The colonel of the Royal Regiment of Scotland has said his soldiers were “proud” to provide a guard of honour alongside the Royal Company of Archers as the Queen’s coffin was taken to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.
Lieutenant General Nick Borton’s regiment participated in ceremonies to take the coffin from Balmoral, where the Queen died on Thursday, to the Scottish capital, before she is transported to London to lie in state.
Outlining the work of Balaklava Company, 5 Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, Lt Gen Borton said: “The young soldiers, the jocks of 5 Scots, had the tremendous honour of carrying the Queen’s coffin yesterday, today and again tomorrow, which you can imagine is a deeply personal and emotional moment for them as young soldiers.
“One of the young jocks in the bearer party only left his basic training at Catterick five weeks ago, and is now bearing the coffin of his Colonel in Chief.
“It’s been a tremendous honour. It’s been very hard work. The soldiers have been working tremendously hard since Friday to gather together all the right uniform, and then relentlessly practise their drill to the high standards required in order to provide the ceremonial surroundings for the events that are going on.”
Lt Gen Borton said the soldiers “dropped everything” to return to Edinburgh where they practised their drills ahead of the ceremonies.
“It’s a deeply personal attachment for all the soldiers in the regiment to be involved in her funeral arrangements,” he said. “She was very fond of the regiment and all the soldiers in it.
“For us, it’s not just a military task, we’re saying goodbye to our Commander in Chief and our Colonel.”
He said it was “typical” of the Queen that she was working two days before her death, adding: “(She was) living up to her promise of a life of service, to work to the bitter end, and she did that.
“For all of us it’s hugely devastating and sad, but we’re hugely proud to be part of it and to have known her as a sovereign and as the Colonel in Chief, and very honoured to be here taking part in it.”