How Queen's casket will return to London today to lie in state

Leaving her beloved Scotland… for the last time: How Queen’s casket will return to London today to lie in state – accompanied on its journey by Princess Anne

  • The Queen’s coffin will remain at the St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, until 5pm
  • She will then be taken by hearse to Edinburgh Airport to be flown to London 
  • Coffin expected in London at 6.55pm before being driven to Buckingham Palace
  • Princess Anne will again accompany her mother on the flight back to London
  • Procession from Buckingham Palace to Palace of Westminster on Wednesday
  • Full coverage: Click here to see all our coverage of the Queen’s passing

The Queen will return to London today to lie in state, accompanied by Princess Anne, after thousands of mourners gathered to pay their respects at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Her Majesty’s coffin will remain at the cathedral until 5pm following a poignant vigil involving her four children last night.

She will then be taken by hearse through a guard of honour formed by the Royal Company of Archers giving a royal salute to begin to Edinburgh Airport.

Upon arrival, the Queen will be received by the Royal Regiment of Scotland with a royal salute. A bearer party from the Royal Air Force will then be on hand to carry the coffin onto the aircraft.

Princess Anne, who travelled in the cortege from the Queen’s beloved Balmoral to Edinburgh on Sunday, will again accompany her mother on the flight to London.

She will be joined by the Very Reverend Professor David Fergusson, Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland.

The RAF plane is scheduled to depart from the runway in Edinburgh at 6pm, before touching down at RAF Northolt in west London at 6.55pm.

The bearer party will carry the Queen’s coffin from the aircraft to the waiting state hearse to begin the journey by road along the A40 towards Buckingham Palace.

Upon arrival at the palace, where thousands of well-wishers are expected to again line the streets, a further guard of honour will be formed by the King’s Guard as the coffin arrives at the Grand Entrance.

King Charles III, Anne, the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward each stood on one of the four corners of the coffin in a ceremony known as the Vigil of the Princes

Members of the public outside St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh prepare to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II today

Official details of the route for the lying-in-state queue will be published at 10pm tomorrow, but this is the predicted route

Details of how public can attend lying-in-state are revealed amid forecast for huge queues 

Details have been published on how the public can attend the Queen’s lying-in-state, with people warned to expect long queues and be prepared to stand for many hours through the night.

Those wishing to pay their respects to the late monarch’s coffin in London’s Westminster Hall will be able to file solemnly past 24 hours a day from 5pm on Wednesday until 6.30am on the day of the funeral – next Monday, September 19.

But the Government has stressed that the queue will continuously move – with little chance to rest or sit down – and the very long line of those waiting is expected to stretch through central London.

It also set out guidelines on how people should behave and what they should wear, saying they should remain silent inside the Palace of Westminster. 

It urged people to ‘dress appropriately for the occasion to pay your respects’, banning clothes ‘with political or offensive slogans’.

‘Please respect the dignity of this event and behave appropriately. You should remain silent while inside the Palace of Westminster,’ it added.

Queue-jumpers and anyone drunk will be booted out of the queue by stewards and police patrolling the lines. 

Visitors will also face airport-style security checks, with tight restrictions on what can be taken in.

Flowers, tributes, candles, flags, photos, hampers, sleeping bags, blankets, folding chairs and camping equipment are all banned, with only one small bag with a simple opening or zip permitted per person.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to flock to the capital for the once-in-a-lifetime proceedings.

The Queen’s closed coffin will rest on a raised platform, called a catafalque, in the ancient Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster, draped in the Royal Standard with the Orb and Sceptre placed on top.

Delays to public transport and road closures around the area are expected and people are being urged to check ahead and plan accordingly.

A bearer party from the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards, will carry the coffin to the Bow Room, where it will be placed on trestles witnessed by King Charles and Queen Consort Camilla.

A rota of Chaplains to the King, formerly appointed by Queen Elizabeth, will keep watch over her coffin while it rests in the Bow Room.

The King and other royals may mourn within the room, before the coffin is expected to be moved to the Throne Room – where devoted palace staff can pay their respects. 

The Queen will remain at Buckingham Palace overnight and through the morning of Wednesday, before the coffin will be borne by gun carriage of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery to the Palace of Westminster.

The route will take the coffin through the Queen’s Gardens, The Mall, Horse Guards and Horse Guards Arch, Whitehall, Parliament Street, Parliament Square and New Palace Yard.

The King and other senior members of the Royal Family will follow the coffin on foot. They will also be followed by senior staff of both the Queen’s and the King’s Households, and then close personal staff.

The procession will walk in silence, without music.

Meanwhile, guards of honour from all three services will be positioned along the route. 

The King’s Life Guard will give a royal salute as the coffin passes through Horse Guards Arch.

Throughout the procession, minute guns will be fired at Hyde Park by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and Big Ben will toll.

At 3pm, the coffin is expected to arrive at the North Door of Westminster Hall, before it will be carried to the catafalque inside by the Queen’s Company, 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards bearer company.

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will conduct a short service, before Westminster Hall will be opened to the public to begin the start of four-and-a-half days of the Queen lying in state.

A round-the-clock vigil will be mounted around the catafalque by officers of the Household Division, the King’s Body Guards of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, the King’s Body Guard for Scotland, the Royal Company of Archers and The King’s Body Guard the Yeomen of the Guard.

It comes amid concern that London could become ‘full’ over the coming days as up to one million people flock to see the Queen’s coffin – with queues expected to last up to 30 hours.

Whitehall chiefs in charge of logistics for the historic five-night vigil have estimated mourner numbers could be close to the one million who turned up to view Pope John Paul II when he lay in state in Rome in 2005.

A large structure is put up in Westminster on Monday as plans are well underway for the capital to host huge numbers of visitors

Barriers and portable toilets are set up in Westminster on Monday before Britons start queuing to see the Queen lying in state

People start to camp on The Mall on Monday ahead of the Queen’s coffin being taken from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday

Hotel chains have also seen a major uptake in reservations ahead of the lying in state and funeral, with Travelodge revealing there had been a ‘surge in London bookings from all corners of the UK’ to its 78 hotels in the capital.

Scotland Yard is already closing roads around Westminster and Transport for London has said services will be ‘very busy’ with passengers urged ‘to allow plenty of extra time for their journeys and to avoid driving where possible’.

But the queuing has already begun, with the first person arriving to queue for the Queen’s lying in state on Monday evening – more than 48 hours before the line opens.

Security staff, stewards and police officers have been stationed along the route., with portable toilets, barriers and flooring have also been set up in Victoria Tower Gardens.

It comes after King Charles III , Anne, the Princess Royal, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward each stood on one of the four corners of the oak coffin with their heads bowed in a ceremony known as the Vigil of the Princes last night.

The Duke of York kept his eyes closed for a period of time during the 10-minute vigil, while the Princess Royal and Earl of Wessex had their eyes fixed towards the floor. The King – his eyes moistening – kept his hands joined and also looked towards the floor as members of the public filed past.

The King and his family stood alongside four suited members of the Royal Company of Archers, who were standing guard dressed in long-feathered hats and armed with arrows and quivers.

Members of the public – who have been filing past the coffin in their thousands throughout the afternoon – were briefly held back to allow the royals to take their place. However, they continued to file past once the vigil began, offering them an extraordinary perspective on the historic moment.

A number of members of the public bowed as they passed the King, with others walking solemnly by with heads down. Charles wore the Prince Charles Edward Stuart tartan and white heather in his lappelle from Balmoral, while Anne and Edward appeared in military uniform.

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