King Charles arrived in Northern Ireland to a welcome from hundreds of well-wishers on Tuesday as he lead the mourning for Queen Elizabeth across the United Kingdom before his mother’s coffin is flown to London for four days of lying in state.
After a silent vigil attended by Charles, his sister Anne and brothers Andrew and Edward at St Giles’ Cathedral in the Scottish capital Edinburgh on Monday, people queued overnight to file past the queen’s coffin, some with sleeping children.
Kingdom before the queen’s funeral on Sept. 19. In Northern Ireland, people started to line the streets at Hillsborough Castle, the monarch’s official residence, ahead of his visit.
“We came out to pay our respects to Queen Elizabeth because she was a fantastic queen and very loyal to Northern Ireland and we wanted to be here to welcome the new king,” said Heather Paul, 61, holding flowers and a small Union Flag.
Joy Hutchinson, 34, said she hoped Charles would keep the United Kingdom together after some have blamed Brexit, Britain’s departure from the European Union, among other things for loosening Britain’s ties with Northern Ireland.
Charles drove along crowd-lined streets in Hillsborough and then left his car to shake hands with well-wishers to chants of “God Save the King”.
He landed in Northern Ireland from Scotland where he followed the queen’s coffin up Edinburgh’s Royal Mile and was joined by his siblings for a 10-minute vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral. They stood, heads bowed, at the four sides of the coffin while members of the public filed past.
People queued overnight to pay their respects, many wearing winter jackets, scarves and woollen hats to keep out the cold.
“We were desperate to be here to show our respects.” said Will Brehme, an engineer from Edinburgh, who arrived in the early hours of the morning with his partner and 20-month-old daughter sleeping in a baby carrier.
“It is a moment that will live with us forever. When you think that she worked all of her life for us it is the least we could do.”
Elizabeth died on Thursday in her holiday home at Balmoral Castle, in the Scottish Highlands, at the age of 96 after a 70-year reign, plunging the nation into mourning.
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