Queen’s coffin leaves Balmoral en path to Edinburgh | Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen has commenced her ultimate journey from her beloved Balmoral property in Aberdeenshire and is heading down the north-east coast to Edinburgh.

The cortege carrying her coffin left Balmoral at about 10am and was making gradual progress by way of the villages of Royal Deeside, permitting the 1000’s who lined the path to bid a ultimate farewell to the nation’s longest-serving monarch and the lady many domestically thought-about a pricey neighbour.

After passing Crathie Kirk, the small granite church the place the Queen worshipped each Sunday throughout her annual summer time holidays within the Highlands, the hearse reached the closest village of Ballater, the place the royal household are common consumers and well-known to locals.

Closeup of the coffin departing Balmoral
Closeup of the coffin departing Balmoral. {Photograph}: Russell Cheyne/Reuters

Because the cortege processed by way of the village, preceded by a seemingly limitless variety of official autos and police vans, the quiet chatter of anticipation grew to a hush. Some telephones had been raised to seize the second however many others most popular to look at with out screens because the coffin handed, draped within the Royal Customary of Scotland with a wreath of flowers gathered from Balmoral property, together with white heather, pine fir and candy peas, one of many Queen’s favorite flowers.

Following the coffin in convoy to Edinburgh had been Princess Anne, her husband, Sir Tim Laurence, the minister of Crathie Kirk, and a consultant of the lord chamberlain’s workplace.


“It was very respectful, precisely as she would have wished,” mentioned Elsbeth Henry, who had come together with her buddy Isa McLeod from Lossiemouth that morning. “I used to be anxious people would possibly begin clapping or throwing flowers. It was very emotional although. I want I might say extra however I can’t discover the phrases.”

“It might have been her want to die right here,” added McLeod. “This was the place she had her freedom, she might breathe up right here.”

The crowds had been gathering in Ballater since earlier than 7am, with the well-organised arriving with grocery store baggage of snacks and fold-away chairs.

A number of the first to reach had been the Alexander household, three generations of whom had pushed from Huntly, an hour’s drive by way of the forest from the north.

Eight-year-old Hamish mentioned his iPad advised him the Queen was useless. Florence, 11, mentioned that they had seen the Queen in her automotive, whereas five-year-old Gracie guarded carefully their sharing tub of sweeties. “No one likes these ones,” she mentioned, holding up an unloved pink and white confection.

Their grandmother Elizabeth Anne Alexander, who was named after the Queen and born on Coronation Day, mentioned it was a household custom to go to Balmoral. She had travelled right here on Sunday morning together with her two daughters and three grandchildren.

“The Queen has all the time been a part of our lives, through the summer time when she’s keep in Scotland. We’d usually see her about domestically, and the neighborhood all the time revered her privateness. She was so relaxed right here, even in how she dressed. It felt that having her as the pinnacle of that household was a continuing.”

Because the solar rose, warming the crowds in the principle road, all generations had been gathering, from toddlers in pushchairs to aged individuals making use of the plentiful benches across the church.

Some had are available full mourning gown, some in kilts or navy uniform, others in additional sensible nation put on of the sort favoured by the Queen when she holidayed right here.

Carol Gregory and her husband, from Birmingham, had diverted from a deliberate vacation in Inverness to Ballater, draping a union flag throughout the steel crowd boundaries reverse the church. Like many within the crowd, when requested why she felt moved to return, Gregory replied merely: “We needed to be right here. She was our Queen.”

People line the streets of Ballater waiting for the cortege carrying the Queen’s coffin
Folks line the streets of Ballater ready for the cortege carrying the Queen’s coffin. {Photograph}: Hannah McKay/Reuters

She mentioned there was worth in coming collectively at a historic second equivalent to this. “I wished to be part of it, it’s a second in historical past and the top of an period. And maybe after I see her go previous it is going to sink in that she has really gone, as a result of in the mean time it feels surreal. She has all the time been a continuing.”

From Ballater, the cortege travelled eastwards alongside the winding, single-lane A93 by way of a succession of villages – Aboyne, Banchory and Peterculter. In every it was met with an analogous high quality of collective silence, with just a few smatterings of applause or flowers thrown alongside the route. In every village, after the convoy had handed, the crowds that had lined the principle streets dispersed promptly and with out ceremony, forsaking scores of police and council officers.

From this nation method, the convoy reached the A90, a twin carriageway main the cortege south, passing Dundee and Perth earlier than it reaches Edinburgh.

The primary minister, Nicola Sturgeon, will attend a celebration leaders’ gathering at parliament to watch the coffin passing. It can stay at Holyroodhouse Palace earlier than mendacity at relaxation on Monday at St Giles’ Cathedral.

Frank Groves was sitting alone on a black bench by Glenmuick parish church wearing a darkish go well with and tie and carrying a bouquet of flowers sure with a black ribbon. The 70-year-old had pushed an hour and a half from the fishing village of Cruden Bay to Ballater, which he had visited together with his spouse, Jeanette, after she was recognized with terminal most cancers. Inevitably this public grief reminded him of his personal loss seven years in the past. “On our darkest days we’d drive up right here and deal with ourselves to a meal on the Previous Station restaurant,” he recalled.

“You find yourself feeling a part of her household,” he mentioned of the Queen. “Ballater is a particular place and he or she was capable of chill out right here. From after I was born, the Queen was there, after I went to high school, acquired married, and when my spouse handed, she was there. She nearly looks like a distant relative.”

Seeing the coffin go previous could be “the fruits of disappointment”, Groves mentioned. “However you want that to maneuver on. Britain gained’t be the identical with out her.”

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