Service of thanksgiving hears of Queen’s ‘legendary’ love for Scotland

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A service of thanksgiving for the life of the Queen has heard that her love for Scotland was “legendary”.

The Queen’s dressed coffin was placed on a decorated wooden frame as the congregation stood at the beginning of the service at Edinburgh’s St Giles’ Cathedral on Monday.

The King, the Queen Consort and other members of the royal family then walked to their seats alongside the coffin.

The King joins the procession
The King joins the procession (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Charles took his place with his wife to his left and the Duke of York to his right.

At the beginning of the service, the Rev Calum MacLeod welcomed the royal family, “representatives of our nation’s life” and “people whose lives were touched by the Queen in so many unforgettable ways”.

He said: “And so we gather to bid Scotland’s farewell to our late monarch, whose life of service to the nation and the world we celebrate. And whose love for Scotland was legendary.”

The service celebrated the life of the Queen and her connection to Scotland.

Speaking of the Queen’s “deep links” to Scotland, the Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields said in his homily: “Much has been said about the Queen’s contribution to the life of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth which meant so much to her.

“But here in Scotland we acknowledge with gratitude her deep links with our land and its people. Her love of the Balmoral estate is well known and being there latterly brought her great comfort.

“There she was valued as a neighbour and friend, and there she drew strength and refreshment during the summer months.

“She was active in the life of civic Scotland, travelling across the country to support numerous causes, entertaining guests at Holyrood Palace, and presiding at ceremonial events, many of which took place in this church.

“Here, she received the Scottish crown in 1953, an event vividly memorialised in the painting by Orcadian artist Stanley Cursiter.”

Mourners heard a reading of Ecclesiastes from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, as well as words from Nigerian student Samuel Nwokoro, the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, and others.

(PA Graphics)

The music incorporates European, Anglican and Scottish material drawn from composers of sacred music: Bach, Byrd, Purcell and Tallis.

The Psalms will have often been sung by the Queen and her family at Crathie Kirk in Balmoral.

As mourners entered the church, they arrived to music sung by the choir of St Giles’ Cathedral, conducted by the Master of the Music Michael Harris.

The organ was played by Jordan English, assistant organist of St Giles’ Cathedral.

The national anthem, God Save the King, was sung near the end of the service.

The Queen Consort, Duke of York, Earl of Wessex, Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence could be seen singing as they stood alongside the King in front of the late Queen’s coffin.

At the end of the service in St Giles’ Cathedral, the King and Queen Consort, followed by members of the royal family, made their way out of the place of worship.

Members of the congregation bowed and curtseyed as they made their way past.

Applause could be heard when the royal family stepped out into the Edinburgh sunshine.

Members of the public will be able to view the coffin to pay their respects for 24 hours before it is taken to London to lie in state.