Queen Elizabeth II Edinburgh: First people to view Queen’s coffin at St Giles’ Cathedral say it was ‘surreal’ and ‘beautiful’ experience

The first members of the public to view the late Queen’s coffin at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh have spoken about their encounter, with one describing it as ‘surreal’ and another calling it ‘a beautiful experience’.

Karen Whitehouse left her home in Loweswater, Cumbria, at 2am this morning to start queuing to pay her respects to the late monarch, whose coffin will lie for 24 hours in the Scottish capital.

Speaking about her moment with the royal coffin on Monday evening, the 64-year-old said: “It was surreal.

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“It was very quiet, everyone was very still. It was like they were all statues. I can’t believe I’ve done it and I was that close. I paid my respects, it was just beautiful.”

Members of the public enter St Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh, to view and pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II's coffin, which will lie at rest in the cathedral for 24 hours.

Ms Whitehouse said the Queen’s coffin was lying on a tall plinth inside the cathedral.

She added: “The wreath was on the top, and a cushion, and the crown on top of that. There’s a lot of officials in there, in their robes. Everyone is very still, it’s a beautiful experience. It was worth the 12 hours to get here.”

Earlier on Monday, King Charles III led the royal family in a poignant display of respect for the late Queen – walking behind the monarch’s coffin with his siblings.

Expressionless and looking straight ahead, Charles was joined by the Princess Royal, Earl of Wessex and Duke of York as they followed the hearse carrying the Queen’s oak coffin.

It travelled from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the sovereign’s official Edinburgh home, to St Giles’ Cathedral.

Draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland and with a wreath of Balmoral flowers, the Queen’s coffin was placed at the head of the congregation and was given the honour of having the Crown of Scotland placed on top.

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Following in a car was the Queen Consort and the Countess of Wessex but the new Prince of Wales and his brother Harry did not take part in the procession.

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