Siblings and a kilted king keep watch over the Queen’s coffin as the Scottish cathedral welcomes mourners
In a silent vigil on Monday at St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, a kilted King Charles III, his brothers Princes Andrew and Edward, and sister Princess Anne lowered their heads by the coffin of their late mother Queen Elizabeth II.
The queen, who passed away on Thursday after a record-breaking 70+ years as monarch, will rest until Tuesday at 3 p.m., when the casket will start its final trip to London.
The church will be open all night as the throng flow by and the UK prepares for the customary 10-day period of grief.
In recognition of their status as senior members of the Royal Family and military personnel, Charles, Anne, and Edward all wore distinctive uniforms.
Andrew, who wore a straightforward morning coat with a brace of medals on his chest, had his military titles removed from him in January after agreeing to a sexual abuse complaint.
Thousands of Scots continued to walk by to pay their respects as the siblings left after standing by the 96-year-old queen’s body.
The royals stood facing away from the coffin for ten minutes as first-time guests passed by, following a tradition started by King Edward VII at the death of King George V.
According to the Associated Press, the coffin itself was situated atop a wooden pedestal with the golden Crown of Scotland perched atop a crown set with freshwater pearls from Scotland’s rivers and 22 diamonds and 20 valuable stones.
When the coffin arrives, the king and the queen consort will be present at Buckingham Palace with Charles’ older son William and wife Catherine, who are now known as the Prince and Princess of Wales. Before being transported to Westminster Hall to lie in state, the casket will rest in the Bow Room of the palace.
There were countless powerful scenes to mourn the demise of a beloved royal, as Britain reckons with its sadness and the lengthy, complex legacy of Elizabeth’s reign.
Earlier, when the flag-draped oak coffin traveled the 1.1 miles from Holyrood Palace to the cathedral, the royals walked behind the black Mercedes Benz hearse in silence.
Between the two locations, the historic Royal Mile was lined with people, some of whom were ten deep. The majority of spectators were polite, but one heckler interrupted the stillness to call Prince Andrew a “sick old guy.” After a brief altercation, the demonstrator was seen on film being removed by the police.
The huge line of spectators in Edinburgh who come to commemorate a woman who was monarch of the United Kingdom and who was referred to as “Queen of Scots” by Alison Johnstone, the presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, demonstrated that the majority of bystanders were polite.
According to Sky News correspondent James Matthews, the line of mourners was more than a mile long and started at the cathedral’s entrance.
“I just wanted to be here to pay my last respects,” the speaker said. Marilyn Mclear, a 70-year-old retired teacher, told the AP, “I can’t believe she’s dead. I realize she was 96, but I still find it hard to accept the queen’s passing.
The vigil and public viewing concluded the legislators’ meeting with Charles and Camilla, the queen consort, during which they were given a message of condolence.
“I take up my new duties with gratitude for all that Scotland has given me, with resolution to constantly pursue the welfare of our country and its people, and with wholehearted trust in your goodwill and good counsel as we move forward with that job together,” the king retorted.
The Scottish people, who had just recently barely rejected a resolution to quit the United Kingdom, were commended by Charles for the “genuine devotion” they had shown the queen, who spent several months each year at Balmoral Castle, where she later died.
Additionally, he deliberately paraphrased Scotland’s most well-known poet, saying that my loving mother was “The friend of man, the friend of truth; The friend of Age, and guide of Youth: Few hearts like his with virtue warmed, Few heads with knowledge so informed.”
The queen’s funeral, which is likely to gather a sizable global audience on Monday, Sept. 19, will mark the end of the official period of mourning.