Queen Elizabeth's coffin arrives in Edinburgh as mourners line streets

The death of the 96-year-old has provoked tears, sadness and warm tributes, not just from the queen's own close family and many in Britain, but also from around the globe.

 People line the street as the hearse carrying the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth passes through the village of Ballater, near Balmoral, Scotland, Britain, September 11, 2022.  (photo credit: HANNAH MCKAY/ REUTERS)
People line the street as the hearse carrying the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth passes through the village of Ballater, near Balmoral, Scotland, Britain, September 11, 2022.
(photo credit: HANNAH MCKAY/ REUTERS)

Queen Elizabeth's coffin was taken from her summer home in the Scottish Highlands to Edinburgh on Sunday, past tens of thousands of mourners lining the route to pay tribute, many in somber silence, some applauding and others in tears.

Shortly after 10 a.m. (0900 GMT), a hearse carrying Elizabeth's oak coffin emerged from the gates of Balmoral Castle, where she died on Thursday aged 96, at the start of a six-hour slow drive to the Scottish capital.

"It is the greatest consolation to me to know of the sympathy expressed by so many to my sister and brothers and that such overwhelming affection and support should be extended to our whole family in our loss."

Charles III 

The coffin was draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland with a wreath on top made of flowers taken from the Balmoral estate including sweet peas, one of Elizabeth's favorites.

Crowds, fifteen deep in places, massed in the center of Edinburgh to greet the cortege, which included the queen's daughter, Princess Anne, as it made its way to the Palace of Holyroodhouse where it was met by a military guard of honor.

 Britain's William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, wave to members of the public at Windsor Castle, following the passing of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in Windsor, Britain, September 10, 2022. (credit: CHRIS JACKSON/POOL VIA REUTERS) Britain's William, Prince of Wales, Catherine, Princess of Wales, Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, wave to members of the public at Windsor Castle, following the passing of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in Windsor, Britain, September 10, 2022. (credit: CHRIS JACKSON/POOL VIA REUTERS)

Soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland then carried the coffin to the throne room of the palace where it will remain overnight.

"There was no way I could miss this. I would regret it for the rest of my life," said Eilidh Mackintosh, 62, who left her home at 6 a.m. to be sure of a good view of Edinburgh's famous Royal Mile where large crowds were gathering.

"She never let us down and I didn’t want to let her down either. Now she has gone there is a big hole in the heart of the nation."

The journey from Balmoral was the first of a series of events leading up to the state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London on Sept. 19.

In an emotional tribute to his mother on Friday, the new monarch, King Charles, said she had begun a "last great journey" to join Prince Philip, her husband of 73 years who died last year.

Her death has drawn tears, sadness and warm tributes, not just from the queen's own close family and many in Britain, but also from around the globe - reflecting her presence on the world stage for seven decades.

As the hearse reached the small village of Ballater near Balmoral, hundreds stood beside the road in silence in the bright morning sunshine as the hearse passed, some throwing flowers into the road.

"It's just very, very sad. I’m happy I was here to say our goodbyes," said Elizabeth Alexander, 69, who was born on the day the queen was crowned in 1953.

Accompanied by the queen's daughter, Princess Anne, the cortege wound its way from the remote castle through picturesque countryside, villages and small towns, at one point passing a guard of honor formed by dozens of tractors lined up in adjacent fields by farmers.

It was due to arrive in Edinburgh at about 4 p.m. (1500 GMT)where the coffin will be taken to the throne room of the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

"There was no way I could miss this. I would regret it for the rest of my life," said Eilidh Mackintosh, 62, who left her home at 6 a.m. to be sure of a good view on Edinburgh's famous Royal Mile where large crowds were gathering.

"She never let us down and I didn’t want to let her down either. Now she has gone there is a big hole in the heart of the nation."

 People line at The Royal Mile as they wait for hearse carrying the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain, September 11, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/CARL RECINE) People line at The Royal Mile as they wait for hearse carrying the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain, September 11, 2022 (credit: REUTERS/CARL RECINE)

Many thousands have already gathered at royal palaces in the days since Elizabeth's death, and large piles of flowers are massing as people visit to pay their respects.

"I know how deeply you, the entire nation - and I think I may say the whole world - sympathize with me in the irreparable loss we have all suffered," Charles said at a ceremony on Saturday.

Charles became king immediately after his mother's death and was officially proclaimed the new monarch at the ceremony, full of pageants and centuries-old traditions.

Similar proclamations are following across the United Kingdom and the other 14 realms of which Charles is now head of state, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said parliament would be recalled on Thursday to allow members to pay tribute.

The queen came to the throne following the death of her father King George VI on Feb. 6, 1952, when she was just 25. Her coronation took place a year later.

While Elizabeth's death was not totally unexpected given her age and deteriorating health, there was still a sense of shock at the news.

"We all thought she was invincible," her grandson Prince William, now the heir to the throne, told a well-wisher on Saturday as he met crowds at Windsor castle.

While Elizabeth's death was not totally unexpected given her age, the fact her health had been deteriorating and the passing of her husband of 73 years Prince Philip last year, there was still a sense of shock at the news.

"We all thought she was invincible," her grandson Prince William, now the heir to the throne, told a well-wisher on Saturday as he met crowds at Windsor castle. 

The Queen's funeral

The day of Elizabeth's funeral will be a public holiday in Britain, officials announced. U.S. President Joe Biden said he would be there, although full details of the event and the attendees have not yet been released.

Before that, her coffin will be flown to London and there will be a somber procession when it is later moved from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall where it will lie in state for four days.

"It goes without saying that we can expect large numbers of people," a spokesperson for Prime Minister Liz Truss told reporters.

Truss, whose appointment as prime minister on Tuesday was the queen's last public act, will join King Charles as both the new head of state and prime minister tour the four nations of the United Kingdom in the next few days.

Charles, 73, is now the 41st monarch in a line that traces its origins to the Norman King William the Conqueror who captured the English throne in 1066.

Elizabeth's death has capped a difficult couple of years for the royal family.

 Corgi dogs are seen outside Buckingham Palace following the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in London, Britain September 11, 2022. (credit: JOHN SIBLEY/REUTERS) Corgi dogs are seen outside Buckingham Palace following the death of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, in London, Britain September 11, 2022. (credit: JOHN SIBLEY/REUTERS)

The most high-profile issue has involved her grandson Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who stepped down from royal life in 2020 to move to California where they both have heavily criticized the institution.

That has left them alienated from the rest of the family, with Harry and his older brother William said to be barely on speaking terms. But the death of their grandmother has seen differences put aside, as they appeared together with their wives outside Windsor Castle to meet the crowds on Saturday.

A royal source described it as an important show of unity at an incredibly difficult time for the family.

 People line the street as the hearse carrying the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth passes through the village of Ballater, near Balmoral, Scotland, Britain, September 11, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY) People line the street as the hearse carrying the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth passes through the village of Ballater, near Balmoral, Scotland, Britain, September 11, 2022. (credit: REUTERS/HANNAH MCKAY)