King Charles III today promised to follow the ‘shining example’ of his late mother as he and his wife were met with raucous applause after arriving in Northern Ireland on the latest leg of his tour of the United Kingdom.
In a powerful speech praising Queen Elizabeth II’s ‘long life of public service’, Charles remarked on the ‘momentous and historic’ changes she witnessed in the province throughout her illustrious life.
During his speech to assembled guests in the official royal household, the new sovereign pledged to uphold his late mother’s ‘steadfast faith’ and ‘seek the welfare of all the inhabitants of Northern Ireland’.
Earlier in the day the new monarch and Queen Consort, clad in black, shook the hands of official dignitaries before departing for the historic village of Hillsborough, where they greeted mourners outside the royal residence.
Among the adoring royal fans were Ella Smith and Lucas Watt, both 10, of Forge Integrated Primary School in Belfast, who presented the King with a gift of truffles with an image of the Giant’s Causeway on the tin, while Camilla was given a small posy of flowers taken from the gardens of Hillsborough Castle.
The royals were met with huge roars of approval as they exited their blacked-out BMW and started their walkabout, grabbing onto outstretched hands, accepting flowers and speaking with those who turned out to greet them.
A local corgi was also seen snuggling up to Charles as he shook hands with well-wishers, before he received a 21-gun salute as they entered the historic residence’s grounds.
Chants of ‘God Save the King’ and rounds of applause could be heard from the crowd as the new sovereign and Queen Consort paused by the historic gates to inspect a sea of floral tributes left in memory of Queen Elizabeth II.
The jet carrying His Majesty touched down at the George Best Belfast City Airport shortly before midday for his 40th visit to the province – but his first as King, and his saddest.
It is the latest in Charles’ tour of the UK, after the new King spent last night in the Scottish capital where he and his three siblings held a silent vigil for their mother the Queen by forming a guard of honour around her coffin.
Swathes of people young and old were pictured waiting outside Hillsborough Castle on Tuesday morning, some waving flags bearing the Union Jack and others holding colourful homemade signs aloft as they prepared for the arrival of the King.
Former boxing world champion Carl Frampton was among those waiting for the new monarch’s arrival at the official royal residence as he joined huge crowds who had gathered to revel in the historic moment.
The former featherweight champion, proudly wearing his MBE award from 2016, said: ‘I am delighted to be here today, it is a momentous occasion.
‘Boris Johnson said it felt like the Queen would always be there and now, we are getting ready to meet and see a new king. You can see how momentous it is by the number of people who have turned up here today.’
Wellwishers, including children clasping onto bouquets of flowers, lined the streets outside Hillsborough Castle, standing five-deep behind large metal barriers as they prepare for the new King’s first address in Northern Ireland.
Representatives of Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party, who represent both sides of Northern Ireland’s entrenched political divide, will temporarily bury the hatchets as they usher in the reign of the new King at Hillsborough Castle later today.
Tourists from New Jersey in America were also among the enormous crowds which were swelling along the roads of the royal village.
Students Blaze Grabowski, Alina Stalker and Chloe Alce, who are all studying at Queen’s University in Belfast, said they were waiting to catch a glimpse of the new monarch and said it was ‘wonderful to see all the tradition’.
Other locals were up at first light erecting posters commemorating the visit of the King to the royal village. Robin Campbell, of County Down, was among them as he admitted the historic event was a bittersweet moment for him.
‘Today means so much to me and my family, just to be present in my home village with my children to witness the arrival of the new King is a truly historic moment for us all.
‘Although it is also a day tinged with great sadness as we witness a loving son coming to our village while we are all in mourning for the loss of a truly magnificent Queen and his loving mother.
‘The enormity of today hasn’t really sunk in yet. Just to see the royal village of Hillsborough thronged with well-wishers is truly magnificent. The royal family has a special place in the hearts of all within our communities.’
King Charles, who is on his Operation Spring Tide tour around the UK, and Camilla travelled to Hillsborough Castle in Co Down, the royal residence in Northern Ireland, for several engagements today
The royals were met with huge roars of approval as they exited their blacked-out BMW and started their walkabout, grabbing onto outstretched hands, accepting flowers and speaking with those who turned out to greet them
King Charles III waves to the crowd as he inspects the sea of flower tributes at Hillsborough Castle and prepares to give a brief speech to assembled guests, including representatives from all sides of the political spectrum
King Charles III meets Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker Alex Maskey and Sinn Fein’s vice president Michelle O’Neill
The royal couple went on a walkabout when they first arrived at the castle, shaking hands with some of the hundreds of flag-waving people who had waited hours to catch a glimpse of the new King
Two girls pose with the ceremonial guards as they await the arrival of King Charles III and Queen Consort in Hillsborough
Well-wishers cheered when they first caught sight of the couple and the King and his wife received a 21-gun salute as they entered the grounds
Shouts of ‘God save the King’ were heard and at one moment and a corgi in the crowd (pictured above) snuggled up to Charles when its owner held it up during the walkabout by the royal couple
The sovereign greets UUP leader Doug Beattie at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down
King Charles III speaks as he holds a meeting with representatives of all major political parties in Northern Ireland
King Charles smiles as he holds onto the hand of a member of the public during his walkabout in Hillsborough Castle
There were many school children behind the barriers and one group handed over letters they had written to the King decorated on the reverse with a colourful image of the Union flag they had drawn
King Charles III and Queen Consort prepare to enter the royal residence of Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland
King Charles III greets schoolchildren and even a local corgi that was brought out for the historic occasion
King Charles warmly embraces members of public at Hillsborough Castle in the royal village in Northern Ireland, following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth II
The local corgi was also seen snuggling up to Charles as he shook hands with well-wishers, before he received a 21-gun salute as they entered the historic residence’s grounds
Queen Consort Camilla leans over to look more closely at the sea of flowers left outside the gilded gates of Hillsborough Castle to honour Queen Elizabeth II
King Charles III and the Queen Consort look at floral tributes as they arrive at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down on Tuesday
King Charles and the Queen Consort were met with cheering supporters furiously waving their flags as their royal motorcade arrived at Hillsborough Castle
Cheers broke out from the crowd of thousands of people in Hillsborough as the King’s cavalcade of vehicles arrived in the Co Down village
King Charles III leans in as he speaks to a woman and shakes the hand of a well-wisher in the royal village of Hillsborough today
The new sovereign painstakingly examined tributes to his late mother Queen Elizabeth II and accepted flowers from mourners
Many of those standing in the crowd waited hours to meet the new monarch and his wife as they undertook their first official engagement in Northern Ireland as King and Queen Consort
A solemn-looking King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla are pictured outside Hillsborough Castle on their second stop of their tour of the United Kingdom
The senior royals, clad in black as is tradition during a period of royal mourning, met with mourners, members of the public and official dignitaries on Tuesday
Charles and Camilla were met with cheering supporters furiously waving their flags as their royal motorcade arrived at Hillsborough Castle
The King and Queen Consort wave to the huge crowds that had amassed outside Hillsborough Castle before heading inside
King Charles III holds an audience with Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris at Hillsborough Castle
King Charles III shaking hands with Alliance Party Leader Naomi Long as Sinn Fein Vice President Michelle O’Neill, DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson and UUP leader Doug Beattie look on at Hillsborough Castle, Co Down on Tuesday
King Charles III shakes the hands of excited members of the public as he accepts gifts including drawings and flowers
Large crowds gather in Hillsborough as they strain to catch a glimpse of King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla during their historic visit to Northern Ireland today
Swathes of people young and old were pictured waiting outside Hillsborough Castle on Tuesday morning, some waving flags bearing the Union Jack and others holding colourful homemade signs aloft as they awaited the arrival of the King and Queen Consort
The new King and Queen Consort inspect the sea of floral tributes laid outside Hillsborough Castle in memory of Queen Elizabeth II
Rows of flowers were laid outside Hillsborough Castle, as has become tradition outside all the royal residences since the passing of Queen Elizabeth II last week
Hundreds of bouquets of flowers were left to pile up outside the gates to Hillsborough Castle
King Charles III is pictured locked in conversation with young wellwishers in Northern Ireland as he speaks to crowds who waited hours to see him at Hillsborough Castle
Chants of ‘God Save the King’ could be heard from the crowd as Charles and the Queen Consort paused by the historic gates to inspect a sea of floral tributes left in memory of Queen Elizabeth II
King Charles III greets the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, Dame Fionnuala Mary Jay-O’Boyle after he landed in Northern Ireland
The Queen Consort was handed a bouquet of flowers by Ella Smith and Lucas Watt, both 10, (pictured on Tuesday) of Forge Integrated Primary School after the royal jet landed in Belfast City Airport
The King asked two children ‘are you enjoying your day off school?’ as they presented him and the Queen Consort with chocolates and flowers upon their arrival in Belfast.
The new monarch and Queen Consort shook the hands of official dignitaries waiting at Belfast City Airport before heading to the royal village of Hillsborough to greet wellwishers and mourners
King Charles met the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast Fionnuala Jay-O’Boyle and Belfast City Airport chief executive Matthew Hall as the royal couple left their plane shortly after noon
Today marks the latest in the monarch’s tour of the UK, after the new King spent last night in the Scottish capital where he and his three siblings held a silent vigil for their mother the Queen by forming a guard of honour around her coffin
Pictured: The jet carrying King Charles III arrives at Belfast City Airport in Northern Ireland at midday as he prepares for the latest leg of his tour of the United Kingdom
King Charles III and the Queen Consort arrive at Belfast City Airport today as the King continues his tour of the home nations
The King and Queen Consort then departed by car as they head to meet well-wishers and hold an audience with MLAs and officials at Hillsborough Castle this afternoon
The plane carrying King Charles III flies over Belfast’s iconic Samson and Goliath Harland and Wolff cranes on Tuesday
Queen Consort Camilla waves to the huge crowds that lined the streets in Hillsborough
Swathes of people young and old were pictured waiting outside Hillsborough Castle on Tuesday morning, some waving flags baring the Union Jack and others holding colourful homemade signs aloft as they prepared for the arrival of the new King
Huge crowds have descended on the royal village as they await the arrival of King Charles III to Hillsborough on Tuesday
Members of the public waving Union Jack flags wait behind large metal gates as the new monarch landed in Belfast
An elderly well-wisher wearing a Union Jack hat and waving flags bearing the face of Queen Elizabeth II awaits the arrival of King Charles III in Royal Hillsborough, Northern Ireland
Wellwishers lined the streets outside Hillsborough Castle, standing five-deep behind large metal barriers as they prepare for the new King’s first address in Northern Ireland
A crowd of young wellwishers wave Union Jack flags as they prepare for the momentous occasion
Former boxing world champion Carl Frampton (pictured above proudly wearing his MBE award from 2016) was among those waiting for the new monarch’s arrival at the official royal residence as he joined huge crowds at Hillsborough Castle who had gathered to revel in the historic moment
Robin Campbell and his young family, of County Down, observe the floral tributes to Queen Elizabeth II left at the foot of the gates of Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland
Members of the public in the royal village of Hillsborough, Northern Ireland, as they excitedly await the arrival of King Charles III
Pictured: A sea of floral tributes are pictured outside Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland as mourners paid their respects to the late Queen Elizabeth II
Members of the Hillsborough Court Guard wait for King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort to arrive at Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland
King Charles III waves as he leaves Scotland and jets to Belfast for the next stage of his UK tour
The King boarded a private jet for the one hour journey to Belfast to meet political leaders in the province
The monarch leaves for Edinburgh Airport with Queen Consort Camilla in the as he heads to Northern Ireland this morning
A member of the public wipes away a tear this morning as she lays flowers for Queen Elizabeth II at Green Park in London
(From left) Vanessa Nathakumaran, 56, from Harrow; Anne, 65, from Cardiff; and Grace Gothard, from Mitcham; wait opposite the Palace of Westminster today to be first in line to attend Queen Elizabeth II’s lying in state which begins tomorrow
King Charles III and the Queen Consort leave the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood yesterday evening. Today they fly to Northern Ireland
Members and staff of the Northern Ireland Assembly stand during a minute silence in remembrance to Queen Elizabeth II in Parliament Buildings at Stormont in Belfast
King Charles III, Anne, the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward each stood on one of the four corners of the coffin in a ceremony known as the Vigil of the Princes
Charles will attend a service at Saint Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, this afternoon
The King’s speech at Hillsborough Castle in full
‘My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen,
‘On behalf of all my family, I can only offer the most heartfelt thanks for your condolences.
‘I am here today at a time of great personal sorrow as we mark the death of my beloved mother, after a life most faithfully dedicated to the duty to which she had been called.
‘It is fitting that we should meet at Hillsborough, which my mother knew so well, and in whose beautiful rose garden she always took such pleasure.
‘In the years since she began her long life of public service, my mother saw Northern Ireland pass through momentous and historic changes.
‘Through all those years, she never ceased to pray for the best of times for this place and for its people, whose stories she knew, whose sorrows our family had felt, and for whom she had a great affection and regard.
‘My mother felt deeply, I know, the significance of the role she herself played in bringing together those whom history had separated, and in extending a hand to make possible the healing of long-held hurts.
At the very beginning of her life of service, The Queen made a pledge to dedicate herself to her country and her people and to maintain the principles of constitutional government.
‘This promise she kept with steadfast faith. Now, with that shining example before me, and with God’s help, I take up my new duties resolved to seek the welfare of all the inhabitants of Northern Ireland.
‘During the years of my mother’s reign, it has been a privilege to bear witness to such a devoted life. May it be granted to us all to fulfil the tasks before us so well.’
Excitement was quickly spreading throughout those amassed at Hillsborough on Tuesday afternoon as families took their children out of school and brought pet dogs, including a corgi named Connie, for the historic visit.
Suzi Pickering was among those in the crowd to speak to the King and Queen Consort in Hillsborough. Ms Pickering, from the 1st Hillsborough Brownies, attended the event with a number of other associated groups, including the Guides and the Rangers.
‘It’s all very exciting. King Charles shook all of the girls’ hands and the Queen Consort as well,’ she said.
‘He asked the girls if they had escaped from a very important school lesson to be here. They were all very excited. A lot of giggling and ‘yeses’ going on. The Queen Consort Camilla asked which guiding association they were from as well.
‘They took a lot of interest in us, particularly Camilla as she was interested in who they were and where they were from.
‘They all got to shake their hands, which is so exciting for them.
‘It is a huge honour to be part of history. The last few days is all about history and something they will remember as well.
‘They are such lovely people and seem so genuine and want to be amongst everyone and means a lot to them that everyone is so supportive of them.’
Michael Poots, principal of Downshire Primary School in Hillsborough, said the visit of the King and Queen Consort to the Co Down village will make it a ‘wonderful day’, with a number of students from the school expected to meet King Charles and the Queen Consort.
‘It is great that as a school we can be part of it. We are so close to (Hillsborough) Castle and the children are greatly looking forward to it,’ Mr Poots said.
‘You can hear the excitement. They are looking forward to meeting the King and of course the Queen Consort today. We are all going into the village and hopefully we will get a glimpse of them.
‘Forty children (from the school) have been very fortunate to be picked to go into the castle and meet the new King and Queen.
‘The rest of the children will on the roadside waving and cheering as they go past.
‘We feel as a village very honoured that they have chosen to come here, especially in these very sad times, especially for the King. It means a lot to us all and the close links that we have with the Royal family in the village.’
Others started gathering outside St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast ahead of the King’s visit in the afternoon. Charles is due to meet members of the public at Writers’ Square outside the cathedral after attending a service of reflection inside.
Mother-of-two Andrea Reid, from Hillsborough, attended the castle with a group of Girl Guides from the village.
She said: ‘The royal family hold a special place in hearts of the people of Hillsborough, we have welcomed many royal visitors over the years and we are very proud today to welcome our new King Charles.
‘As a group and as an individual it is such an honour to be invited up on such a historic moment in time.
‘We celebrated the Queen’s jubilee only a few weeks ago and now we look forwards to welcoming the new King to our village.
‘We have great sadness for the loss of our beloved Queen and feel that loss greatly, however today is an exciting day for us that we very much look forwards to our future under the new King.’
Leaving her beloved Scotland… for the last time: How Queen’s casket will return to London today to lie in state
Her Majesty’s coffin will remain at the cathedral until 5pm following a poignant vigil involving her four children last night.
She will then be taken by hearse through a guard of honour formed by the Royal Company of Archers giving a royal salute to begin to Edinburgh Airport.
Upon arrival, the Queen will be received by the Royal Regiment of Scotland with a royal salute. A bearer party from the Royal Air Force will then be on hand to carry the coffin onto the aircraft.
Princess Anne, who travelled in the cortege from the Queen’s beloved Balmoral to Edinburgh on Sunday, will again accompany her mother on the flight to London.
She will be joined by the Very Reverend Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland.
The RAF plane is scheduled to depart from the runway in Edinburgh at 6pm, before touching down at RAF Northolt in west London at 6.55pm.
The bearer party will carry the Queen’s coffin from the aircraft to the waiting state hearse to begin the journey by road along the A40 towards Buckingham Palace.
Upon arrival at the palace, where thousands of well-wishers are expected to again line the streets, a further guard of honour will be formed by the King’s Guard as the coffin arrives at the Grand Entrance.
A bearer party from the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, will carry the coffin to the Bow Room, where it will be placed on trestles witnessed by King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla.
A rota of Chaplains to the King, formerly appointed by Queen Elizabeth, will keep watch over her coffin while it rests in the Bow Room.
The King and other royals may mourn within the room, before the coffin is expected to be moved to the Throne Room – where devoted palace staff can pay their respects.
The Queen will remain at Buckingham Palace overnight and through the morning of Wednesday, before the coffin will be borne by gun carriage of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery to the Palace of Westminster.
The route will take the coffin through the Queen’s Gardens, The Mall, Horse Guards and Horse Guards Arch, Whitehall, Parliament Street, Parliament Square and New Palace Yard.
The King and other senior members of the Royal Family will follow the coffin on foot. They will also be followed by senior staff of both the Queen’s and the King’s Households, and then close personal staff.
The procession will walk in silence, without music.
Meanwhile, guards of honour from all three services will be positioned along the route.
The King’s Life Guard will give a royal salute as the coffin passes through Horse Guards Arch.
Throughout the procession, minute guns will be fired at Hyde Park by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and Big Ben will toll.
At 3pm, the coffin is expected to arrive at the North Door of Westminster Hall, before it will be carried to the catafalque inside by the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards bearer company.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will conduct a short service, before Westminster Hall will be opened to the public to begin the start of four-and-a-half days of the Queen lying in state.
A round-the-clock vigil will be mounted around the catafalque by officers of the Household Division, the King’s Body Guards of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, the King’s Body Guard for Scotland, the Royal Company of Archers and The King’s Body Guard the Yeomen of the Guard.
This evening the Queen will leave her beloved Scotland for the last time and her coffin will be flown to London and taken to Buckingham Palace before lying in state at Westminster Hall from Wednesday.
Today the King will meet Stormont’s political leaders. Sinn Fein will attend after the party said it would not take part in any of the Accession Proclamation ceremonies held after the Queen’s death on Thursday.
Michelle O’Neill will be joined by other senior party officials at the Motion of Condolence event to be held in Hillsborough on Tuesday followed by a Service of Reflection in St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.
Charles and Camilla will arrive at Belfast City Airport where they will be greeted by the Lord Lieutenant of Belfast, Dame Fionnuala Mary Jay-O’Boyle, and Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris.
They will then travel to Hillsborough Castle in Co Down, the royal residence in Northern Ireland, for several engagements. There they will hold a private audience with Mr Heaton-Harris as well as meeting with representatives of political parties in the region. Charles will fly back to London this evening.
The royal couple will then receive a message of condolence from the speaker of the Stormont Assembly Alex Maskey on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland.
They will then attend a reception at the castle, hosted by Mr Heaton-Harris, which some members of the public will also attend.
Charles and Camilla will then travel to St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast where they will attend a service of reflection for the life of the Queen.
They will then undertake a walkabout at Writers’ Square before leaving Northern Ireland.
Members of the public are being advised they are welcome to line the route in Hillsborough but need to be in place by 11am.
There is no parking for non-residents in the village and transport will be laid on from a park and ride facility at the Eikon Centre on the Halftown Road.
People travelling to the castle will have to undergo a security search and they are being asked not to carry large bags.
When Charles and Camilla leave the castle they will travel along Main St and Lisburn Street in Hillsborough before heading to Belfast where they will travel along Wellington Place, Donegall Square North, Chichester Street and Victoria Street.
Again, the public is being invited to line the route as the royal couple travel towards St Anne’s Cathedral.
Donegall Street and Writer’s Square will be closed to the public.
The Queen’s coffin will make a poignant journey to Buckingham Palace on Tuesday while the King will travel to Northern Ireland for the first time as monarch.
Thousands of members of the public moved solemnly past the oak coffin through the night as it stood on public view for 24 hours at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.
Members of the public are already queueing for the Queen’s lying in state at Westminster Hall, which opens on Wednesday, and thousands are still placing floral tributes in Green Park.
At 6pm, the Queen will depart Scotland for the last time. Her coffin will be flown from Edinburgh Airport to London on an RAF Globemaster C-17 flight, accompanied by her daughter the Princess Royal.
The King will be joined by Camilla as he receives his mother’s coffin at Buckingham Palace, where she spent so many of her decades as sovereign.
The Prince and Princess of Wales will also be at the Palace.
A guard of honour formed of three officers and 96 soldiers from The King’s Guard will be mounted in the Quadrangle.
Military commands, usually shouted, will be given as quietly as possible in honour of the solemn occasion.
Details of how public can attend lying-in-state are revealed amid forecast for huge queues
Details have been published on how the public can attend the Queen’s lying-in-state, with people warned to expect long queues and be prepared to stand for many hours through the night.
Those wishing to pay their respects to the late monarch’s coffin in London’s Westminster Hall will be able to file solemnly past 24 hours a day from 5pm on Wednesday until 6.30am on the day of the funeral – next Monday, September 19.
But the Government has stressed that the queue will continuously move – with little chance to rest or sit down – and the very long line of those waiting is expected to stretch through central London.
It also set out guidelines on how people should behave and what they should wear, saying they should remain silent inside the Palace of Westminster.
It urged people to ‘dress appropriately for the occasion to pay your respects’, banning clothes ‘with political or offensive slogans’.
‘Please respect the dignity of this event and behave appropriately. You should remain silent while inside the Palace of Westminster,’ it added.
Queue-jumpers and anyone drunk will be booted out of the queue by stewards and police patrolling the lines.
Visitors will also face airport-style security checks, with tight restrictions on what can be taken in.
Flowers, tributes, candles, flags, photos, hampers, sleeping bags, blankets, folding chairs and camping equipment are all banned, with only one small bag with a simple opening or zip permitted per person.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flock to the capital for the once-in-a-lifetime proceedings.
The Queen’s closed coffin will rest on a raised platform, called a catafalque, in the ancient Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster, draped in the Royal Standard with the Orb and Sceptre placed on top.
Delays to public transport and road closures around the area are expected and people are being urged to check ahead and plan accordingly.
The coffin will be carried by a bearer party to the Bow Room where a sovereign’s piper will play a lament.
It will remain in the Bow Room overnight before a procession on Wednesday to Westminster Hall for the start of the lying in state.
The Queen’s four children gathered around her coffin last night in a poignant evening vigil inside St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.
After a short procession, King Charles III, Anne, the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward each stood on one of the four corners of the oak coffin with their heads bowed in a ceremony known as the Vigil of the Princes.
The Duke of York kept his eyes closed for a period of time during the 10-minute vigil, while the Princess Royal and Earl of Wessex had their eyes fixed towards the floor. The King – his eyes moistening – kept his hands joined and also looked towards the floor as members of the public filed past.
The King and his family stood alongside four suited members of the Royal Company of Archers, who were standing guard dressed in long-feathered hats and armed with arrows and quivers.
Members of the public – who have been filing past the coffin in their thousands throughout the afternoon – were briefly held back to allow the royals to take their place. However, they continued to file past once the vigil began, offering them an extraordinary perspective on the historic moment.
A number of members of the public bowed as they passed the King, with others walking solemnly by with heads down. Charles wore the Prince Charles Edward Stuart tartan and white heather in his lappelle from Balmoral, while Anne and Edward appeared in military uniform.
However, Andrew – despite having served in the Falklands War – wore only a morning suit, having been banned from wearing uniform on public occasions following his exile from public life amid the fallout from his role in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. The Duke of York will only be permitted to appear in military dress during a second Vigil of the Princes in Westminster Hall.
The tradition has been honoured since the death of King George V in 1936, with Princess Anne today becoming the first female royal to take part.
The Queen Consort and Countess of Wessex sat on seats opposite the coffin while the vigil, which began at at 7.46pm and finished it at 7.56pm, took place in the ancient cathedral. The Archers have been completing 20-minute periods of standing guard at the coffin, which will remain at St Giles’ for 24 hours before it is taken to London to lie in state.
Members of the crowd cheered as Charles arrived at the cathedral, and as he departed. As he drove past them, they took pictures and video and said: ‘Here he is. Here he is. It’s the King.’
Charles waved at onlookers waiting at the barriers to see him. One woman was heard to say: ‘I missed him earlier and travelled up from Glasgow to see him. I waited five hours – I finally saw him.’
The King and Queen Consort arrived at the Scottish Parliament at around 5.45pm after holding an audience with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
George Higgins, a former soldier in the Scots Guards, was at the front of a queue of hundreds of well-wishers behind him lining George IV bridge. The 61-year-old has been queuing since 7am, shortly after he finished an overnight shift as a security guard at the University of Edinburgh.
He said: ‘I’ve been here since 6.45am, I came straight here after a night shift at work. I took my clothes to work, got changed and came straight here. I’m going back on shift at 9.30pm tonight, so I’m going to be very tired. But it’s worth it, with her service to the country, to us, to people and to the Commonwealth, the least I can do is give her a couple of days of my time to say farewell.
‘It’s a real privilege to be here. I can’t believe I’m actually first. I have actually got to pinch myself. It’s just luck.’
The first people to view the late Queen’s coffin at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh, where it will lie for 24 hours, have spoken about their experience.
Karen Whitehouse left her home in Loweswater, Cumbria, at 2am this morning to start queuing to pay her respects to the late monarch in the Scottish capital.
Speaking about her moment with the royal coffin this evening, the 64-year-old said: ‘It was surreal. It was very quiet, everyone was very still. It was like they were all statues. I can’t believe I’ve done it and I was that close. I paid my respects, it was just beautiful.’
Ms Whitehouse said the Queen’s coffin was lying on a tall plinth inside the cathedral.
She added: ‘The wreath was on the top, and a cushion, and the crown on top of that. There’s a lot of officials in there, in their robes. Everyone is very still, it’s a beautiful experience. It was worth the 12 hours to get here.’
Amy Calvert, from Stoke-on-Trent, is on holiday in Edinburgh and was one of the first in line to pay her respects to the late Queen at a vigil in the Scottish capital.
The 31-year old is among hundreds queuing outside St Giles’ Cathedral ahead of the service, which is due to take place at 7.20pm.
She said: ‘It’s really surreal. I haven’t quite taken it in that we are here. But I can’t wait to pay my respects. It will be a time for reflection. The example she’s set within her faith is just incredible.’
People queue outside St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh to view the Queen’s coffin today. Many queued for the night to get to the front
People have slept on benches and street furniture to ensure they get into the Kirk. In this photo children were seen sat on the floor reading books
Mourners have until this afternoon to get to St Giles’ Cathedral before the Queen’s coffin heads to the airport and then on to London
Two women sit along the route at dawn to queue to see the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II as she lies at rest at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh
People queuing in the Scottish capital to catch a glimpse of the coffin of Her Majesty before her body is flown to London later today
The Queen’s children stood vigil over her coffin at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh this evening. Pictured is King Charles (centre front), Princess Anne (left), Prince Andrew (centre back) and Prince Edward (right)
The King kept his hands joined and also looked towards the floor as members of the public filed past
Members of the public – who have been filing past the coffin in their thousands throughout the afternoon – were briefly held back to allow the royals to take their place. However, they continued to file past once the vigil began, offering them an extraordinary perspective on the historic moment
Members of the public – who have been filing past the coffin in their thousands throughout the afternoon – continued to file past as the royals stood completely still
The Duke of York kept his eyes closed for a period of time during the vigil, while the Princess Royal and Earl of Wessex had their eyes fixed towards the floor
An aerial photo showing the Queen’s four children walking down the central aisle of St Giles’ Cathedral towards the Queen’s coffin
King Charles approaching the coffin with his siblings as members of the members of the Royal Company of Archers stand guard
The Queen’s children stand by their mother’s coffin in this evening’s sombre ceremony. The tradition has been honoured since the death of King George V in 1936
Princess Anne today became the first female royal to take part in the Vigil of the Princes in St Giles’ cathedral tonight
While Charles, Anne and Edward all appeared in military uniform, Andrew wore only a morning suit, having been banned from wearing uniform on public occasions following his exile from public life
Members of the public walk past the Royal Family during this evening’s Vigil of the Princes at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh
The Princess Royal and other members of the royal family hold a vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh
The King and his family began their vigil at the coffin at 7.46pm and finished it at 7.56pm. They are seen arriving at the church
The Queen’s children walk down the central aisle of St Giles’ Church following the 10-minute ceremony
King Charles chats with Prince Andrew as they leave St Giles’ Cathedral following the vigil
King Charles arrives at St Giles’ Church with Camilla, the Queen Consort, for the traditional ceremony known as the Vigil of the Princes
The Queen Consort and Countess of Wessex sat on seats opposite the coffin while the vigil, which began at at 7.46pm and finished it at 7.56pm, took place in the ancient cathedral
Members of the royal family leave by car following the end of the Vigil of the Princes at St Giles’ Cathedral
King Charles III and Camilla Queen Consort drive down the Royal Mile following the vigil at St Giles Cathedral
Hundreds of thousands of Scots had earlier crammed into Edinburgh’s narrow streets to catch a glimpse of the Queen’s coffin today as King Charles led senior royals in a solemn military procession from the Palace of Holyroodhouse – where the late monarch’s body had been resting overnight after the 180-mile drive from Balmoral yesterday – to the cathedral.
The King walked solemnly in step with his younger brothers and sister behind the Queen on the march up the Scottish capital’s Royal Mile. The assembled well-wishers fell silent as the hearse appeared. The crowd then broke out in spontaneous applause as the cortège approached and many shouted God Save the King and God Save the Queen.
Around 30 minutes later the Queen arrived at St Giles’ Cathedral and Her Majesty’s coffin was lifted out of the hearse and brought into the place of worship – with the King, his wife the Queen Consort, the Princess Royal, her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke of York, and the Earl and the Countess of Wessex all walking behind.
The Crown of Scotland – which was made in 1540 for King James V – was then placed upon the coffin, which was draped with the Royal Standard in Scotland and dressed with a wreath of flowers consisting of white Spray Roses, white Freesias, white button chrysanthemums, dried white heather from Balmoral, spray eryngium, foliage, rosemary, hebe, and pittosporum.
Before arriving at the cathedral, the procession was greeted by the Guard of Honour and Band in front of the fountain, with the High Constables and the Baillie’s Guard in position under the Colonnade.
When the coffin arrived, the guard of honour gave a royal salute and the band played one verse of the national anthem.
The bearer party, found by the Royal Regiment of Scotland, then took up their flanking position.
The escort party, found by the King’s Body Guard for Scotland, and royal cars, flanked by members of the royal family, walked at the rear of the procession, and took their positions close to the hearse.
Members of the public file past the Queen’s coffin in St Giles’ Cathedral as they pay their respects
Well-wishers weep as they leave St Giles’ Cathedral after filing past the Queen’s coffin to pay their respects
People wait in a queue to view Queen Elizabeth lying in state at St Giles’ Cathedral – even as the sun sets
Members of the public enter St Giles’ Cathedral after queuing for hours to see the Queen’s coffin
Members of the public enter St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, to view and pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin
Thousands queue up George IV Bridge and up the Royal Mile to see Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin at the cathedral
Members of the public form huge queues through the streets of Edinburgh to pay respects to Queen Elizabeth II
A woman waves a Union flag as she joins a big queue to see the Queen’s coffin on the Royal Mile
Thousands of mourners formed huge queues through the streets of Edinburgh to pay their respects to the Queen
People queueing to get inside St Giles’ Cathedral to pay their respects to the Queen
Alison Evans from Derbyshire (in a wheelchair) and Sharon Baum wait in a queue on George IV Bridge
Left to right: Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, King Charles III, Camilla, Queen Consort, The Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence sat alongside the Queen’s coffin at St Giles’ Cathedral
The King and The Queen Consort enter the Garden Lobby at the Scottish Parliament
King Charles III during an audience with the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon at the Palace of Holyroodhouse
As God Save the King was sung in the church, Charles looked mournfully at his mother’s coffin
The Queen had herself held the crown in the same church – St Giles’ Kirk – just after her coronation
King Charles III during a Service of Prayer and Reflection for the Life of Queen Elizabeth II at St Giles’ Cathedral
King Charles III and the Queen Consort during a visit to the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood
King Charles III and the Queen Consort during a visit to the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh
King Charles III and the Queen Consort during a visit to the Scottish Parliament
King Charles III at the Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh, to receive a Motion of Condolence
King Charles III with Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament Alison Johnstone
King Charles III and the Queen Consort leave St Giles’ Cathedral after the service of thanksgiving
King Charles quotes Robert Burns as he addresses Scottish MSPs for the first time as monarch
The King quoted Robert Burns as he spoke to MSPs in Holyrood for the first time as monarch.
Responding to a motion of condolence tabled as the Scottish Parliament, Charles paid tribute to his late mother, who he said he was ‘determined’ to emulate in her service to the country.
Addressing assembled MSPs, former first ministers, presiding officers and leading figures from Scottish civil society, the new King quoted from the famed Scottish poet as he praised his mother’s life of ‘incomparable service’.
‘If I might paraphrase the words of the great Robert Burns, my dear mother was the friend of man, the friend of truth, the friend of age and guide of youth,’ he said.
‘Few hearts like her with virtue warmed, few heads with knowledge so informed.’
The quote was taken from Burns’ Epitaph On My Own Friend.
Charles went on to say: ‘While still very young, the Queen pledged herself to serve her country and her people and to maintain the principles of constitutional government.
‘As we now mark with gratitude a promise most faithfully fulfilled, I am determined with God’s help and with yours to follow that inspiring example.’
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tabled the motion of condolence and described the late monarch in her speech as the ‘anchor of our nation’.
‘In an ever changing and often turbulent world, Her Majesty has been our constant,’ the First Minister said.
Ms Sturgeon also assured the new King he would have the support of Scotland in carrying on the legacy of his mother.
‘Scotland ‘stands ready’ to support King Charles III as he continues his mother’s legacy of public service, Nicola Sturgeon has said.
‘We are honoured by the presence today of His Majesty, King Charles III, and the Queen Consort,’ she said.
‘Your Majesty, we stand ready to support you, as you continue your own life of service – and as you build on the extraordinary legacy of your beloved mother, our Queen.
‘Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Scots – we are grateful for her life. May she now rest in peace.’
In a lighter moment from the proceedings, the First Minister told of how her husband saved one of the Queen’s corgis from being electrocuted during a stay at Balmoral.
The First Minister said Peter Murrell stopped the dog, a puppy named Sandy, from chewing through a lamp switch after a light began to flicker at Balmoral.
‘To my great alarm, he was, after all, in the presence of Her Majesty, my husband suddenly leapt up and darted across the floor,’ the First Minister said.
‘Peter had spotted the cause of the flickering light.
‘One of the Queen’s young corgis, a beautiful pup called Sandy, was eating through a lamp switch.
‘Thankfully, tragedy was averted and Sandy emerged unscathed, though not before a ticking off from his mistress.’
The guard of honour was accompanied by a pipe band with drums, draped and muffled.
The crowd outside the cathedral joined in with the congregation during the national anthem – some singing God Save the King while others sang God Save the Queen. There was then spontaneous applause from many of those gathered at the end of the hour long service. There was more applause as King Charles left the cathedral in a waiting car.
Her Majesty’s coffin was lifted out of the hearse and brought into the place of worship, with the King, the Queen Consort, the Princess Royal, her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, the Duke of York, and the Earl and the Countess of Wessex walking behind.
As the coffin made its way through the cathedral the choir sang Thou Wilt Keep Him In Perfect Peace, Whose Mind Is Stayed On Thee.
The Queen’s coffin was placed on a wooden catafalque as the congregation continued to stand.
The King, Queen Consort, and other members of the royal family, then walked to their seats alongside the coffin.
The King has his wife to his left and the Duke of York to his right.
At the beginning of the service, Reverend Calum MacLeod welcomed the royal family, ‘representatives of our nation’s life’ and ‘people whose lives were touched by the Queen in so many unforgettable ways’.
He said: ‘And so we gather to bid Scotland’s farewell to our late monarch, whose life of service to the nation and the world we celebrate.
‘And whose love for Scotland was legendary.’
The Queen‘s coffin arrived at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh today followed by her four children on a sorrowful journey through the Scottish capital lined by hundreds of thousands of mourners who stood in silent revelry punctuated by the sound of gun salutes from the city’s castle.
Led by a lone piper from Balmoral playing a lament, Her Majesty was carried from the Palace of Holyroodhouse where she was lying in rest since a six-hour journey from her Aberdeenshire home yesterday.
As the national anthem played the coffin was gently lowered into the hearse, watched by a visibly emotional King Charles and his siblings, Anne, the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, who then marched dolefully for 1,200 yards behind their beloved mother.
The Duke of York was not in military uniform like his siblings after Her Majesty stripped him of his titles because of the Epstein scandal. He was briefly heckled during the procession. Police Scotland said a 22-year-old man had been arrested.
Hundreds of thousands lined the streets and applauded as the Queen was taken to the cathedral where her family, and a congregation drawn from all areas of Scottish society, attended a service of thanksgiving for her life.
Bagpipes played the National Anthem from Holyrood Palace as the Queen’s coffin cortege began the walk up the Royal Mile. The hearse was flanked by a Bearer Party found by The Royal Regiment of Scotland and The King’s Body Guard for Scotland. Mounted police in ceremonial dress rode ahead of the parade.
Earlier the King met with well-wishers who lined the streets of Edinburgh to see him today in an unplanned walkabout as Scotland’s capital welcomed the new monarch and mourned the Queen – with so many people turning up that police were forced to turn many away.
Senior church officials stood patiently at the entrance to the church as the procession made its way up the Royal Mile from the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Crowds packed in 10 deep along the narrow pavements of the historic old town while others took up positions in windows along the route during the solemn procession.