Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin goes to London

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LONDON (AP) – Queen Elizabeth II’s flag-draped coffin passes through the rugged Scottish countryside Sunday on a final journey from her beloved summer estate Balmoral Castle to London, with mourners lining the roads and some throwing flowers to honor the monarch who died after 70 years in the throne.

The hearse drove past piles of bouquets and other tributes as it led a seven-car cortege from Balmoral, where the Queen died on Thursday, on a six-hour journey through Scottish towns to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. The late Queen’s coffin was draped in the Royal Standard for Scotland and topped with a wreath made of flowers from the estate, including sweet peas, one of the Queen’s favourites.

“A sad and poignant moment as Her Majesty The Queen leaves her beloved Balmoral for the last time,” Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted. “Today, as she travels to Edinburgh, Scotland will pay tribute to an extraordinary woman.”

Crowds line parts of the route as the nation mourns its longest-reigning monarch, the only one most Britons have ever known. In the Scottish village of Ballater, where residents consider the royal family neighbors, hundreds of people watched in silence and some threw flowers in front of the hearse as it passed.

“She meant so much to people in this area. People were crying, it was amazing to see,” said Victoria Pacheco, a guesthouse manager.

In every town and village the cars passed through, they were met with similarly muted scenes of respect. People mostly stood in silence; some clapped politely, others pointed their phone cameras at the passing cars.

Before reaching the Scottish capital, the motorcade will travel down what is effectively a royal memorial lane – passing through sites steeped in House of Windsor history, including Dyce, where in 1975 the Queen formally opened Britain’s first North Sea oil pipeline, and Fife near St . Andrews University, where her grandson William, now the Prince of Wales, studied and met his future wife, Catherine.

Sunday’s solemn drive through Scotland comes a day after the Queen’s eldest son was formally proclaimed the new monarch – King Charles III – in a pompous accession ceremony steeped in ancient tradition and political symbolism.

“I am deeply conscious of this great heritage and the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty that have now passed to me,” Charles said as he assumed the duties of monarch.

He will be proclaimed king in other nations of the United Kingdom – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – and in cities across the country on Sunday. Previously, proclamations were held in other parts of the Commonwealth – the group of former British Empire colonies – including Australia and New Zealand.

In the New Zealand capital, Wellington, the British monarch’s representative, Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro, said: “On behalf of all New Zealanders, I give King Charles our loyalty and support and wishes for a long and happy reign.”

Although he was grieving his late mother, Charles began working. He met at Buckingham Palace with the secretary-general and other representatives of the Commonwealth, a group of nations struggling with devotion to the Queen and lingering bitterness over their own colonial legacies, from slavery to corporal punishment in African schools to looted artefacts. held in British institutions.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who had begun laying the groundwork for an Australian republic after May’s election, said on Sunday the time was not for change but to pay tribute to the late queen.

India, a former British colony, observed a day of state mourning, with flags lowered to half-mast on all government buildings across the country.

Amid the mourning that enveloped the House of Windsor, there were hints of a possible family reconciliation. Prince William and his brother Harry, along with their respective wives, Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, cheered mourners near Windsor Castle with a surprise joint appearance on Saturday.

The Queen’s coffin will make a circuitous journey back to the capital. On Monday it is taken from Holyroodhouse to nearby St. Giles’ Cathedral, where it will remain until Tuesday, when it will be flown to London. The coffin will be moved from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday to lie in state until a state funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19.

In Ballater, Reverend David Barr said locals consider the royals “neighbours” and try to treat them like locals when they spend summers in the Scottish Highlands.

“When she comes up here and she goes through those gates, I think the royal part of her stays out for the most part,” he said. “And when she goes in, she was able to be a wife, a loving wife, a loving wife. mother, a loving grandmother, and then later a loving great-grandmother — and aunt — and be normal.”

Elizabeth Taylor, from Aberdeen, had tears in her eyes after the hearse carrying the Queen’s coffin passed through Ballater.

“It was very emotional. It was respectful and showed what they think of the Queen,” she said. “She certainly gave service to this country, even up until a few days before her death.”



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