Sporadic gun salutes were among the only sounds as hushed crowds watched King Charles III lead his siblings in a poignant procession behind their mother’s coffin through the historic heart of Edinburgh.
On foot and flanked by his three siblings, King Charles III has led a sombre procession carrying Queen Elizabeth II’s body through Edinburgh streets packed with mourners.
After a regimental band played “God Save The King” on Monday, her four children – Charles, Princess Anne, Princes Edward and Andrew – stepped out behind the hearse flanked by kilted soldiers.
Thousands of people lined the route to watch as the procession made its way to the 12th-century St Giles’ Cathedral as cannon fired at one-minute intervals from Edinburgh Castle.
The royals were joined by Prime Minister Liz Truss and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for a service of prayer and reflection for the monarch who reigned for a record-breaking 70 years.
Later, the king and senior royals will stand vigil at the cathedral, with the coffin draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland and topped with a wreath including heather from Balmoral, and the ancient Crown of Scotland.
The public will also be able to pay their respects to the monarch known as “Queen of Scots” until the coffin is flown to London on Tuesday ahead of the state funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19.
Prince Andrew was not wearing his military uniform, unlike his siblings, after stepping back from public life following a scandal over his links to US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
But his presence represented a show of unity, as did the joint appearance at the weekend by Charles’ sons William and Harry, as they surveyed flowers and cards left outside Windsor Castle.
Harry, the youngest, who renounced royal duties in 2020 and moved to the United States, had earlier paid tribute to his grandmother, calling her his “guiding compass”.
“You are already sorely missed,” the 37-year-old said in his first statement since her death on Thursday, adding that he and his American wife Meghan “now honour my father in his new role”.
The queen’s coffin had on Sunday been driven to the Scottish capital from the Balmoral estate where she died last week aged 96, and held overnight at the royal residence of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
All our lives
The huge numbers who have turned out for the queen in Edinburgh are a taster of the crowds expected in London when the late monarch lies in state for four days at Westminster Hall from Wednesday.
Around 750,000 people are expected, while the first person arrived for the queue on Monday — more than 48 hours before the line opens.
“I just felt I had to do something. I just wanted to come today,” said Steve Crofts, 47, waiting for the royals outside St Giles’.
While the government said organisations need not cancel events, everything from strikes to football matches have been postponed in honour of the only monarch most British people have ever known.
Flowers, cards and candles have been left at royal residences across the country, where crowds have massed to pay tribute to the late queen.
Many were left by tourists and well-wishers from abroad.
“We’ve known her face all of our lives,” said Aurelie Mortet, a 46-year-old Frenchwoman at London’s Columbia Road flower market, which has seen a huge rise in demand.