Queen funeral: Nicola Sturgeon ‘honoured’ to represent Scotland at ‘momentous’ funeral

Nicola Sturgeon has said it was an “honour to represent Scotland” as leaders from across the globe joined with the royal family and other mourners at the Queen’s state funeral.

King Charles III was left close to tears during a state funeral service at Westminster Abbey, where the Archbishop of Canterbury described his mother as having touched “a multitude of lives” and having been a “joyful” figure for many.

About 2,000 people attended the service at Westminster Abbey in London.

The Scottish First Minister was amongst those at Monday’s service, along with other Scottish politicians, including Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar and his Liberal Democrat counterpart Alex Cole-Hamilton.

A piper from the Royal Regiment of Scotland plays on the day of the state funeral and burial of Britain's Queen Elizabeth, at Westminster Abbey in London. Picture: Phil Noble/AFP via Getty Images

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Ms Sturgeon described the hour-long ceremony as being “one of the most momentous occasions in recent history” as she spoke of a “final and poignant goodbye to a deeply respected and much loved monarch”

She hailed the Queen, who died on September 8 at Balmoral in the Highlands, as being a “great constant” as she added it was “an honour to represent Scotland at the service”.

“As the Queen is laid to rest, it gives us a chance to reflect on the events of the past ten days, which have provided a sincere, solemn and fitting tribute to our longest-reigning monarch,” she said.

“We knew how important Scotland was to the Queen and, over recent days, we have been reminded just how much Her Majesty meant to the people of Scotland.”

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Students watch the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth IIl in their boarding house, Windmill Lodge, at Gordonstoun School, Moray, where King Charles III once boarded. Picture: Paul Campbell/PA Wire

Ms Sturgeon was accompanied by the most senior civil servant in Scotland, the permanent secretary John-Paul Marks.

The leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross, said ahead of the funeral the world "will pause" to pay tribute to the Queen.

On Twitter, he said: "Today, we say a final farewell to Her Majesty The Queen. The world will pause as we pay tribute to her extraordinary life and incredible 70-year reign.

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"Thank you, Ma'am. May you rest in glorious and eternal peace."

Mr Sarwar said it was "an honour" to attend the funeral, adding it was “a fitting tribute to a remarkable public servant”.

Alison Johnstone, the presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, was also in attendance, alongside the Scotland Secretary Alister Jack and the shadow Scotland Secretary, Scottish Labour's Ian Murray.

"I was honoured to represent the Parliament earlier today at Her Majesty's State Funeral,” Ms Johnstone said. “From all at the Scottish Parliament, rest in peace."

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City of Edinburgh Council leader Cammy Day was also amongst those at the service in Westminster Abbey, saying it was an “honour” to be “part of the final send-off for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II”.

He added: “Today’s service at Westminster Abbey was a significant moment in history and appropriate for Her Late Majesty’s long-serving dedication and public duty.”

The tributes from the steps of Westminster Abbey came as shops and schools across Scotland closed to allow people to pay their last respects to the Queen.

Events were held across the country, including on the Royal Yacht Britannia, to mark the funeral of the late monarch, who was on the throne for 70 years.

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The yacht, which is now a visitor attraction, flew its flag at half mast on Monday during the day of mourning while former chief chef, Jeff Hughes, 78, described the Queen as “someone special”.

Returning to the ship at its current mooring in Edinburgh, Mr Hughes, from Wrexham in North Wales, said: “It’s hard to explain, but the Queen is someone special.

“We will never have a monarch like the Queen, although King Charles will do a good job.

“Nobody will do the job like Her Majesty the Queen did. She was a one-off, you will never get that person again.”

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Staff and students meanwhile came together at the King’s former school to mark the state funeral.

Gordonstoun school, in Morayshire, suspended lessons on Monday to allow boarding houses to gather and watch the funeral broadcast.

The houses were silent as the Queen’s coffin made its way to Westminster Abbey, with some staff and students admitting they felt some emotion towards the occasion.

Later in the afternoon, each of the school’s houses took part in a walk to the nearby coastguard watchtower – which the Duke of Edinburgh opened in 1955 – to lay flowers in tribute to the Queen.

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The Queen had a close connection to Gordonstoun, with her husband, the late Prince Philip, studying there in his youth.

Their three sons, Charles, Andrew and Edward followed in his footsteps – an education that Charles said instilled in him self-discipline and a sense of responsibility.

The Princess Royal’s two children, Zara and Peter, were also students at the independent school.

Lisa Kerr, the school’s principal, said it was a “remarkable” day for the Gordonstoun community “in so many ways”.

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She said: “Most importantly, it is our opportunity with the rest of the country to pay our respects to a much-loved and respected monarch.

“But of course, the Queen wasn’t just the Queen at Gordonstoun – she was also a Gordonstoun mum and a Gordonstoun grandmother, so it does feel like the passing of a member of the family.”

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