Followed by their children, Charles III. at the top, the remains of Queen Edinburgh pass through

Followed by their children, Charles III. at the top, the remains of Queen Edinburgh pass through

King Charles III on Monday, surrounded by his brothers and sisters, silently led the procession that took Elizabeth II’s coffin to St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, where it will be displayed to the public for the first time at the beginning of the week of the farewell to the monarch.

Four days after the death of Elizabeth II at her Scottish castle of Balmoral and a week before her funeral in the presence of around 500 foreign dignitaries and millions of visitors, emotion remains strong in the UK and the public numerous to follow the final voyage of the popular sovereign.

After reaching Edinburgh on Sunday through the Scottish countryside, her funeral procession left the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen’s official residence in Scotland, at 2:35 p.m. (1:35 p.m. GMT), where the coffin spent the night on its way to St .Gilles.

In line, Elizabeth II’s four children followed the hearse on foot for more than a kilometer into the old town of the Scottish capital: Charles III, Princes Andrew and Edward and Princess Anne walked to the rhythm, all in military uniform except Andrew , retiring from the monarchy following sexual assault charges, which he settled by paying millions of dollars.

A peculiarity that confirms the exclusion of what is often referred to as the “favourite son” of Elizabeth II.

During the religious ceremony following the procession, the solid gold Crown of Scotland is placed on the coffin. Then the remains of Elizabeth II, a symbol of stability amid decades of upheaval, a planetary icon that brought comfort to Britons in times of crisis, will be on display in the cathedral for 24 hours in what is likely to draw a massive influx.

“I will stay as long as it takes,” Sam Whitton, a Scotsman in the long line to see the coffin, told AFP. For him, the queen was “a piece of history, probably for the last time in our lives”.

“It’s something I’ll never see again. I had to do something,” said Steve Crofts, 47, who lives near the Scottish capital.

“I’m torn, it’s the end of an era but after listening to Charles for the past few days I think he’s ready,” said Sue Stevens, a 79-year-old Englishwoman.

– “Weight of History” –

Charles III installs himself as monarch with the difficult task of succeeding his much-loved mother in the context of serious social crises and divisions in the UK, but also in light of the colonialist past in his 14 other kingdoms.

He is 73 years old, older than any British sovereign at the time of their accession.

After the service in Edinburgh, Charles III. received the Scottish Independence Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Then, at 19:20 (18:20 GMT), a private wake for the royal family will begin.

Condolences were offered to the new king by speakers of the House of Lords and House of Commons at the British Parliament in London on Monday.

“As I stand before you today, I cannot help but feel the weight of the history that surrounds us and reminds us of the vital parliamentary traditions to which members of both houses are subscribed,” the sovereign said in a brief speech.

He claimed his mother was “an example of devotion which, with God’s help and your guidance, I intend to follow faithfully”.

Elizabeth II remained a head of state with impeccable neutrality throughout her 70-year reign, fulfilling her constitutional functions without ever publicly voicing her opinion, opening Parliament, promulgating laws, confirming appointments and enthroned two days before her death at the age of 96 years , his 15th head of government.

Withdrawn from the monarchy since the resounding ‘Megxit’, Prince Harry joined in paying tributes to Elizabeth II, whom he called a ‘compass’, thanking his ‘granny’ for her sense of duty and her ‘contagious smile’: ‘You are already sorely missed”.

– “Moment of Reflection” on Sunday –

On Sunday, the curious waited for hours to be sure to be in the front row not to see, if only for a few seconds, the oaken coffin drive by on board the hearse that made the 300 kilometers between Balmoral and Balmoral in six hours put back. and Edinburgh.

After being presented to the public for 24 hours, the body will be taken to London on Tuesday evening at Edinburgh Airport aboard a royal plane.

It will again be on public display 24 hours a day from Wednesday evening, locked, draped in the royal standard, on a podium in the Palace of Westminster.

According to The Times newspaper, long lines – which can reach up to five miles – are expected while 750,000 people could try to see the coffin.

Elizabeth II’s remains will remain in Parliament for five days before the state funeral. Around 500 foreign dignitaries are expected – a significant security challenge for police – including US President Joe Biden, his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, as well as many royalty.

The day before the event, Sunday, the public will be called to a minute’s silence at 20:00 (19:00 GMT), Downing Street said, “a moment of reflection” in memory of the sovereign with unprecedented longevity in history the United Kingdom.


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