St Giles’ congregation gives thanks for Queen’s ‘life of service’

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The minister at the Scottish church where the Queen’s body is expected to lie in rest has told how the congregation there “gives thanks for her life of service”.

Reverend Calum MacLeod, of St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh added they were now praying for the new King, and the rest of the royal family “in these days of loss”

The historic church is situated on the city’s Royal Mile, halfway between Edinburgh Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

It is expected that members of the public will be allowed into the church to file past the coffin when it resides there in about three days’ time.

Preparations have begun for the arrival of the Queen’s coffin, with roads surrounding the Royal Mile starting to be closed on Friday morning.

Barriers have been put in place on the street, with a large space in the middle to allow the procession through.

Outside of the cathedral, two police officers and two security guards were guarding the entrance while a sign outside of the cathedral reads: “St Giles’ will be closed for the foreseeable.”

Camera crews could also be seen loading kit inside the cathedral on Friday.

Members of the royal family are also expected to attend the church, to hold a poignant vigil – known as the Vigil of the Princess –  around the Queen’s coffin.

In a statement released on Twitter on Friday evening, Rev MacLeod told how “the congregation of St Giles’ Cathedral, the High Kirk of Edinburgh, cherishes its long and historic relationship with the Queen and the royal family”

He added: “As the nation mourns a beloved sovereign, the congregation gives thanks for her life of service rooted in her abiding faith.

“We pray for the King and members of the royal family in these days of loss and look forward to continuing our relationship with them into a bright future, giving thanks to God.”

His statement also told how the Queen and her late husband were always “warmly welcomed” by the congregation.

He said: “St Giles’ houses the Thistle Chapel, home to Scotland’s highest chivalry order, The Order of the Thistle.

“The Queen, as Sovereign of the Order, would be in attendance to install new Knights as they were appointed. Dressed in the long, flowing green robes and plumed hat of the Order she and Prince Philip were always warmly welcomed by the congregation.”