Queen Elizabeth's coffin sets off for final resting place

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Queen Elizabeth's Coffin Sets Off For Final Resting Place Queen Elizabeth's Coffin Sets Off For Final Resting Place
The hearse carrying the Queen's coffin passes the City Chambers on the Royal Mile, Edinburgh, on the journey from Balmoral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By PA Reporters

Thousands of mourners lined the streets as the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth embarked on the first stage of its journey to her final resting place.

Draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland with a wreath of Balmoral flowers on top, the queen’s oak coffin was seen in public for the first time at 10am Sunday as it began its six-hour trip from the Queen’s summer sanctuary in the Highlands to Edinburgh.

It was carried to the hearse by six Balmoral estate gamekeepers tasked with the symbolic gesture after it had been at rest in the ballroom, so the queen’s estate workers could say their goodbyes.

As the cortege made its stately progress, flowers were thrown into the hearse’s path by crowds on both sides of the road in Ballater – the closest village to Balmoral – which was sombre and silent.

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The queen and her family were often seen in the village in Royal Deeside, which she had visited since childhood and where the royal family have space to be themselves.

Many shops in the picturesque Victorian village had photographs of the Queen in their windows.

Well-wishers lined the streets as the hearse passed through Ballater, the closest village to Balmoral, on its journey to Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Along the 180-mile route, crowds broke into applause after the cortege passed.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was a “sad and poignant moment as Her Majesty, The Queen leaves her beloved Balmoral for the final time”.

Writing on Twitter, she added: “Today, as she makes her journey to Edinburgh, Scotland will pay tribute to an extraordinary woman.”

Princess Anne and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence were in a limousine as part of the procession directly behind the hearse.

The Princess Royal and her husband Admiral Sir Tim Laurence travelled behind the hearse on its journey to Edinburgh (Paul Campbell/PA)

The cortege passing along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on its journey to the Palace of Holyroodhouse from Balmoral (Peter Byrne/PA)

Meanwhile, Charles was proclaimed King to large crowds at Mercat Cross in Edinburgh, at Cardiff Castle, in Wales, and at Hillsborough Castle, in Northern Ireland, as he prepares to embark on his first tour of the UK since the queen’s death.

Operation Spring Tide will see Charles travel to Cardiff with Camilla on Friday after attending similar ceremonies in Belfast and Edinburgh this week.

A trumpeteer sounds a fanfare during an Accession Proclamation Ceremony at Cardiff Castle, Wales (Ben Birchall/PA)

Later, the queen’s grieving grandson, now the Prince of Wales, spoke about his “deep affection for Wales” on a call with Mark Drakeford, First Minister of Wales, a Kensington Palace spokesperson said.

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As the cortege approached Holyroodhouse, crowds were 10 deep in places on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, a famous thoroughfare the Queen knew well.

The Queen’s children and their spouses – Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex – watched as soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland carried the coffin into the palace.

In a touching gesture, deference to the queen was still observed, with the royal women curtseying and the men bowing their heads.

The cortege passes down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile on its journey from Balmoral to the Palace of Holyroodhouse (Jane Barlow/PA)

Pallbearers carry the Queen’s coffin as it arrives at Holyroodhouse (Alkis Konstantinidis/PA)

Elsewhere, the Archbishop of Canterbury delivered a sermon on Sunday morning, acknowledging that many people will be “navigating their way around the raw and ragged edges of grief”.

Speaking at Canterbury Cathedral, the Most Rev Justin Welby said those who met the Queen were “always struck by her ability to make them feel as though they were the most important, the only person in the room, the only person in the street, in the crowd.

The Archbishop of Canterbury delivers a sermon at a special service at Canterbury Cathedral on Sunday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

“King Charles III has the same ability to see the value of each person as God sees them.

“That is his conscious understanding of people.”

Former UK prime minister Gordon Brown added he believes the new sovereign will bring in a more informal, Scandinavian-style monarchy in the years ahead.

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“I think that what Prince Charles has already indicated is that the monarchy is going to be smaller,” he told the BBC’s Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme.

A well-wisher kisses the King’s hand during a walkabout outside Buckingham Palace on Thursday (Yui Mok/PA)

“It’s going to be more like a Scandinavian monarchy in the future, but not in a bad way – more informal.

“He stopped as he entered Buckingham Palace and talked to people in the crowd, and that was a signal that he was sending that he wanted people to feel that he was approachable.”

On Monday, the King and the Queen Consort will travel to Westminster Hall, where both Houses of Parliament will meet to express their condolences, before travelling to Edinburgh to join a procession along the Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral.

(PA Graphics)

It will be followed by a service and the Vigil of the Princes by members of the royal family.

Members of the public will be able to view the Queen’s coffin in St Giles’ Cathedral from 5pm on Monday. A queuing system will be in place, with security checks and restrictions on mobile phones applying.

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