Scots have marked what Nicola Sturgeon described as a “sad and poignant moment” as the Queen left Balmoral for the final time.
After she died at the Aberdeenshire castle on Thursday, the body of the Queen was being moved on Sunday to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, where it will rest overnight.
Shortly after 10am, in bright sunshine, the hearse carrying the late monarch passed through the gates of the royal residence where the Queen had traditionally spent her summers.
Commenting on Twitter, the Scottish First Minister said it was a “sad and poignant moment as Her Majesty, The Queen leaves her beloved Balmoral for the final time”.
Ms Sturgeon added: “Today, as she makes her journey to Edinburgh, Scotland will pay tribute to an extraordinary woman.”
The Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence were part of the procession travelling in a group of limousines directly behind the late Queen.
Her oak coffin had been carried to the vehicle by six of the Balmoral estate’s gamekeepers, who were tasked with the symbolic gesture.
The coffin was draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland and a wreath on top, made from flowers from the Balmoral estate including sweet peas – one of the Queen’s favourite flowers – dahlias, phlox, white heather and pine fir.
Elizabeth Alexander, 69, travelled from her home in Huntly to see the cortege as it passed through the village of Ballater, near to Balmoral.
Speaking about the Queen, the grandmother said: “She’s the kind of person we should all be, but sometimes fail to be.”
Guest house manager Victoria Pacheco said: “She meant such a lot to people in this area. People were crying, it was amazing to see.”
Wellwishers had gathered in their numbers to pay their respects to the Queen, as her cortege made its journey south.
Meanwhile, a formal proclamation of Charles III as the new King was made to the public at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh.
A protester had appeared there just moments before the proclamation was made by the Lord Lyon King of Arms.
The woman, who was carrying a sign which said “F*** imperialism, abolish the monarchy” was taken away by police.