Britons get first chance to view Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin
Mourners on Monday will have the first opportunity to pay homage in front of the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, as it lies in Edinburgh Cathedral, where King Charles III himself will arrange a vigil.
Thousands of people are expected to line up for the opportunity to see a flag-draped casket at St Giles Cathedral in the Scottish capital, a week before her funeral in London.
The new monarch will follow his mother's coffin in a sombre procession leading from Holyroodhouse Palace, where he arrived on Sunday after a six-hour road trip from Balmoral Castle, to the church.
The new king will also address British lawmakers in London for the first time since ascending the throne, as the contest continues ahead of the Queen's state funeral on September 19.
A long mourning period comes as Britain tries to come to terms with the death of its longest-running monarch, who has been part of national life since almost World War II.
“To see her pass, in front of us, I think, actually gave a little closure,” said Lucy Hampshire, who came to Edinburgh with her boyfriend from the English city of York to see the Queen's coffin.
Crowds 10 deep came out in Edinburgh as the hearse carrying the Queen rode through the city, with some cheers, some throwing flowers, and a few shedding tears in the outpouring of respect for the Queen.
People also lined up the streets of towns and villages along a 180-mile (290-kilometer) route from Queen Balmoral's beloved estate, where she died Thursday at the age of 96 after seven decades on the throne.
Elizabeth II's oak casket rested on Sunday night in the throne room of Holyroodhouse Palace, and Charles and his Queen Consort Camilla flew to Edinburgh on Monday after his visit to Parliament.
The king and senior royals will then follow her hearse, flanked by soldiers, in procession to guide her along the historic Edinburgh Royal Mile to 12th-century St Giles Cathedral.
The coffin will be carried to an imposing gray stone cathedral, where it will be crowned with the Crown of Scotland before the Minister holds a “prayer and reflection” service for the Queen.
Her coffin will remain there for 24 hours “to enable the people of Scotland to pay their last respects,” a palace official said. The reports said there would be tight security and long lines were expected.
King Charles III and the senior royals will hold a vigil next to the late Queen at 7:20 p.m. (1820 GMT), while soldiers from the Royal Company of Archers will remain on guard throughout.
The Queen's body will be delivered to London on Tuesday by Royal Air Force plane to an airfield near London, accompanied by Queen Princess Anne's daughter and taken to Buckingham Palace.
The next day, the royals will follow the coffin carried atop the cannon carriage to Westminster Hall, where it will lie in the state from 5:00 p.m. (1600 GMT) until funeral day.
At least a million people are expected to come to see the coffin in London. Officials warn that people should expect to wait “many hours” and maybe even stand in line for the night.
The funeral itself should be watched all over the world, it will be attended by numerous heads of state, including US President Joe Biden.
“Why stop now?”
As Charles III assumes what he called the kingdom's “heavy duties,” the new monarch's traditional visit to parliament will cement his role as constitutional head of state.
At a ceremony in Westminster Hall, where the Queen will lie in the state, both houses of the British Parliament will express their condolences over the Queen's “demise”.
Charles will then give an official answer.
Charles will also make his first visits as king to Northern Ireland and Wales this week as part of a demonstration of national unity.
While emotional scenes in Scotland showed a deep affection for the Queen there, her death also led to a debate about Scottish independence from the United Kingdom.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was a “sad and poignant moment” when the coffin left Balmoral, but the independence leader insisted on a new referendum on the divisive issue.
“I'm not for independence – we've been together for hundreds of years. Why stop now?” said the grieving 68-year-old Anne Johnston of Edinburgh.
However, she added that “there is no grudge against Charles, but I don't think he'll ever live to see the Queen.”
Britons Tueratiled the only royal that most of them ever knew, a figure familiar to them and millions around the world from banknotes, stamps and annual Christmas television messages.
Charles has seen his popularity recover from the death of his ex-wife Diana in a 1997 car accident, but he takes the throne in a moment of deep anxiety in Britain over the rising cost of living and the international instability caused by the war in Ukraine.
As republican movements gain momentum from Australia to Antigua, the new king also faces the challenge of how to keep together the worldwide royal family the Queen loved so much.
Charles staged his first reception on Sunday for representatives of the Commonwealth kingdoms, the 14 former colonies over which he rules in addition to Britain – at least for now.
Just a few hours before that, Australia and New Zealand officially named Charles King.
But one issue hanging over the royal family was resolved on Sunday – when it was revealed that the scandalous Prince Andrew and his ex-wife Sarah Ferguson would be looking after the Queen's favorite corgis.
The prince, who stepped down royal duties in 2021 due to his association with convicted American Jeffrey Epstein, will take on Muik and Sandy, the dogs he gave to the Queen that same year.