Britons can go to wake for queen

Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence (fifth from right), Britain’s Princess Anne, the Princess Royal (fourth from right), Britain’s Prince Andrew, Duke of York, (third from right) and Britain’s Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex (second from right) stand as the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland, is carried into the Palace of Holyroodhouse,in Edinburgh Sunday. The coffin carrying the body of Queen Elizabeth II left her beloved Balmoral Castle on Sunday, beginning a six-hour journey to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. | Aaron Chown / POOL/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

September 13, 2022

EDINBURGH, United Kingdom (AFP) — Mourners will on Monday get the first opportunity to pay respects before the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II, as it lies in an Edinburgh cathedral where King Charles III will preside over a vigil.

Thousands of people are expected to line up for the chance to see the flag-draped casket at St. Giles’ Cathedral in the Scottish capital, a week before her funeral in London.

The new monarch will walk behind his mother’s coffin in a somber afternoon procession leading from Holyroodhouse palace — where it arrived on Sunday after making a six-hour road journey from Balmoral Castle — to the cathedral.

In the morning, the new king is due to address British lawmakers in London for the first time since ascending the throne, as the pageantry continues ahead of the queen’s 19 September state funeral.

The lengthy mourning period comes with Britain trying to reconcile itself to the death of its longest-serving monarch, who has been part of the backdrop of national life almost since World War II.

“To see her pass, in front of us, I think actually gave a bit of closure,” said Lucy Hampshire, who came to Edinburgh with her boyfriend from the northern English City of York.

Crowds turned out in the Scottish capital Sunday as the hearse carrying the queen drove through the city, with some cheering, some throwing flowers and a few shedding tears in an outpouring of respect.

People also lined the streets of towns and villages along the 180-mile (290-kilometer) route from her beloved Balmoral estate, where she died on Thursday aged 96 after seven decades on the throne.
Images of the coffin draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland dominated the front pages of British newspapers Monday.

“The saddest journey… now the long goodbye,” headlined the Daily Mail on its cover.

‘Last respects’

Elizabeth II’s oak casket rested overnight in the throne room of Holyroodhouse palace. Charles and his queen consort Camilla are due to fly to Edinburgh on Monday after his speech in the parliament.

The king and senior royals will then follow on foot behind her hearse, flanked by soldiers, in a procession to take her along Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile to the 12th century St. Giles’ Cathedral.

The coffin will be carried into the imposing grey stone cathedral, where it will be topped with the Crown of Scotland, before a minister leads a service of “prayer and reflection” for the queen.

Her coffin will remain there for 24 hours “to enable people of Scotland to pay their last respects,” a palace official said. Reports said there would be tight security and long queues were expected.

King Charles III and senior royals will mount a vigil beside the late queen at 7:20 p.m. (1820 GMT), while soldiers from the Royal Company of Archers will stay on guard throughout.

The queen’s body will be flown to London on Tuesday by Royal Air Force jet to an airfield near London, accompanied by the queen’s daughter Princess Anne, and driven to Buckingham Palace.

The following day, royals will follow the coffin, carried atop a gun carriage, to Westminster Hall — the oldest part of the UK parliament — where it will lie in state from 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) until the day of the funeral.

At least a million people are expected to visit the coffin, resting on a catafalque in the cavernous hall. Officials have warned that people should expect to wait “many hours” and possibly even to queue overnight, and must go through “airport-style security.”

The funeral itself is set to be watched worldwide and attended by numerous heads of state, including US President Joe Biden, as well as global royalty.

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