Queen Elizabeth II began her final journey on Sunday, her coffin leaving Balmoral Castle for Edinburgh, before her solemn return to London on Tuesday and her state funeral on September 19.
The royal hearse, the first of a procession of seven vehicles, passed through the gates of the residence where the monarch loved to spend the summer shortly after 10:00 a.m. (9:00 GMT) by road.
The oak coffin was draped with the royal Scottish standard on which a bouquet of flowers had been placed. It is scheduled to arrive in Edinburgh, the Scottish capital, around 4:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. GMT) after a journey of almost 300 kilometers. There you will spend the night at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Scottish royal residence.
Thousands of people were expected at the course. Some had arrived very early, to greet for the last time the one who had reigned for 70 years and 7 months, a familiar and reassuring presence, but always mysterious, who had passed through imperturbable ages and crises.
“I had to come to Balmoral,” says Mark Lindley-Highfield, a 47-year-old academic who arrived on Saturday from Inverness, a two-hour drive north. For the occasion, he wears a black tailcoat and a top hat. “Her Majesty of her has selflessly given us her life and her time. Paying tribute to her in a traditional way was a way of thanking her for everything she has done.”
The crowd was asked not to throw flowers as the convoy passed, so as not to disturb the precise route of the last trip of the 96-year-old sovereign, much loved in the United Kingdom.
The hearse then passed through Ballater, the town very close to the castle, where the queen, who had come to Balmoral as a child, was well known. On the main street, the coffin was greeted by an honor guard made up of the assembled crowd.
Protected by the immensity of the royal domain (more than 20,000 hectares of moors, forests and farmlands) she lived a simpler and more relaxed life there.
The funeral procession then set off for Aberdeen and Dundee before heading on to Edinburgh.
His funeral will take place on September 19 at Westminster Abbey in London, the mecca of royal weddings, coronations and burials for nearly a millennium.
It was there that what was still only Princess Elizabeth had married 21-year-old Philip Mountbatten in November 1947. She here she too was crowned on June 2, 1953.
Dignitaries from around the world are expected to attend the funeral, including US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, as well as many crowned heads.
Tens of thousands of people should also pay their last respects to him at the Palace of Westminster, where his coffin will rest from September 14 to 19, before being transferred to the Abbey, where the funeral will take place at 10:00 GMT on the 19, declared a public holiday in the UK.
King Carlos III was proclaimed king on Saturday in a ceremonial centenary ceremony.
“My mother’s reign was unmatched in its duration, its devotion and its devotion (…) I am deeply aware of this great heritage, of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty, which are now transmitted to me”, he declared. .
“As I take on these responsibilities, I will strive to follow the inspiring example I have been given,” he continued.
Her son William, now heir to the throne and Prince of Wales, paid a moving tribute to his grandmother.
“She was by my side in my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life. She knew this day would come, but it will take time to get used to the reality of life without the grandmother, an “extraordinary queen,” she said on Saturday.
“I will honor his memory by supporting my father, the king, in any way I can.”
The prince then created a surprise by going with his wife Kate, but also his brother Harry and his wife Meghan to admire the flowers laid in front of Windsor Castle in tribute to Elizabeth II, where the acclaimed quartet took a long bath.
The two couples are notoriously cold. Although Harry and Meghan are now based in California, they had not been seen together in public for more than two years.
They all left in the same car, but the faces were closed, the interactions minimal.
According to The Times newspaper, “protracted negotiations” had taken place behind the scenes between the two sides, delaying his appearance by 45 minutes.
Increasingly fragile in recent months, the queen has dedicated her life to the monarchy. On Tuesday she continued to work, receiving in audience the resigning prime minister, Boris Johnson, and the new prime minister, Liz Truss, whom she had asked to create a new government.
However, the monarch had remained at Balmoral for these audiences, too weak to travel.
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