Queen’s final journey: The people from all walks of life who waited side-by-side for history to unfold before them | UK News
In the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, there was a realisation among much of the crowd of thousands: history is not just in the past, but something you can witness in the present.
New university students waited patiently for hours alongside retirees and tourists from across the globe who had changed their plans to be there. At points, the hordes were 15 people deep.
“It’s just so heartbreaking”, said Laura Lang from Georgia, USA, as the cortege finally passed. “Look, I know the Queen is ‘Britain’. But she’s Queen of the world, right?”
There was a spontaneous ripple of applause as the hearse moved down The Royal Mile, past St Giles’ Cathedral, the High Kirk of Scotland, where a 24-hour vigil is due to start on Monday evening.
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Watching over the scene in the city’s Parliament Square, a statue of the fifth Duke of Buccleuch. He would have recognised many of the ceremonies we have all witnessed in previous days because in the 1800s he was part of them.
“It was very moving. We were just so glad we were here,” said Patricia Parker, who is on holiday from Northampton. “I just thought it was so regal and precise. We’d never been to Scotland before.”
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The rain held off until after the cortege had passed, as preparations continued for the service of reflection due to take place at the cathedral on Monday afternoon.
A fanfare could be heard through the kirk doors – presumably the state trumpeters in rehearsal. On the roofs, police marksmen watched on with binoculars, while an explosive-detecting springer spaniel darted around the TV positions.
As the inevitable rain started to fall, the crowds headed in one direction: down towards the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where the Queen’s coffin now lies at rest.