King Charles III, joined by his siblings – Princes Andrew and Edward and Princess Anne – briefly held vigil around Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin on Monday evening. Hundreds of mourners were queuing outside St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland to pay their respects on Monday evening. The cathedral will remain open to the public overnight, according to guidance issued by the Scottish Government. Earlier on Monday, a short service of thanksgiving took place at the cathedral following a procession from the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The 73-year-old monarch and his siblings walked behind the hearse while Camilla, Queen Consort, traveled in a car behind.
Charles wore full day ceremonial uniform with the rank of Field Marshal, and carried the Field Marshal Baton given to him by his mother when he was awarded the rank in 2012. The procession moved through crowds of onlookers standing in near-total silence on Edinburgh’s streets. Elizabeth’s coffin was draped in the Royal Standard in Scotland, bedecked with a wreath of flowers—including dried white heather from Balmoral—and carried by members of the King’s bodyguard in Scotland, the Royal Company of Archers.
Following the procession through Edinburgh, the coffin passed along the Royal Mile where it received a guard of honor from the Royal Company of Archers at the cathedral. The royal family then attended a short service of prayer and reflection, joined by a congregation made up “from all areas of Scottish society,” according to Buckingham Palace. UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, Gordon Brown and Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, were also present. Afterward, Charles had an audience with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon as well as a meeting with presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament. He also went to parliament to receive a motion of condolence. “I know that the Scottish Parliament and the people of Scotland share with me a profound sense of grief at the death of my beloved mother,” said Charles in an address to parliament. “My mother felt as I do—the greatest admiration for the Scottish people for their magnificent achievements, and their indomitable spirit.”
During a speech at the parliament, Sturgeon said that Elizabeth had been “the anchor of our nation.” “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,” Sturgeon told Charles. Earlier, King Charles vowed to continue the Queen’s “dedicated service” to the British people in his first address to the UK Parliament in London. The Queen Consort accompanied Charles on his first visit to the Palace of Westminster since becoming King. In the ancient Westminster Hall, both Houses of Parliament offered their condolences on his mother’s death; during his speech there, King Charles said that while she was young, his late mother pledged herself to serve her country and her people.
“No one in this country should live in fear of anything except the loss of faith,” he said. He added that he is a man of faith, and he and his wife are resolved to follow her example with help from God and his councils. As the couple concluded their visit, they flew to Edinburgh where they attended the Ceremony of the Keys – a tradition whereby the Lord Provost offers the monarch the keys to the city.