Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin reaches Edinburg; crowd tearful


Edinburg: Queen Elizabeth’s coffin arrived in Edinburgh on Sunday after a six-hour journey from her summer home in the Scottish Highlands, past tens of thousands of mourners lining the route, many in sombre silence, some applauding and others in tears. At the end of its slow journey through picturesque Scottish countryside, villages, small towns and cities, soldiers wearing kilts carried the coffin to the throne room of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Elizabeth’s official Scottish residence, where it will remain overnight.

In an emotional tribute to his mother on Friday, the queen’s eldest son and the new monarch, King Charles, said she had begun a “last great journey” to join Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years who died last year.

Earlier, the hearse carrying the oak coffin emerged from the gates of Balmoral Castle, where she died on Thursday aged 96, at the start of the drive to the Scottish capital. Her coffin was draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland with a wreath on top made of flowers taken from the Balmoral estate including sweet peas, one of Elizabeth’s favourites.

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Crowds, fifteen deep in places, massed in the centre of Edinburgh to greet the cortege as it made its way to Holyroodhouse, where it was met by a military guard of honour. The queen’s daughter Anne, flanked by the queen’s younger sons, Princes Andrew and Edward, curtsied as the coffin was carried inside by soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

“There was no way I could miss this. I would regret it for the rest of my life,” said Eilidh Mackintosh, 62, who left her home at 6 a.m. to be sure of a good view among the large crowds on Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile.

Rachel Lindsay, 24, was left in tears as the coffin passed. “It’s just very sad,” she said. “I don’t think we expected it to ever happen. I just thought she’d live forever. I didn’t think it was real until I saw it.”

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The journey from Balmoral was the first of a series of events leading up to the state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London on Sept. 19.

Her death has drawn tears, sadness and warm tributes, not just from the queen’s own close family and many in Britain, but also from around the globe – reflecting her presence on the world stage for seven decades.

Wherever the cortege went, people lined the road or stopped their cars to get out and watch. At one point, it passed a guard of honour formed by dozens of tractors lined up in adjacent fields by farmers. Many watched silently in bright sunshine. Some threw flowers into the road. For others, the emotion of the moment moved them to tears. “It’s just very, very sad. I’m happy I was here to say our goodbyes,” said Elizabeth Alexander, 69, who was born on the day the queen was crowned in 1953.




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