Week of public mourning for Queen Elizabeth II begins in Edinburgh


The United Kingdom and the world will begin a week of public mourning for Queen Elizabeth II with a service of prayer and reflection in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the 96-year-old monarch’s coffin arrived Sunday.

St. Giles Cathedral will host a Monday afternoon service attended by King Charles III, Camilla, the queen consort, and Princess Anne, princes Andrews and Edward, and other family members and dignitaries.

Elizabeth died Thursday at Balmoral Castle after more than 70 years on the British throne, two days after appointing Conservative leader Liz Truss as the 15th prime minister of her reign.

Earlier Monday, the king and the queen consort will receive the condolences of both Houses of Parliament in a session at Westminster Hall in London. Charles will “make his reply,” Buckingham Palace said, and then travel to Edinburgh by air for the service.

The queen’s coffin, which arrived in the Scottish capital on Sunday afternoon on the first leg of its journey to London and a Sept. 19 funeral, will lie at rest at the cathedral where the public can pay their respects beginning in the late afternoon and concluding Tuesday. The coffin will then be flown to London where it will lie in state at Westminster Hall before moving to Westminster Abbey for the state funeral.

Elizabeth will be interred in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, alongside her parents, sister Princess Margaret, and her late husband Prince Philip, who died 17 months before her, aged 99. 

Charles has declared a “bank holiday” on the day, meaning most businesses will close and many will have a day off to view the service.

Princess Anne, the late monarch’s only daughter, curtseyed as the coffin arrived Sunday at Holyroodhouse, the official palace when the monarch is in Scotland. Princes Andrew and Edward also viewed its arrival, the Associated Press reported.

Earlier Sunday, Anne, the princess royal, and her husband Sir Tim Laurence, accompanied the coffin on a six-hour procession from Balmoral Castle, where Elizabeth died on Thursday afternoon. 

The late queen was on her annual summer holiday at the residence, long a favorite of hers.

Silence fell on the Edinburgh strand known as the Royal Mile, where people stood 10 deep in some places, as the cortege passed. It had earlier traveled through towns, rural roads and over bridges past crowds of mourners.

Not all were saddened by the loss: a woman holding a sign “F*** Imperialism! Abolish Monarchy” was escorted away by police at a ceremony in the city where Charles was formally proclaimed king by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, Scotland’s chief herald. 

The protestor, part of a group that also jeered at the announcement, was booed as she left the area.

“There’s tens of thousands of people here today to show their respect. For them to be here, heckling through things, I think it was terrible. If they were so against it, they shouldn’t have come,” spectator Ann Hamilton told the Associated Press.

Beyond Scotland, ceremonies proclaiming Charles as king—a formality as he acceded when his mother passed away—were also held in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Cardiff, Wales. 

The king and his wife will visit Northern Ireland on Tuesday to view an exhibit tracing Elizabeth’s association with the province, and attend a prayer service before returning to London.

On Friday, Charles will attend memorial services in Wales, the province where he was installed as Prince of Wales in 1969 on July 1, four months before his twenty-first birthday.

Envoys meet the new king

As his mother’s casket journeyed to Edinburgh, Charles met with the secretary-general of the Commonwealth of Nations, the association of former British colonies, and later held a reception for ambassadors from those nations.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who had started laying the groundwork for an Australian republic after an election in May, said Sunday that now was the time not for a change but for paying tribute to the late queen, the Associated Press reported.

India, a former British colony, observed a day of state mourning, with flags lowered to half-staff on all government buildings.

One of the U.K.’s tiniest and most remote outposts — Pitcairn Island, a volcanic outcropping in the middle of the Pacific Ocean — marked the new monarch’s accession with a ceremony Sunday. Islanders, many of whom are descended from mutineers of the H.M.S. Bounty in 1789, also tolled a bell 96 times on Friday, one strike for each year of Elizabeth’s life, the Pitcairn Island Study Center in Angwin, Calif., reported.

On Saturday, Charles was formally designated king by the Accession Council, comprised chiefly of members of the Privy Council, the monarch’s inner advisory circle.

“I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty, which have now passed to me,” Charles told the assemblage. “I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional government and to seek the peace, harmony, and prosperity of the peoples of these islands,” he added.

Following the council meeting, Charles and Camilla greeted an emotional throng of spectators outside Buckingham Palace and viewed a virtual carpet of floral tributes to the queen by its gates. One woman kissed his hand after it was extended to her; another asked to embrace him, and was granted her request.

At Windsor Castle outside of London, Charles’ sons, Prince William — heir apparent and now prince of Wales — and Prince Harry, who left active royal family service in 2020 and moved to America, were joined by their wives in a “walkabout” where they viewed flowers placed to honor the queen and greet well-wishers. 

Catherine, William’s wife and now the princess of Wales, comforted one child overcome by the events, media reports indicated.

William, via Twitter, said he was “extraordinarily grateful” for having had his grandmother’s “wisdom and reassurance into my fifth decade.”

He added, “She was by my side at my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life,” a reference to the period almost 25 years ago to the day when his mother Diana, the last princess of Wales, died in a Paris car crash.

He added, “I thank her on behalf of my generation for providing an example of service and dignity in public life that was from a different age, but always relevant to us all. My grandmother famously said that grief was the price we pay for love.”

The reunion of the brothers and their spouses — a quartet dubbed “The Fab Four” by London tabloids following Harry’s 2018 wedding to U.S.-born actress Meghan Markle — sparked hopes for greater reconciliation between the princes. But Charles, in his Friday speech to the nation, seemed to sidestep any sort of olive branch, saying only, “I express my love to [Prince] Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.”

Media reports indicate Harry and Meghan will remain in Britain until the funeral and that Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother, would bring the couple’s children, Archie 3, and Lilibet 1, to London for the service.


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