Balmoral as it begins its journey to Edinburgh. Picture date: Sunday September 11, 2022.
The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, leaving Balmoral as it begins its journey to Edinburgh. (PA)
The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, passing through Ballater as it continues its journey to Edinburgh from Balmoral. (PA)
The hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, passing through Ballater as it continues its journey to Edinburgh from Balmoral. (PA)
Members of the public pay their respects as the hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland, is driven through Ballater, on September 11, 2022. - Queen Elizabeth II's coffin will travel by road through Scottish towns and villages on Sunday as it begins its final journey from her beloved Scottish retreat of Balmoral. The Queen, who died on September 8, will be taken to the Palace of Holyroodhouse before lying at rest in St Giles' Cathedral, before travelling onwards to London for her funeral. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Members of the public pay their respects as the hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland, is driven through Ballater. (AFP via Getty Images)

Well-wishers who had waited patiently for the opportunity to pay their respects bowed their heads, while others saluted as the hearse drove slowly by.

Flowers were also thrown into the hearse’s path by people on both sides of the road.

The town's minister said there was "overwhelming emotion” given the Queen had been coming to Balmoral since she was a girl.

Route of the Queen's coffin from Balmoral to Edinburgh. (PA)
Route of the Queen's coffin from Balmoral to Edinburgh. (PA)
A woman lays flowers outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. Queen Elizabeth II's coffin is travelling from Balmoral to Edinburgh, where it will lie at rest at the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Picture date: Sunday September 11, 2022.
A woman lays flowers outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh earlier in the day. (PA)

Reverend David Barr said: "As you stand here today and you watch Her Majesty pass, that will be very tangible and be very real for people, and I think that will bring on an overwhelming amount of emotion.”

Margaret MacKenzie, from Inverness, said of the procession: “It was very dignified. It was nice to see that a lot of people came out to support and pay their respects.”

Elizabeth Alexander, who gathered in Ballater with her two daughters and three grandchildren, said: "She’s the kind of person we should all be, but sometimes fail to be."

As the hearse carrying the queen’s coffin departed Balmoral on Sunday morning, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was a “sad and poignant moment as Her Majesty, The Queen leaves her beloved Balmoral for the final time”.

Ms Sturgeon added: “As she makes her journey to Edinburgh, Scotland will pay tribute to an extraordinary woman.”

Where will the Queen's coffin go in the following days?

The Queen's body will now lie at rest in the royal residence overnight, before being taken to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh on Monday, where it will be carried inside at 2.55pm.

The King and Queen Consort, who are expected to arrive in Scotland again on Monday, along with members of the Royal Family, will follow the procession on foot before attending a service of reflection for the life of the Queen in the cathedral at 3pm.

Members of the public will also get the chance to see the coffin there, before it is taken to Edinburgh Airport for the journey down to London.

TOPSHOT - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II smiles to the crowd from Buckingham Palace balcony at the end of the Platinum Pageant in London on June 5, 2022 as part of Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee celebrations. - The curtain comes down on four days of momentous nationwide celebrations to honour Queen Elizabeth II's historic Platinum Jubilee with a day-long pageant lauding the 96-year-old monarch's record seven decades on the throne. (Photo by Chris Jackson / POOL / AFP) (Photo by CHRIS JACKSON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
The Queen pictured during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June. (AFP via Getty Images)

At 5pm on Tuesday, the Queen’s coffin will travel by road from St Giles’ Cathedral to Edinburgh Airport, where it will be flown to London, departing at 6pm.

After arriving at RAF Northolt at 6.55pm, the coffin will be driven to Buckingham Palace. Its arrival at 8pm will be witnessed by the King and Queen Consort, with other members of the Royal Family.

On Wednesday, Charles and Camilla, with other members of the Royal Family, will lead a procession behind the late Queen’s coffin.

It will leave Buckingham Palace, carried on a gun carriage to the Palace of Westminster, at 2.22pm and arrive at Westminster Hall at 3pm.

The Queen's death: what happens next. (PA)
The Queen's death: what happens next. (PA)

After a short service the Queen’s lying in state will begin, lasting for four days and ending on the morning of the state funeral on Monday, 19 September.

At 10.44am the Queen’s coffin will be taken in procession from the Palace of Westminster to Westminster Abbey in central London, where her state funeral will take place at 11am.

After the service, the coffin will be taken in procession from Westminster Abbey to Wellington Arch. From Wellington Arch, the coffin will travel to Windsor.

Once there, the hearse will travel in procession to St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle via the Long Walk, after which a Committal Service will take place in the chapel.