Queen’s coffin making its way from Balmoral to Edinburgh as it is seen for the first time


Well-wishers in Scotland have been saying goodbye to the Queen, with her coffin seen for the first time as it makes its slow journey from Balmoral to Edinburgh.

Draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland and featuring a wreath of flowers on top, the oak coffin is travelling from the royal castle, through the Aberdeenshire countryside, to the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

As the hearse left the Balmoral estate in bright sunshine, members of the public lined the road and stood silent to pay their respects and one mourner threw flowers at the vehicle, as police officers bowed their heads.

The gentle rush of flowing water through the River Dee could be heard as the seven-car cortege crossed a bridge, as well-wishers gathered at the end of the route out of Balmoral.

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See the cortege as it continues its journey to Edinburgh

The hearse carrying the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth departs Balmoral Castle, in Balmoral, Scotland, Britain September 11, 2022. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Britain's Princess Anne accompanies the hearse carrying the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth departs Balmoral Castle, in Balmoral, Scotland, Britain September 11, 2022. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Princess Anne travelled behind the hearse

The Queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne, and her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, were part of the royal procession travelling in a limousine directly behind the hearse.

Onlookers described the “emotional moment” as they bade a quiet farewell to “the only queen we’ve ever known”.

Cortege passed through villages and towns

The cortege, with a police escort, slowly made its way towards the Scottish capital, as people turned out to see it pass, including hundreds in Ballater, Aberdeenshire.

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Flowers thrown at Queen’s coffin

Crowds three or four deep watched as the cortege drove through the village, including past the local church.

Some mourners threw flowers at the hearse.

Ballater is the village closest to the Balmoral estate, where many locals considered the royal as a neighbour.

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. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
The coffin made its way through Ballater

Clapping the cortege

In the town of Banchory, crowds again came out in large numbers, with some people clapping the cortege as it went by.

Sky’s royal commentator Alastair Bruce said: “A wonderful salute from Banchory, quiet gentle applause and a few of them throwing flowers into the path of the hearse.”

Queen's coffin travels through Banchory
Some people in Banchory clapped as the coffin travelled through the town

Around two hours into its journey, it arrived in the city of Aberdeen where large crowds fell silent as they watched the cortege pass. Many people brought their children so they could bear witness to the historic moment.

Elizabeth Taylor, from Aberdeen, had tears in her eyes as she considered what she had just seen.

She said: “It was very emotional. It was respectful and showed what they think of the Queen. She certainly gave service to this country, even up until a few days before her death.”

The hearse carrying the coffin of Britain's Queen Elizabeth passes through the village of Ballater, near Balmoral, Scotland, Britain, September 11, 2022. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Following the Queen’s death on Thursday, the coffin had remained at rest in the Balmoral ballroom to give estate workers there the chance to say goodbye for the last time.

Six of the estate’s gamekeepers lifted the coffin into a hearse at 10am, marking the start of the cortege’s six-hour journey to Edinburgh.

The wreath sat atop the coffin is made from some of the Queen’s favourite flowers picked from the garden of Balmoral.

Sky News understands these include phlox, dahlias, sweet pea, limonium, white heather, and pine fur.

Nicola Sturgeon, the country’s first minister, said the “poignant” journey would give people in Scotland the chance to come together to “mark our country’s shared loss”.

Today’s road journey will:

• Move through Porthleven, Stonehaven before heading inland
• Head through the Angus countryside and past Brechin
• Arrive in Dundee at around 2.15pm, where it will go around the city on the Kingsway
• Head towards Perth, across the Friarton Bridge and down the M90
• Go over the Queensferry Crossing towards Edinburgh
• Enter Edinburgh from the west, skirting by Edinburgh Castle
• Travel down the full length of the Royal Mile to the Palace of Holyroodhouse by about 4pm

Meanwhile, proclamation ceremonies for King Charles III have been taking place in Edinburgh, as well as at Cardiff Castle and Hillsborough Castle.

Giving his first proclamation at Mercat Cross in Edinburgh, The Lord Lyon King of Arms told the crowd: “God save the King.”

The crowd shouted back in celebration: “God save the King.” The proclamation was followed by a 21-gun salute from the city’s castle moments later.

An Accession Proclamation Ceremony at Mercat Cross, Edinburgh, publicly proclaiming King Charles III as the new monarch. Picture date: Sunday September 11, 2022.
Proclamation ceremonies for King Charles III have been taking place, including in Edinburgh

At Cardiff Castle, thousands of people gathered to hear Charles be proclaimed King in Wales, while guests at the Hillsborough event joined together and said three cheers for him.

An “unprecedented” amount of preparation has gone into planning the coffin route, planning bosses said.

Ms Sturgeon and other party leaders in Scotland are expected to observe the coffin as it makes its way past the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

After arriving at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, it will rest in the throne room until Monday afternoon, when it will be moved to St Giles’ Cathedral.

There it will lie for 24 hours so the public can pay their respects.

More on the Queen:
What happens between now and the Queen’s funeral?
How the Queen adapted to Scotland’s shifting politics
The secrets behind some of the Queen’s most famous photos

Public viewing of the coffin begins at 5pm on Monday but people have been warned of long waits, and photography and recording is strictly prohibited.

Princess Anne will fly to London with her mother’s body on Tuesday.

The events in Scotland are the first meticulously planned steps leading to the funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday 19 September – a day that will be a bank holiday.


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