Thousands of mourners gathered in the streets of Scotland as Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin began an eight-day journey to her final resting place.
On Sept. 11, the hearse carrying the queen’s coffin left Balmoral castle in rural Scotland, the 96-year-old monarch’s favourite residence, where she died on Sept. 8.
Shortly after 4 p.m., the cortege arrived in Edinburgh, where the coffin will stay for two days before being flown to London ahead of the state funeral, which is scheduled for Sept. 19.
Thousands lined the streets as the hearse passed through Aberdeen and Dundee and arrived in Edinburgh. When the royal convoy travelled down the Royal Mile near the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the crowd fell silent in respect before a round of applause and cheers broke out moments later.
The oak coffin was draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland. A wreath placed on top was made up of flowers from the Balmoral estate, including sweet peas—one of the Queen’s favourites—dahlias, phlox, white heather, and pine fir.
The queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, and her husband Sir Tim Laurence were accompanying the coffin.
The queen’s two younger sons, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, received the coffin at the Palace of Holyroodhouse along with Edward’s wife Sophie, Countess of Wessex.
The coffin will stay overnight in the Throne Room of the palace, which is the official royal residence in Edinburgh.
King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort, who will visit Scotland on Sept. 12 as part of the king’s first trip around all four nations of the United Kingdom as sovereign, will accompany the queen’s coffin in the afternoon in a procession to St Giles’ Cathedral, where royal family members will attend a service.
The coffin will lie at rest at the cathedral where Scottish people can pay their respects.
On Sept. 13, it will be flown by Royal Air Force (RAF) aircraft to London’s RAF Northolt, conveyed to Buckingham Palace by road, and placed in the Bow Room overnight.
The journey is part of Operation Unicorn, a pre-existing contingency plan drawn up in case the queen had died in Scotland.
The plan, which was named after Scotland’s national animal, runs in parallel with Operation London Bridge, the main funeral plan for the queen.
On Sept. 14, The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will carry the queen’s coffin on a gun carriage in a procession to Westminster Hall, where the coffin will stay until the state funeral.
The late monarch will lie in state after a short service on the night of Sept. 14 until the morning of the funeral. Members of the public are invited to pay their respects to the queen during that time.
After the state funeral, the queen’s coffin will travel to her final resting place at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, where her parents, sister, and husband are buried.