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A final farewell: Queen leaves her beloved Scotland – Princess Anne opens up on ‘honour’

Devoted Princess Anne has made a poignant journey with the late Queen’s coffin from Scotland to London.

The coffin, accompanied by the Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, landed at RAF Northolt just before 7pm.

It will now be transported to Buckingham Palace in central London on a state hearse where it will be received by the King and Queen Consort as well-wishers line the streets.

Earlier today, the late Queen’s coffin left St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh where it had been lying in rest for 24 hours.

Crowds could be heard applauding in moving scenes as the royal cortege made its way to Edinburgh Airport.

The RAF plane took off just before 5.45pm as the late Queen departed Scotland for the last time with her daughter as the national anthem played in deeply moving scenes.

In a statement paying tribute to her late mother tonight, Anne said: “I was fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest mother’s life. It has been an honour and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys. Witnessing the love and respect shown by so many on these journeys has been both humbling and uplifting.

“We will all share unique memories. I offer my thanks to each and every one who share our sense of loss.

“We may have been reminded how much of her presence and contribution to our national identity we took for granted. I am also so grateful for the support and understanding offered to my dear brother Charles as he accepts the added responsibilities of the monarch.”

She ended her statement: “To my mother, The Queen, thank you.”

Anne was at Balmoral when the late monarch peacefully passed away aged 96 last Thursday. Her journey today mirrors that she made on Sunday, when she again travelled behind the coffin as it was brought down to Edinburgh by car.

At Edinburgh Airport a guard of honour was provided by three officers and 101 soldiers from The Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was among dignitaries present as the coffin was carried on to the plane. Ms Sturgeon said: “Scotland has bid a final and poignant farewell to our much loved Elizabeth, Queen of Scots.”

People have gathered in the rain along the A40 in hope of paying their respects to the Queen as she is driven from RAF Northolt to Buckingham Palace in central London.

On the roadside in Perivale, Beryl Dixon, 76, of Ealing, west London, arrived at about 5pm.

She said: “I’m here to pay my respects on her last journey before she gets to Westminster. There was no way I was going to stand for 30 hours to walk passed the coffin. It was more important for me to see it, so this was the best for me. I did exactly the same thing for Diana.”

A nine-year-old boy waiting in the rain to say goodbye to the late Queen said she was “like everyone’s grandmother”.

Marcus, who was with his parents Paul and Dorota James, said: “It feels like she was a part of all of us, she was absolutely a part of all of us, she made all of us. She was like everyone’s grandmother.”

The King and Queen Consort will receive the coffin at Buckingham Palace, where the late Queen spent so many of her decades on the throne.

The Prince and Princess of Wales will also be at the royal residence, as well as Princess Beatrice who arrived at around 4.45pm.

A guard of honour formed of three officers and 96 soldiers from The King’s Guard will be mounted in the Quadrangle.

Military commands, usually shouted, will be given as quietly as possible in honour of the solemn occasion.

The coffin will be carried by a bearer party to the Bow Room where a sovereign’s piper will play a lament.

It will remain in the Bow Room overnight before a procession on Wednesday to Westminster Hall for the start of the lying in state.

Some 300 police officers are stationed on the roads surrounding RAF Northolt ahead of the arrival of the Queen’s coffin by plane there on Tuesday evening.

One officer is stood per 20 yards as part of security arrangements, as huge crowds are expected to watch the flight from the roads, the RAF has said.

Members of the public are already queueing for the Queen’s lying in state which opens tomorrow.

The late Queen’s coffin stood on public view at St Giles’ Cathedral for 24 hours with thousands of people solemnly walking past to pay their respects to the nation’s longest-reigning monarch. Demand was so high the queue had to be closed after noon on Tuesday.

Honeymooners Steven and Elizabeth McCrite, from Orlando, Florida, were among those who paid their respects to the Queen during the period in Edinburgh.

Mrs McCrite, 22, commented: “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing, we’re not going to be able to do it again.”

Support worker Bethany Walker, 21, said she came straight from her nightshift to queue. She added: “It’s a historic event and we want to be there. It’s part of the history books.”

Earlier today, Charles visited Northern Ireland with Camilla as part of his Operation Spring Tide tour around the UK.

The King and Queen Consort touched down in Belfast before travelling to Hillsborough Castle in Co Down, the royal residence in Northern Ireland, for several engagements.

They held a private audience with the new Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris, as well as meeting representatives of political parties in the region.

The couple then received a message of condolence on behalf of the people of Northern Ireland from the speaker of the Stormont Assembly Alex Maskey.

They went on to a reception at the castle, hosted by Mr Heaton-Harris, which some members of the public also attended.

Charles and Camilla then travelled to St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast where they attended a service of reflection for the life of the Queen.

The King and Queen Consort ended the packed visit with a walkabout at Writers’ Square.

On Monday, both Houses of Parliament gathered at Westminster Hall in London to express their condolences to Charles.

He later travelled north of the border and led members of the Royal Family in a procession in Edinburgh behind the Queen’s coffin from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles’ Cathedral.

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