- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 11, 2022

The United Kingdom and the world will begin a week of public mourning for Queen Elizabeth II with a service of prayer and reflection in Edinburgh, Scotland, where the monarch’s coffin arrived Sunday.

St. Giles’ Cathedral will host a Monday afternoon service to be attended by King Charles III, Camilla, the queen consort, and Princess Anne, Princes Andrew and Edward, and other family members and dignitaries.

Elizabeth died at age 96 on Thursday at Balmoral Castle after more than 70 years on the British throne. It was two days after she appointed Conservative leader Liz Truss as the 15th prime minister of her reign.

Earlier Monday, the king and the queen consort will receive the condolences of both houses of Parliament in a session at Westminster Hall in London. Charles will “make his reply,” Buckingham Palace said, and then travel by air to Edinburgh.

The queen’s coffin, which arrived in the Scottish capital on Sunday afternoon on the first leg of its journey to London and a Sept. 19 funeral, will lie at rest at the cathedral. The public can pay their respects until Tuesday. The coffin will then be flown to London, where it will lie in state at Westminster Hall before it is transported to Westminster Abbey for the state funeral.

Elizabeth will be interred in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle alongside her parents, sister Princess Margaret, and her husband, Prince Philip, who preceded her in death by 17 months at the age of 99. 

Charles has declared a “bank holiday” for the funeral, meaning most businesses will close and many Britons will have a day off work to view the service.

Princess Anne, the late monarch’s only daughter, curtseyed as the coffin arrived Sunday at Holyroodhouse, the official palace when the monarch is in Scotland. Princes Andrew and Edward also viewed its arrival, The Associated Press reported.

Anne, the princess royal, and her husband, Sir Timothy Laurence, accompanied the coffin earlier Sunday on a six-hour procession from Balmoral Castle. 

The queen was on an annual summer holiday at the residence, long a favorite of hers.

Silence fell on the Edinburgh strand known as the Royal Mile. People stood 10 deep in some places as the cortege passed after traveling through towns and along rural roads and bridges lined with mourners.

Not all were saddened. Police escorted away a woman holding a sign saying “F—- Imperialism! Abolish Monarchy” at a ceremony in the city where Charles was formally proclaimed king by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, Scotland’s chief herald. 

The protester, part of a group that jeered the announcement, was booed as she left the area.

“There’s tens of thousands of people here today to show their respect. For them to be here, heckling through things, I think it was terrible. If they were so against it, they shouldn’t have come,” spectator Ann Hamilton told AP.

Beyond Scotland, ceremonies proclaiming Charles as king — a formality, as he acceded upon his mother’s death — were also held in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Cardiff, Wales. 

The king and his wife will visit Northern Ireland on Tuesday to view an exhibit tracing Elizabeth’s association with the province and attend a prayer service before returning to London.

On Friday, Charles will attend memorial services in Wales, the province where he was installed as Prince of Wales on July 1, 1969, four months before his 21st birthday.

Envoys meet the new king

As his mother’s casket journeyed to Edinburgh, Charles met with the secretary-general of the Commonwealth of Nations, the association of former British colonies, and later held a reception for ambassadors from those nations.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who started laying the groundwork for an Australian republic after an election in May, said Sunday that now was not the time for a change but for paying tribute to the late queen, AP reported.

India, a former British colony, observed a day of state mourning. Flags were lowered to half-staff on all government buildings.

One of Britain’s tiniest and most remote outposts — Pitcairn Islands, a volcanic outcropping in the middle of the Pacific Ocean — marked the king’s accession with a ceremony Sunday. Islanders, many of whom are descended from mutineers of the HMS Bounty in 1789, tolled a bell 96 times on Friday, one strike for each year of Elizabeth’s life, the Pitcairn Islands Study Center in Angwin, California, reported.

On Saturday, Charles was formally designated king by the Accession Council, comprised chiefly of members of the Privy Council, the monarch’s inner advisory circle.

“I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty, which have now passed to me,” Charles told the assemblage. “I shall strive to follow the inspiring example I have been set in upholding constitutional government and to seek the peace, harmony and prosperity of the peoples of these islands.”

After the council meeting, Charles and Camilla greeted an emotional throng of spectators outside Buckingham Palace and viewed a virtual carpet of floral tributes to the queen by its gates. One woman kissed the king’s hand after it was extended to her; another asked to embrace him and was granted her request.

At Windsor Castle outside London, Charles’ sons, Prince William — heir apparent and now the Prince of Wales — and Prince Harry, who left active royal family service in 2020 and moved to the U.S., were joined by their wives in a “walkabout,” where they viewed flowers placed to honor the queen and greet well-wishers. 

Catherine, William’s wife and now the Princess of Wales, comforted one child overcome by the events, media reports indicated.

William, via Twitter, said he was “extraordinarily grateful” for having had his grandmother’s “wisdom and reassurance into my fifth decade.”

He added, “She was by my side at my happiest moments. And she was by my side during the saddest days of my life,” a reference to the period almost 25 years ago to the day when his mother, Diana, the last princess of Wales, died in a Paris car crash.

He added, “I thank her on behalf of my generation for providing an example of service and dignity in public life that was from a different age, but always relevant to us all. My grandmother famously said that grief was the price we pay for love.”

The reunion of the brothers and their spouses — a quartet dubbed “The Fab Four” by London tabloids after Harry’s 2018 wedding to U.S.-born actress Meghan Markle — sparked hopes for greater reconciliation between the princes. In his Friday speech to the nation, however, Charles seemed to sidestep any sort of olive branch, saying only, “I express my love to [Prince] Harry and Meghan as they continue to build their lives overseas.”

Media reports indicate that Harry and Meghan will remain in Britain until the funeral and that Doria Ragland, Meghan’s mother, will bring the couple’s children, Archie 3, and Lilibet 1, to London for the service.

• Mark A. Kellner can be reached at mkellner@washingtontimes.com.

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