In a procession through narrow, cobbled streets, the new monarch walked slowly behind the hearse carrying the coffin of his mother, flanked by a Scottish military guard. Thousands of waiting well-wishers fell mainly silent as the convoy approached St. Giles’ Cathedral.
There the crown of Scotland was placed alongside a wreath on the queen’s coffin, which was draped in the royal standard of Scotland, as leading political, civic and military figures paid their respects at a service of thanksgiving. Both Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, and Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, were in attendance.
Later the public was allowed to do the same as the coffin lay at rest at the cathedral. A long line of mourners built up throughout the day, with people hoping to be among those able to file past. Those admitted to the cathedral were asked not to linger by the coffin to allow the maximum number to follow them.
On Tuesday the queen’s body will be flown to a military air base near London, in preparation for her funeral at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19.
Scotland became the focus of the first stage of national mourning because the queen died last week at Balmoral Castle, the estate in the remote and beautiful Scottish countryside that she loved, and to which she returned each summer.
Some believe that the queen wanted her final journey to begin from there and had considered the impact that the events now unfolding would have in binding Scotland to its southern neighbor, England, at a time of renewed talk of Scottish independence.
“Scotland loved her, and she was our queen. My belief is that the queen chose Balmoral to spend her last days,” said Marisa Ippolito, a travel adviser from the town of Biggar, as she waited in a doorway opposite the cathedral for the procession.
“I believe that she had an ulterior motive to unite the country and that she wanted to spend her last days in Scotland, which she loved, because she wants to maintain the union,” Ms. Ippolito added.
Some Key Moments in Queen Elizabeth’s Reign
Becoming queen. Following the death of King George VI, Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary ascended to the throne on Feb. 6, 1952, at age 25. The coronation of the newly minted Queen Elizabeth II took place on June 2 the following year.
A historic visit. On May 18, 1965, Elizabeth arrived in Bonn on the first state visit by a British monarch to Germany in more than 50 years. The trip formally sealed the reconciliation between the two nations following the world wars.
First grandchild. In 1977, the queen stepped into the role of grandmother for the first time, after Princess Anne gave birth to a son, Peter. Elizabeth’s four children have given her a total of eight grandchildren, who have been followed by several great-grandchildren.
Princess Diana’s death. In a rare televised broadcast ahead of Diana’s funeral in 1997, Queen Elizabeth remembered the Princess of Wales, who died in a car crash in Paris at age 36, as “an exceptional and gifted human being.”
Golden jubilee. In 2002, celebrations to mark Elizabeth II’s 50 years as queen culminated in a star-studded concert at Buckingham Palace in the presence of 12,000 cheering guests, with an estimated one million more watching on giant screens set up around London.
A trip to Ireland. In May 2011, the queen visited the Irish Republic, whose troubled relationship with the British monarchy spanned centuries. The trip, infused with powerful symbols of reconciliation, is considered one of the most politically freighted trips of Elizabeth’s reign.
Breaking a record. As of 5:30 p.m. British time on Sept. 9, 2015, Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, surpassing Queen Victoria, her great-great-grandmother. Elizabeth was 89 at the time, and had ruled for 23,226 days, 16 hours and about 30 minutes.
Marking 70 years of marriage. On Nov. 20, 2017, the queen and Prince Philip celebrated their 70th anniversary, becoming the longest-married couple in royal history. The two wed in 1947, as the country and the world was still reeling from the atrocities of World War II.
Losing her spouse. In 2021, Queen Elizabeth II bade farewell to Prince Philip, who died on April 9. An image of the queen grieving alone at the funeral amid coronavirus restrictions struck a chord with viewers at home following the event.
She was among the thousands who, from early morning, waited patiently in the sunshine, seeking the best viewing points for a day of events that focused on a pomp-filled procession.
Britain excels at tradition and ceremony, and Monday’s events were no exception. The new king’s day began in London where he addressed both houses of Parliament for the first time as sovereign. Under the vaulted timbers of Westminster Hall, King Charles III accepted condolences and pledged to uphold the principles of the country’s constitutional monarchy.
Speaking from the huge hall where the body of his mother will lie in state later this week, King Charles said, “Parliament is the living and breathing instrument of our democracy.”
The ceremony showcased the generally harmonious but occasionally fraught intersection of British royalty and government. There were expressions of fealty from Parliament to the king and a reciprocal pledge by him to abide by the limits of his constitutional role, which stipulates that he remain above politics.
But the speaker of the House, Lindsay Hoyle, made a wry allusion to more turbulent times. King Charles I was tried on charges of tyranny and treason in Westminster Hall in 1649, and outside it stands a statue of Oliver Cromwell, who led armies on Parliament’s behalf against Charles in the English Civil War and went on to rule the country as lord protector.
“It is perhaps very British,” Mr. Hoyle said, to take note of revolutions in a formal statement to the monarch. That drew a faint smile from the king.
The new king struck a more poignant note, paying tribute to the queen, whom he said was a “pattern to all princes living,” quoting from Shakespeare. He referred to her constancy, symbolized by a stained-glass window that was installed to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
“While very young, her late majesty pledged herself to serve her country and her people and to maintain the precious principles of constitutional government which lie at the heart of our nation,” the king said.
“This vow, she kept with unsurpassed devotion,” Charles said. “She set an example of selfless duty which with God’s help and your counsels I am resolved faithfully to follow.”
After making the hourlong flight to Scotland, King Charles, accompanied by Camilla, the queen consort, headed to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the royal residence in the city and a place that is also no stranger to big moments of history. It was here in 1603, on the death of Elizabeth I, that James VI of Scotland learned that he had become the king of England, uniting the crowns of the two nations.
In another ceremonial set piece, the new monarch was presented with the keys to Edinburgh, before Queen Elizabeth’s coffin was carried from the palace’s throne room to the waiting hearse by a military bearer party.
The king, flanked by his sister, Princess Anne, and two brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, walked behind the vehicle which made its way at a funereal pace, up the so-called Royal Mile to St. Giles’ Cathedral.
Despite some sporadic applause from the crowd, there was a mainly respectful hush in the heart of the city the procession passed slowly by, though Prince Andrew was heckled briefly. He has been largely exiled from public life because of his ties to the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
Earlier, Callie Waddle, 10, from Kilmarnock in western Scotland, said she had arrived before 5.30 a.m., persuaded by her father to witness a moment of history. “I came to show some respect to the queen,” she added.
Mandy Geens, from Solihull in central England, was visiting her daughter at university but extended her stay to take part in the events and, hopefully, to pay her respects in person.
“She was everyone’s favorite grandmother, and I will miss her smile,” she added. “We feel honored to be here, I said to my husband it was probably fate that we were here at this moment.”
Source : The New York Times