Queen Elizabeth II death: Mourners queue in their thousands outside St Giles Cathedral to pay respects
She was a monarch with a “deep and abiding” affection for Scotland, ending her life in the Highlands castle where she was said to be most happy.
Now it was the turn of Scottish mourners to demonstrate their own affection for Queen Elizabeth II.
They waited in their thousands on Monday afternoon and well into the evening to pay their respects as the Queen’s body lay in state at St Giles’ Cathedral. The queue snaked well over a mile long, through George Square, Potterow, Chambers Street and George IV Bridge to The Meadows, where it doubled back on itself several times across the city’s vast green space.
She will lie in rest for 24 hours until Tuesday afternoon, during which time members of the public will be able to walk past the coffin.
Security guards said they expected around 4,000 people an hour to pass through the cathedral.
Among those waiting in the Meadows to obtain a wristband to allow access to St Giles was artist Yvonne Moore, who travelled from Dumfries with her son Liam. Her great uncle, John Weir, was the Queen’s private physician until 1968, and also attended to previous monarchs King George V, King Edward VIII and King George VI.
"He delivered the royal babies," she said. "So I'm partly here for him and for my grandfather, who was at the Somme in the war and got a letter from the Queen. I also met the Queen when I was six.
"There is a lot of history with the royals in our family. She has been a constant presence in our lives. She is everywhere – she is on the money, she was there in the pandemic and it is just very sad that she is no longer with us. I think it is nice that Charles will be taking over and I hope he has all of the qualities from his mother. It is a moment in history.”
Irene Katigi, who lives in Glasgow, but is originally from Uganda, was convinced to make the trip to Edinburgh by her 12-year-old-son Quincy, who had realised the future direct line to the throne is male, following from King Charles III, to Prince William, then his oldest son, George.
"He said to me 'mummy, do you realise we will probably never have a Queen again in our lifetime?'" she said. "And I hadn't thought of that until he said it.
"Everyone loves the Queen, she brought everyone together. Growing up in Uganda, everyone loved her. There is something special about her, she has remained very dignified.
"I am finding it difficult to use the word 'was' about her. In my memory, I don't think she will ever die."
In the queue, Ms Katigi met Australian Susanne Frame, from Melbourne.
"The Queen is the staple that has kept the Commonwealth together, " said Ms Frame. "I arrived in Scotland on Wednesday and she died on Thursday, so I wanted to pay my respects while I was here. It feels like it is a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”
Bruce Fraser, from Inverness, said: "I feel very honoured to be able to be here. It is the royal family, but it feels like another family for me."
He said he had been greatly affected by the expression on the face of the Princess Royal as she travelled in a car behind the hearse carrying the Queen's coffin from Aberdeenshire.
"To have to go through all of this in the public eye must be very difficult, so in a way, it feels like this [paying respects] is the least you can do," he said.
On the Royal Mile, members of the public from around the globe lined the streets from early in the morning in hope of catching a glimpse of the procession from Holyrood Palace.
Police warned the street was full to capacity as well-wishers congregated to watch the Queen’s coffin travel up the High Street, which was flanked by the bearer party of the Royal Regiment of Scotland and a detachment of the Royal Company of Archers, who act as the King’s bodyguard in Scotland. King Charles II, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex followed on foot.
Mourners fell silent as the procession made its way to the cathedral, where a service was held.
Friends Jack Fislstra, Miriam Fritsely, Henk Campo and Liesbeth van Hennik, from Holland, were on a two-week visit to Scotland.
"We came on holiday to Scotland and we were in the Highlands when the Queen died, but the whole world is here now,” says Mr Fislstra. “We have a royal family in Holland, but it is much bigger here. We have a small firm and this is the big firm. A lot of Dutch people are looking at the television at the moment, so it feels very special to be here.”
Elizabeth Dodds, 80, originally from Portlethen in Aberdeenshire, who now lives in Nottingham, recalled watching the Queen’s coronation back in 1953.
"I'm just soaking up the atmosphere,” she said. "I remember her coronation, I was about ten. I danced on the back of a float on a very cold, wet day in the village of Portlethen just outside of Aberdeen.
“We didn't have a television, so we went to see the coronation eventually at the new cinema in Aberdeen. I hear everyone on TV talking about how this is the only monarch everyone knows, but I remember the last king. I was at school in Stonehaven when King George VI's death was announced.
"I remember the rector coming in to the dining hall and speaking to the teachers and there was a gasp and a silence went around the room. It is one of those moments from childhood that you don't forget."
Karen McInally and her daughter Isla, 12, from West Linton, travelled into Edinburgh after Ms McInally’s parents decided to extend a visit from England to pay their respects to the Queen.
"They were 18 miles away down the road on Sunday when they phoned us and said they wanted to come back,” she said. “My mum is a Rainbows leader and every year on the Queen’s birthday, they write to her. They wrote to her on the Jubilee and the Queen wrote back. I’m feeling quite emotional about it all.”
Mario and Melissa Tello, both 31 from Mexico, were also in the Old Town to pay their respects.
"We love Scotland, we have always wanted to come here and we have chosen a special time to come," said business owner Mr Telli.
Robin Beck, 64, from Sacramento, California, said her friends and family in the US were envious she would be in Scotland this week.
"The atmosphere feels very positive, it is a real celebration of her life, she lived for 96 years,” she said. "Seventy years as a Queen, how awesome is that?
"I have always loved the Queen. My friends and family think I am very lucky to be here on such a momentous day."
Ukrainians Olga Domaskyna and Pavlo Domaskyn, who have lived in Edinburgh since their hometown of Berdyansk was occupied by Russian forces, said they wanted to pay their respects to the monarch.
“We wanted to see the Queen and say bye, because she is a fantastic lady,” said Ms Domaskyna.
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