Britain’s King Charles III and his siblings held a silent vigil beside the coffin of their mother, Queen Elizabeth II, in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh Monday before members of the public began filing past to pay their respects to Britain’s longest serving monarch.
Thousands of people lined up for hours outside the historic cathedral in the Scottish capital Monday waiting to walk past the coffin of the late queen.
Charles, wearing a kilt, stood alongside his three siblings – Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward – who all bowed their heads as they stood at the four sides of their mother’s coffin.
The royalty received applause from onlookers as they left the cathedral.
Queen Elizabeth’s body will lie in the cathedral overnight so members of the public can pay their respects, before it is flown to London Tuesday.
The body was brought to St. Giles in a solemn procession through the streets of Edinburgh, where thousands of people turned out to pay their respects to the late monarch.
Charles, dressed in a military uniform, and his three siblings walked silently behind the hearse from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the official residence of the British monarch in Scotland to the cathedral.
Elizabeth died Thursday at Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands, a place she cherished.
After the procession reached St. Giles’ Cathedral, members of the royal family along with political leaders attended a service inside for the queen.
“And so we gather to bid Scotland’s farewell to our late monarch, whose life of service to the nation and the world we celebrate. And whose love for Scotland was legendary,” the Rev. Calum MacLeod said.
Earlier Monday, King Charles spoke to both houses of parliament in London for the first time as the monarch.
His brief address to approximately 1,000 lawmakers and their guests at London’s Westminster Hall came after the lawmakers offered their condolences on the passing of Queen Elizabeth during a ceremony filled with pageantry.
Charles said of his mother who served as monarch for 70 years: "She set an example of selfless duty which, with God's help and your counsels, I am resolved faithfully to follow."
The hearse carrying Queen Elizabeth’s body set off Sunday from Balmoral Castle, the beginning of her long and final journey.
The convoy, which included royal officials and security personnel, tracked slowly through the majestic Scottish hills, a landscape treasured by the late monarch, where she spent her final peaceful weeks of life. In years past, the queen was frequently seen visiting these remote Scottish villages when she resided at Balmoral Castle.
Residents gathered on the roadside to glimpse her for the last time and to say goodbye.
Some onlookers threw flowers as the hearse passed by; many in the crowd shed tears. Gentle ripples of applause followed as the convoy continued southward.
“We’ve known (her) for all our lives. So, it’s been the one constant thing in the whole of our lives — the queen,” said Stephanie Cook, a resident of the village of Ballater, close to Balmoral.
After a six-hour journey, the hearse crossed the River Forth toward Edinburgh.
Fiona Moffat traveled from Glasgow to witness the moment. She fought back tears as she described her emotions.
“A very historic moment. I am quite speechless actually. She was a lovely lady. Great mother, grandmother. She did well. I am very proud of her,” Moffat told The Associated Press.
Elaine Robertson, visiting Edinburgh from her home in Ayr on Scotland’s west coast, was also in tears. “I think it is just important to be here. Just important to say goodbye. She has been on the throne for a long time. So, yes, it means a lot,” Robertson said.
On Tuesday in London, the queen’s body will first be taken to Buckingham Palace, and then transferred in a public procession led by King Charles to the 11th-century Westminster Hall, where she will lie in state for four days. The hall will be open 23 hours a day for visitors. It will be guarded by soldiers from the royal household.
Tens of thousands of people are expected to travel to Westminster to pay their respects.
The funeral is scheduled for Monday, September 19, at Westminster Abbey. The coffin will then be taken to Windsor for the committal service, where the queen’s husband, Prince Philip, was laid to rest in April 2021.
Some information in this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.