Sturgeon ‘honoured’ to represent Scotland at ‘momentous’ funeral for Queen

Nicola Sturgeon has said it was an “honour to represent Scotland” as leaders from across the globe joined with the royal family and other mourners at the Queen’s state funeral.

King Charles III was left close to tears during a state funeral service at Westminster Abbey, where the Archbishop of Canterbury described his mother as having touched “a multitude of lives” and having been a “joyful” figure for many.

About 2,000 people attended the service at Westminster Abbey in London, with  members of royal families from across Europe present, along with politicians from across the the political spectrum and world leaders, including US President Joe Biden and French president, Emmanuel Macron.

The Scottish First Minister was amongst those at Monday’s service, along with other Scottish politicians, including the Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, and his Liberal Democrat counterpart, Alex Cole-Hamilton.

The funeral was held at Westminster Abbey (Danny LAwson/PA)
The funeral was held at Westminster Abbey (Danny LAwson/PA)

Ms Sturgeon described the hour-long ceremony as being “one of the most momentous occasions in recent history” as she spoke of a “final and poignant goodbye to a deeply respected and much loved monarch”

She hailed the Queen, who died on September 8 at Balmoral in the Highlands, as being a “great constant” as she added it was “an honour to represent Scotland at the service”.

The First Minister added: “As the Queen is laid to rest, it gives us a chance to reflect on the events of the past 10 days which have provided a sincere, solemn and fitting tribute to our longest-reigning monarch.

“We knew how important Scotland was to the Queen and, over recent days, we have been reminded just how much Her Majesty meant to the people of Scotland.”

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland read a prayer as part of the service at Westminster Abbey, which was expected to be watched by millions around the world.

Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields also formed part of the pre-procession of church leaders including the Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland, Very Rev Prof David Fergusson.

Speaking after the service, the Moderator said: “The last 10 days have been a whirlwind and yet time seems to have stood still.

“It was a privilege and a real pleasure to spend time in the company of Her Majesty the Queen. She was considerate in every respect and had clearly taken time to understand her guests. I was struck by her tremendous recall and her obvious love for Balmoral and, indeed, Scotland.”

It came as shops and schools across Scotland closed to allow people to pay their last respects to the Queen, who served more than 70 years as monarch.

Hundreds had gathered in Scotland’s capital to watch the service on a big screen in Holyrood Park, beside the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where the Queen’s coffin was brought from Balmoral just over a week ago.

Emilia Wolfbauer, an 18-year-old student originally from Austria, said the response to the service in the park gave her “goose bumps”.

“Seeing everybody being sad, I got goose bumps,” she told the PA news agency.

“It was really touching and very sad.”

Events were held across the country, including on the Royal Yacht Britannia, to mark the funeral of the late monarch, who was on the throne for 70 years.

The yacht, which is now a visitor attraction, flew its flag at half mast on Monday during the day of mourning while former chief chef, Jeff Hughes, 78, described the Queen as “someone special”.

Returning to the ship at its current mooring in Edinburgh, Mr Hughes, from Wrexham, North Wales, told journalists: “It’s hard to explain, but the Queen is someone special.

“We will never have a monarch like the Queen, although King Charles will do a good job.

“Nobody will do the job like Her Majesty the Queen did. She was a one-off, you will never get that person again.”

City of Edinburgh Council leader Cammy Day was also amongst those at the service in Westminster Abbey, saying it was an “honour” to be “part of the final send-off for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II”.

He added: “Today’s service at Westminster Abbey was a significant moment in history and appropriate for Her Late Majesty’s long-serving dedication and public duty.”