Queen Elizabeth II death: Going the extra mile on Edinburgh's most famous street as thousands turn out to say farewells
Camping chairs, tartan travel rugs, plastic ponchos, umbrellas, bouquet of flowers – whatever customers have asked for has been brought in by local shopkeepers as crowds gathered in their thousands outside the Palace of Holyrood to pay their respects to the Queen as she left her Scottish seat for the last time.
Rocky and Tyson Singh run the Holyrood Gift Shop, opposite the gates of the royal residence.
They have been mobbed with people looking for hot and cold drinks, souvenirs and some more unusual items, as they prepared for the long hours of waiting to glimpse the official procession and uncertainty over the weather.
The brothers, originally from Belfast, have been restocking their shop several times a day, carrying all the goods for a mile to reach their premises, which is within the official cordon at the foot of Edinburgh’s most famous street.
Rocky Singh admits he has always been a big fan of the royal family, ever since his childhood in Northern Ireland.
“As a small boy I saw Prince Charles, now King Charles, and Diana when they came to Belfast and visited our school,” he said.
“My whole family is heartbroken at the loss of the Queen. We’re all big fans.”
He is delighted to have his business on the Royal Mile.
“This is the centre point for the ceremonials,” he said. “It’s Ground Zero.”
The family has been keen to make sure they are supplying what their customers need, despite the extra effort required.
“People have been coming in and ordering things like camping chairs and blankets so they can have a bit more comfort as they wait,” he said.
“We’re parked a mile away and we’ve been carrying all our stock down the road a few times a day.
“We ran out of umbrellas yesterday and waterproof ponchos have been flying off the shelves in the past couple of days. We sold 100 umbrellas yesterday in a matter of hours.
“We give the public what they want when they want it. And we’re expecting more of the same tomorrow.
“It’s like a delivery service.”
A few yards up the Royal Mile is Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe, which sells every type of festive decoration people could imagine.
Manager Mhairi Dickson says shoppers have been buying all sorts of Scottish-themes baubles and knickknacks, and there was even a rush on a slightly irreverent gift – a novelty waving Queen.
Ms Dickson, after hearing about the Queen’s death, had decided to take the items off display as a mark of respect, but when she opened up on Friday morning customers were queuing to buy them.
“It’s a sad day, a sad time,” she said.
On the other side of the historical road is Cadenheads Whisky Shop, Scotland's oldest independent bottler and a ‘destination’ for whisky aficionados from all over the world.
The Queen was said to have had a taste for Royal Lochnagar, while the new King Charles gave his royal seal of approval to Laphroaig while still the Prince of Wales.
Manager Tony Grubb said: “The Queen will be sorely missed by all Scots and everyone across Britain.
“It’s nice to see the crowds out in force today to pay their respects.”
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