King Charles leads queen’s coffin procession in Scotland

On foot and flanked by his three siblings, King Charles III on Monday led a sombre procession carrying Queen Elizabeth II’s body through hushed Edinburgh streets packed with mourners.

The queen’s oak coffin had on Sunday been driven to the Scottish capital from the Balmoral estate where she died last week aged 96, and held overnight at the royal residence of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

After a regimental band played “God Save The King”, her four children — Charles, Princess Anne, Princes Edward and Andrew — stepped out behind the hearse flanked by kilted soldiers.

Thousands of people lined the route to watch as the procession made its way to the 12th-century St Giles’ Cathedral as cannon fired at one-minute intervals from Edinburgh Castle.

The royals were joined by Prime Minister Liz Truss and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon for a service of prayer and reflection for the monarch who reigned for a record-breaking 70 years.

Later, the king and senior royals will stand vigil at the cathedral, with the coffin draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland and topped with a wreath including heather from Balmoral, and the ancient Crown of Scotland.

The public will also be able to pay their respects to the monarch known as “Queen of Scots” until the coffin is flown to London on Tuesday ahead of the state funeral at Westminster Abbey on September 19.

Prince Andrew was not wearing his military uniform, unlike his siblings, after stepping back from public life following a scandal over his links to US sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

But his presence represented a show of unity, as did the joint appearance at the weekend by Charles’ warring sons William and Harry, as they surveyed flowers and cards left outside Windsor Castle.

Harry, the youngest, who renounced royal duties in 2020 and moved to the United States, had earlier paid tribute to his grandmother, calling her his “guiding compass”.

“You are already sorely missed,” the 37-year-old said in his first statement since her death on Thursday, adding that he and his American wife Meghan “now honour my father in his new role”.

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