“I took two deep breaths and walked in. I bowed to the coffin and walked out.”says Sheila, military uniform on her shoulders, her medals and her father’s on her chest. “It’s a way to bring the family back with me”explains the one who waited all day Monday 12 September to enter the cathedral of Saint-Gilles, in Edinburgh, and pay a final tribute to the one who was also “his boss” when he was in the army: Elizabeth II.
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The queen’s coffin, which arrived in Edinburgh on Sunday, was escorted from the Royal Palace of Holyroodouse to the city’s cathedral on Monday by the new King Charles III, surrounded by his brothers. A mass was held there, broadcast on a giant screen in a city park, before the cathedral was open to the public. The Scots will parade all night in front of the coffin, guarded by four royal archers and above which sits the crown of Scotland, before leaving for London on Tuesday.
There are already quite a few people this morning near St. Giles Cathedral and along the road to Holyroodhouse. Yet the start of the procession is only in 4 hours #Queen Elizabeth II #King Charles III #Scotland @franceinfo @franceinfoplus pic.twitter.com/SF4CFMbJGO
– Theo U. (@theo_uhrt) September 12, 2022
To hope to be among the first you have to arrive very early: Sheila arrived around 7 on Monday morning, more than ten hours of waiting. “And I’ll wait twice as long, only to walk one last time close to Her Majestyassumes. It was a great honor. ” Jane and Paul drove four hours to get to Edinburgh and waiting for them is no problem either:
“She sacrificed her whole life for the country, we can give her one day.”Giovanna and Paolo
Christel also waited all day for a few minutes inside the cathedral and a few seconds in front of the coffin. She wanted “pay your respects to the queen one last time”. “It’s a moment I’ll never forget”says this Scottish woman. Ann exits the cathedral right after her and qualifies for the time being “unreal”. “I have no words, it’s … You know, I think theAndpod has done it very professionally in the last few days on the territory “she believes, sobs in her voice, her throat tight.
“I was able to thank her for her years of service and say a last goodbye“, adds Alan a little further on, he too among the first to have been able to approach the royal coffin. Everyone in a row remembers an image of the Queen. For him it will be her eternal smile, when others prefer to remember her dignity at her husband’s funeral. Some they have an anecdote to tell, from a simple glance to a casual discussion with the monarch about horseback riding.
All these early risers were joined at the end of the day by those who witnessed the Queen’s coffin procession in the afternoon, creating a huge queue in the heart of Edinburgh. More than two kilometers long, it crossed half the city at the end of the afternoon. Helen and Gary, born “the year of his coronation”, they are rather towards the end of the line, but that will not discourage them. The couple is ready to wait most of the night for this queen “who have very much respected”. So they planned everything: in the backpack, energy bars and cake, details Helen mischievously.
They have adopted another strategy: Harvey, Paul, Steven and Ronnie live near Glasgow. These “loyalists” came by train on Monday morning to witness the arrival of Charles III and then the procession to the cathedral. Then they returned home and intend to return in the middle of the night, to avoid the queue as much as possible: “We may have to wait an hour or two, but that’s okay.” Upon hearing the news, it was Harvey, 20, who was the most “devastated” . “She was like a member of the family, she has always been there. And she is a role model for many”says this young Scotsman.
Not far away are Harvey, Paul, Steven and Ronnie. Those who call themselves “loyalists” are happy to be there to see the new king and pay their final respects to Queen Elizabeth II
“Charles has said and done everything right since he became king,” said Paul. pic.twitter.com/abLPWzMJWj
– Theo U. (@theo_uhrt) September 12, 2022
Even after her death, Elizabeth II will therefore have managed to gather huge crowds in Scotland, as the country questions its independence. And the length of that line of hers speaks volumes about the affection the Scots had for her. This is perhaps one more record for a queen who already holds so many. It is certainly, from France, one more mystery in this very special relationship that the English have with her who was their queen for 70 years, and to whom they greet as they would a member of their family. .