Queen Elizabeth II begins solemn final journey
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II embarks on her last journey on Sunday, and thousands of her mourning subjects are expected to line up the route of her coffin from the Scottish retreat where she died.
The solemn departure of the Queen's oak box from Balmoral Castle to Edinburgh marks the beginning of an odyssey of national mourning, culminating in her state funeral in London on September 19.
Her journey begins a day after her son Charles III was officially proclaimed king, and after her warring grandchildren William and Harry, as well as their wives Kate and Meghan, briefly reunited for a walk.
The hearse, carrying the coffin of Britain's longest-running monarch, will make a six-hour journey through Scottish cities before arriving in Edinburgh, where he will rest for two days so people can pay tribute.
The king himself will then travel to Edinburgh on Monday for a prayer service before the body of the Queen, who died in Balmoral on Thursday at the age of 96, arrives in the capital on Tuesday.
She will then lie in the state for four days in an event that is expected to attract at least a million people, ahead of the funeral, which will be observed around the world and involve numerous heads of state.
“We now live in history,” said Laura Burns, 49, who planned to try to see the Queen's coffin pass in Edinburgh after arriving in the city because her son is starting university studies.
“It's a very respectful atmosphere,” she said. Afp.
While Charles' entry pushed Britain towards what newspapers called the new “Carolina” era, Britain and the royal family are still coming to terms with the end of the Elizabethan era.
Prince William broke his silence with an emotional tribute to his beloved “Granny” on Saturday.
“She was there for me in my happiest moments. And she was there for me in the saddest days of my life,” said William, who has now become Prince of Wales.
But the Queen's death also brought an unexpected show of unity from 40-year-old William and his younger brother Harry, 37, when they went out with their wives to talk to well-wishers outside Windsor Castle, near London.
The sight of two couples who have barely seen each other since 2020, together – even if they broke up to talk and shake hands with different sides of the cheering crowd – is likely to spark reconciliation rumors.
The picture of the four royals was splashed on the front of The Sun newspaper on Sunday with the headline “All 4 is one”.
Senior royals, including the Queen's children, Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward and their families, also inspected the flowers outside Balmoral, where they have remained since the Queen's death.
The Queen's coffin, draped by a Scottish royal standard and a floral wreath, was kept in Balmoral's ballroom and will be carried to her hearse by six gamblers of the estate.
The symbolism of the Queen's last journey will be difficult for a nation that has strong royal ties , but where there is a strong Scottish independence movement that intends to break the centuries-old alliance with the United Kingdom.
The motorcade will depart at 10:00 am (0900 GMT) and then intertwine through Aberdeen and Dundee before reaching Edinburgh at 16:00.
Special observation decks are being set up along the route, although mourners will be asked not to throw flowers into the convoy during its passage.
“We expect many, many people to seek to express their respect,” first minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
The Queen's coffin will be taken to Holyroodhouse Palace, the monarch's official residence in Scotland, where she will rest during the day.
King Charles and other royals will take part in a procession on Monday to hand over her coffin along the Royal Mile of Edinburgh to St Giles Cathedral.
The next day, the coffin will be flown by Royal Air Force plane to Northolt Airfield near London and taken to Buckingham Palace. Then, on Wednesday, it will be moved to Westminster Hall to lie in the state.
King Charles will also visit Northern Ireland and Wales for a demonstration of national unity, accompanied by British Prime Minister Liz Coward, who was appointed only by the late Queen on Tuesday.
He has seen his popularity recover from Diana's death in a 1997 car accident, but he takes the throne in a moment of deep anxiety in Britain about the rising cost of living and the international instability caused by the war in Ukraine.
Charles vowed at the official Accession Council at St James' Palace on Saturday that he would “strive to follow the inspiring example I have submitted” to his mother for her “life of service.”
The centuries-old tradition was first broadcast live, showing the fanfare of trumpets and a court official dressed in a feathered hat to declare him king from the palace balcony.
Thousands of people in recent days have gathered outside Buckingham Palace and other royal residences to lay flowers and messages of compassion or simply to experience history in creation.
But officials expect many more people to pay their respects while the Queen lies in the state, in front of a televised funeral service at Westminster Abbey opposite.
The funeral of the Queen, who came to the throne at the age of just 25 in 1952, will be attended by several leaders, including US President Joe Biden, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and possibly Japanese Emperor Naruhito.
Her record 70 years on the throne were constant in a turbulent time for Britain, from a world of post-war hardship and the loss of her empire to more recent injuries such as the coronavirus pandemic.
Charles' coronation, a complex ritual imbued with tradition and history, will take place in the same historical surroundings of Westminster Abbey as for centuries, on the date to be fixed.