LONDON — Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin arrived at Buckingham Palace on Tuesday evening, making its way from Scotland through a rainy London as crowds lined the route to bid the Queen a final farewell.
People waved as the hearse, with lights inside illuminating the flag-draped coffin, made its way into London after the Queen arrived from her final voyage from Edinburgh to the capital by plane.
Thousands gathered outside the palace clapped as the hearse swung around a roundabout in front of the Queen’s official residence and through the wrought iron gates. King Charles III and other royals waited to greet the casket.
The late monarch’s coffin left her beloved Scotland, where 33,000 people filed silently past it in the 24 hours after it was brought to the Scottish capital’s St. Giles’ Cathedral from her cherished summer retreat, Balmoral.
The Queen died there on Sept. 8 at age 96 after 70 years on the throne.
The military C-17 Globemaster carrying the monarch’s coffin touched down at RAF Northolt, an air force base in the west of the city, about an hour after it left Edinburgh.
UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and a military honor guard were among those greeting the coffin at the base.
One of those who stood in the rain waiting for the hearse to pass, retired bus driver David Stringer, 82, recalled watching the Queen’s coronation on a movie newsreel as a boy.
“It’s a great shame,” he said. “I mean, I didn’t think about her every day, but I always knew she was there, and my life’s coming to a close now and her time has finished.”
The coffin will be taken by horse-drawn gun carriage on Wednesday to the Palace of Westminster to lie in state for four days before Monday’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.
“Scotland has now bid our Queen of Scots a sad, but fond farewell,” said Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. “We will not see her like again.”
The new King is making his own journey this week, visiting the four nations of the UK — England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — in his first days on the throne.
On Tuesday, hundreds of people lined the street leading to Hillsborough Castle near Belfast, the Royal Family’s official residence in Northern Ireland, in the latest outpouring of affection following the Queen’s death.
The area in front of the gates to the castle was carpeted with hundreds of floral tributes.
King Charles III and his wife Camilla, the Queen Consort, got out of their car to wave to the crowd and sometimes used both hands to reach out to villagers, including schoolchildren in bright blue uniforms.
Charles III even petted a corgi — famously his late mother’s favorite breed of dog — held up by one person, and some chanted, “God save the King!”
“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,” said Hillsborough resident Robin Campbell as he waited to see the reigning sovereign.
Earlier on Tuesday, the flag-draped oak coffin was carried from St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh to the strain of bagpipes. Crowds lining the Royal Mile through the historic heart of Edinburgh broke into applause as the coffin, accompanied by the Queen’s daughter, Princess Anne, was driven to Edinburgh Airport.
“I was fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest mother’s life,” Princess Anne said in a statement. “It has been an honor and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys. Witnessing the love and respect shown by so many on these journeys has been both humbling and uplifting.” — Euronews