Thousands of people gathered along the roads in Scotland on Sunday to get a first glimpse of the coffin of the late Queen Elizabeth II. The hearse left the grounds of Balmoral Castle at around 10 a.m. local time.
As media reported, six bearers had earlier carried the oak coffin, covered with the royal standard for Scotland, out of the castle, where it had been laid out in the ballroom in recent days. A wreath of flowers was placed on the coffin visible through the windows of the carriage. At the gate of the castle were hundreds of bouquets of flowers that mourners had laid there.
The first people came to the route early in the morning with picnic chairs. Elizabeth II had died Thursday at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands.
The coffin is to be driven partly at walking pace. Six hours of driving time are planned for the route. In the afternoon, it is expected to arrive at the Queen's official residence in Edinburgh, Holyroodhouse.
King Charles III and other members of the royal family planned to accompany the Queen's coffin Monday to St. Giles' Cathedral, where it will stand for 24 hours before continuing its journey by plane to London. The cathedral will be the first opportunity for the public to pay their respects and say goodbye to the Queen.
The coffin is expected to arrive in London on Tuesday. The following day it will be driven through the streets of the city center in a public procession. As the palace announced on Saturday, the coffin will be taken from Buckingham Palace to Parliament on a horse-drawn carriage known as a lafette. There he is to be laid out for four days. There, too, people are to have another opportunity to bid farewell to the Queen. Many thousands are expected.
Charles also proclaimed king in Wales
With a similarly pompous ceremony as in London Charles III. was proclaimed on Sunday also in the national part Wales to the king. In addition to fanfares and a public proclamation, there were also cheers and firecrackers. The proclamation was read at Cardiff Castle in English and Welsh.
Wales has a special position as a principality, traditionally presided over by the crown prince. Charles (73) has held this role since his mother named him Prince of Wales at the age of nine. The official investiture took place solemnly in 1969.
The Royal Parks Authority asked on Sunday to refrain from paying tribute to the Queen with souvenirs such as teddy bears, Corgi cuddly toys and wrapped jam sandwiches. Only flowers, without plastic protectors, should be put down. The park authority must dispose of the material after the funeral services.
"In the interest of sustainability, we ask that visitors use only organic or compostable materials," the authority said on its website. "Unfortunately, gifts and artifacts cannot be accepted, and the public is asked not to bring them into the parks." Candles were also off limits, the parks authority wrote. In London, all flowers should be placed in the specially designated memorial area in Green Park near Buckingham Palace, if possible.
The state funeral with numerous state guests and representatives of royal families from around the world will take place on September 19. A service is planned at 12:00 (CEST) in Westminster Abbey in London. The people of Great Britain will have an additional day off work. Charles III had authorized this holiday on the occasion of his proclamation.
The queen will then find her final resting place in St. George's Chapel in the grounds of Windsor Castle, where her husband Prince Philip also rests, who died on April 9, 2021. Her closest relatives, her father George VI, her mother, known as "Queen Mum," and her sister, Princess Margaret, were also buried there.
Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante