Thousands pay tribute as the Queen’s coffin arrives in Edinburgh

·3-min read

Thousands of mourners lined the route of the Queen’s coffin procession on Sunday to pay their respects as she left Balmoral for the last time.

Sombre well-wishers gathered in silence beside the route on country roads, bridges, villages and city centres as the Queen’s coffin passed on its 175-mile journey from Balmoral to Edinburgh, to say goodbye to her late Majesty, who was never more at home than in Scotland.

By the time the procession had arrived at its destination at the Palace of Holyrood, six hours after setting off around 10am, crowds were up to ten deep in places on the famous Royal Mile.

Thousands gathered as the cortege headed down the famous thoroughfare, which stretches from Edinburgh Castle at one end to the royal residence of the Palace of Holyroodhouse at the other.

As the cortege went past, members of the public observed a silence before a ripple of spontaneous, gentle applause was heard.

But there was solemn silence when the cortege entered the forecourt at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where the Queen had spent time earlier this summer.

HM Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin arrives in Edinburgh after long journey from Balmoral

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The Queen’s grieving children, Anne, the Princess Royal, Andrew, the Duke of York, Prince Edward, the Earl of Essex, and their spouses, watched as soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland carried the coffin into the Palace.

In a touching gesture, deference to the late monarch was still observed, with the royal women curtseying and the men bowing their heads.

Her body will now lie at rest in the royal residence overnight, before being taken to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh for a service of prayer and reflection, where it will lie in state for 24 hours.

The Queen’s oak coffin, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland with a wreath of Balmoral flowers on top, began its journey from Balmoral around 10am, and soon reached neighbouring Ballater.

Members of the military salute the hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it passes through Ballater (PA Wire)
Members of the military salute the hearse carrying the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as it passes through Ballater (PA Wire)

Locals in the village considered the Queen a neighbour, with hundreds lining up the main street as the cortege drove slowly past, many shops displaying photographs of her late Majesty out of respect.

Flowers were thrown into its path by villagers on both sides of the road in Ballater, which was hushed and silent.

Elizabeth Taylor, from Aberdeen, had tears in her eyes as she spoke of the scenes.

She said: "It was very emotional. It was respectful and showed what they think of the Queen. She certainly gave service to this country, even up until a few days before her death."

Adele Phillips, who was a housekeeper to the Queen at her Balmoral estate, joined the crowds on Ballater’s main street.

She told BBC News: “I didn’t know her in the way that the public do - I saw her in her little tweed skirt and her head scarf and that kind of thing."

Asked “what was she like?", Ms Phillips replied: “Funny, always happy, she liked a joke and she was sarcastic."

People line the street waiting for the cortege Queen Elizabeth II (REUTERS)
People line the street waiting for the cortege Queen Elizabeth II (REUTERS)

At one point, as the cortege travelled through Dundee, a lone flower could be seen on the hearse windscreen. In a rural part of the route farmers paid homage to the Queen with tractors lined up in a ‘guard of honour’ in fields lining the roads.

The procession provoked different reactions from the public who had all come to pay tribute to the late monarch.

A hush descended on around 100 people waiting on a roundabout outside Dundee, with some giving tentative applause, while one man called out "thank you, thank you" as the coffin passed.

Afterwards, Gillian Nicholl, from St Andrews, who had come with her children Romy, 22, and Freya, 15, said: "It went very still and it was very atmospheric.

"I have never seen such a large crowd go so quiet.”