Princess Royal said it was an “honor and privilege” to accompany the Queen’s coffin as she left Scotland on Tuesday for her journey to Buckingham Palace.
The late monarch’s only daughter said the love and respect shown to the Queen on her journeys from Balmoral to Edinburgh and London were “both humiliating and uplifting.”
The crowds burst into applause as the coffin was taken from Edinburgh’s St Giles Cathedral, where some 26,000 kind people stood in line for hours around the clock to pay their respects.
Princess Anne escorted the caravan to Edinburgh Airport, where the coffin was transported by military transporter to RAF Northolt and transported by rush hour traffic to the center where the Queen will be at Westminster Hall from 5pm on Wednesday.
“It was an honor and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys,” she said in a statement. “It was both humiliating and uplifting to render the love and respect shown by so many on these journeys.”
She finished, “To my mother, the queen, thank you.”
The Princess was in Scotland when the Queen fell ill, and stayed by her bed at Balmoral Castle when the elderly royals hurried to say their goodbyes.
“I was lucky to share the last 24 hours of my dearest mother’s life,” said Anne.
The queen’s coffin arrived at Buckingham Palace just before 8pm on Tuesday, where crowds waited patiently in the rain.
Standing at the grand entrance, King Charles III and his Queen Consort were surrounded by the children and grandchildren of the late monarch and their partners, including the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Prince and Duchess of Sussex.
On the trip to London, sections of busy roads such as the A40 stopped and drivers stood in the central lane, watching the audience lining up on the sidewalks.
It was an echo of scenes from Edinburgh where thousands of people watched the Queen’s final journey after a long day of public ceremonies on Monday, including the king’s first visit to the Scottish Parliament.
Lord Ian Duncan, a deputy speaker in the House of Lords, said the crowds along the Royal Mile were “10 deep” while the streets surrounding the historic quarter were just as crowded with people.
“Huge numbers of people moving to Edinburgh today [indicates] that there will be many tens, perhaps even hundreds of thousands, of people willing to pay homage to the late Queen, Lord Duncan said.
“It is an extraordinary outpouring of respect, regret, celebration of an extraordinary woman,” he continued.
“Luckily they were 10 deep. They had to stop people from trying to get there because it would become dangerous.
“Streets around [the Royal Mile] they were crammed, and now, with people waiting to pass by the coffin itself, the expectation of the number and sheer quantity of humanity in Edinburgh today is extraordinary.
While many people have been warned to expect a 12-hour wait for the monarch’s coffin at St. Giles, those who stood in line overnight said their waiting time was five or six hours.
Gavin Hamilton of Edinburgh said he was informed upon arrival that it would likely be 13 hours before he had a chance to pay his respects to the Queen, but it was soon revealed that the wait would only be five or six hours.
“It took her about five and a quarter of an hour to wait in line,” he said, adding that he had arrived at the cathedral just before 3am.
“In line with me were people who came from Aberdeen, over 100 miles away, to do this. Thousands of people stood in line at the start of the line at 12.30.
“People still [lining up] after 2.50 when I entered the cathedral. “
Fellow mourner Mitch Stevenson, who had waited in line with his sister for less than five hours, said they were “overwhelmed by the power and excitement of the occasion” after they arrived at St Giles Cathedral just after 1am.
The siblings were initially informed that they would likely have to wait 11 hours to see the queen’s coffin, but this was not stopped.
“It was a very important occasion for us – we lost our mom earlier this year and she would love to go there, so we went for her memory as well,” said Stevenson.
“We were told [we would need to wait] about 11 hours. We accepted it, but later it turned out that it is not so, ”he added. “Some people, including me, thought it might be a little scary to reduce the crowd a bit.”