Before London, Britons flock to Edinburgh to bid farewell to the Queen

Before London, Britons flock to Edinburgh to bid farewell to the Queen

Britons pay their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth, in Edinburgh, UK on September 12, 2022 (AFP / Louisa Gouliamaki)

Tens of thousands of Britons gathered on Tuesday to pray in front of Elizabeth II’s coffin in Edinburgh before it was moved to London, where the hugely popular monarch, who lived a record long life in the country’s history, will be given a grand farewell. .

For hours, thousands of anonymous people gathered in front of the oak coffin that rested in the Scottish capital’s cathedral, bowing, bowing, signing autographs or wiping away tears.

Placed on a platform and covered with the yellow, red and navy blue standard of Scotland, a wreath of white flowers and the solid gold crown of Scotland placed on top, the coffin was accessible throughout the night, guarded by four royal archers. It is protected by a wide cordon around it, which keeps the public several meters away.

The public presentation was not interrupted when King Charles III and his three brothers, Prince Andrew, Edward and Princess Anne, came to watch a wake with Queen Camilla in the evening.

The four children of Elizabeth II stood in the coffin for ten minutes before leaving the cathedral to the applause of the crowd.

During this brief moment of royal meditation, the flow of visitors, in perfect silence, did not stop.

– Royal and Anonymous Tribute –

Britons and foreigners who flocked to pay their respects in person to the Queen had to wait for hours to receive sticker bracelets allowing them to enter the cathedral.

A man plays the bagpipes during the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in Edinburgh on September 12, 2022 (AFP/Louisa Gouliamaki)

A man plays the bagpipes during the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in Edinburgh on September 12, 2022 (AFP/Louisa Gouliamaki)

The body of Elizabeth II, who reigned for 70 years, was kept away from the public until Monday evening: first at Balmoral Castle in the north of Scotland, where the monarch died on Thursday. Aged 96, then at the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse.

A popular figure, a rock of stability in storms, sometimes political, social or health (during Covid-19), the Queen has been an image of reassurance for millions of Britons throughout her decades on the throne.

“She was everything to us. She was our queen, that’s what royalty is all about. That sense of security that the queen has always given us,” said Marina Reid, 54, when interviewed by AFP in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

“She’s everything I’ve ever known and everything the country has ever known. We all feel like we know her personally,” said Joanne Booth, a 36-year-old orthodontist from Ireland.

Timeline of key developments leading up to Elizabeth II's funeral (AFP / )

Timeline of key developments leading up to Elizabeth II’s funeral (AFP / )

Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla are in Belfast on Tuesday to meet politicians and offer condolences amid renewed community tensions after Brexit in a province with a bloody past.

On Monday, he began a four-nation tour of the United Kingdom, first with the British Parliament in London, then to Edinburgh before Cardiff in Wales.

Before London’s House of Lords and House of Commons, he spoke of his mother on Monday, using Shakespeare’s words that “she is a pattern to all living princes,” which he said he was “faithfully determined to follow.”

The new King Charles III (front), Princess Anne (L), Prince Andrew (C) and Prince Edward (R) at St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh on September 12, 2022 (POOL / Jane Barlow)

The new King Charles III (front), Princess Anne (L), Prince Andrew (C) and Prince Edward (R) at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh on September 12, 2022 (POOL / Jane Barlow)

The 73-year-old new king, the oldest of all British sovereigns when they ascend the throne, is settling into his new role at a critical moment: a country in the grip of a serious social and political crisis has a new prime minister. Just a few days after becoming a minister.

Her mother has always been impeccably neutral and insisted on not speaking publicly about her opinions.

The King would have to face claims in his 14 other countries (notably including Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, New Zealand or Jamaica) who could claim a new regime driven by republican aspirations in favor of this change. Sovereignty.

– Last stop before London –

Meanwhile, Elizabeth II embarked on her final journey on Sunday.

And so the Queen’s body reached the third leg of its journey: after leaving Balmoral, the castle Elizabeth II loved and where she died, she spent the night at Holyroodhouse, the official residence of Scotland’s ruler. Joined St Giles Cathedral.

On Tuesday afternoon, the coffin will leave the cathedral for Edinburgh Airport, where it will be escorted by Princess Anne to board a royal plane to London.

On arrival he will be received by King Charles and other members of the royal family.

He will spend the night in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace.

The new King Charles III in Edinburgh, September 12, 2022 (POOL / Andrew Milligan)

The new King Charles III in Edinburgh, September 12, 2022 (POOL / Andrew Milligan)

Then the second part of the presentation to the public will begin, this time in London, where hundreds of thousands of people will watch the parade 24 hours a day for less than five days.

An AFP journalist noted that the first was settled on Monday at the head of a line that could reach eight kilometers, two days before it opened to the public.

Around 500 foreign dignitaries and several crown princes will attend the Queen’s funeral on Monday.

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