King Charles pauses for sombre vigil beside Queen's coffin

There was a powerful historic moment as the King and his siblings stood watch over their Queen's coffin as it lay in state in Edinburgh on Monday - James Mates reports

King Charles III paused for a public vigil beside his mother's coffin as she Lies in Rest in Edinburgh.

For ten minutes, and in full view of the world, the grieving monarch stood gravely by the Queen's coffin, flanked by his siblings, next to the Queen's coffin at St Giles’ Cathedral.

Charles, the Duke of York, and his siblings the Princess Royal, and the Earl of Wessex, stood around the coffin as the first members of the public to pay tribute to Her Majesty filed past, paying their final respects

Watch as King Charles and his siblings stand by the Queen's coffin as the public file silently past

The cathedral had opened earlier in the evening for people to walk past the monarch as she Lies in Rest, and they continued to walk past in silence as the royals stood.

The Queen's coffin, which was carried in by the Royal Regiment of Scotland, will lie in the cathedral for 24 hours to allow members of the public to pay their respects.

Watch as the first mourners file past the Queen's coffin

Among the first people to view the coffin were wheelchair users, some of whom had been queueing for hours.

People who viewed the coffin have spoken about their experiences, with some well-wishers having been in line since 7am for the service, which was scheduled to start at 7.20pm on Monday.

Wheelchairs users were among the first to enter St Giles's Credit: PA

Karen Whitehouse left her home in Loweswater, Cumbria, at 2am this morning to start queuing to pay her respects to the late monarch in the Scottish capital.

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

The first members of the public enter St Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh. Credit: PA

“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.”

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

One woman had to be supported as she passed the Queen's coffin weeping, ITV News reports

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.”

Later, 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 into the cathedral, to join the mourners.

Charles and his siblings each stood by a corner of the raised platform the coffin was resting over, as they held the public vigil at St Giles.

The procession of Queen Elizabeth II's coffin from the Palace of Holyroodhouse to St Giles Cathedral. Credit: PA

Earlier in the day, the new King and Camilla, the Queen Consort, arrived at the Scottish Parliament, where tributes were paid to the Queen as part of a motion of condolence in the debating chamber. The King met leaders of Scotland’s main political parties, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, of the SNP, and Douglas Ross of the Scottish Conservatives.

Nicola Sturgeon during the Service of Prayer and Reflection for the Life of Queen Elizabeth II at St Giles' Cathedral. Credit: PA

Ms Sturgeon said that Scotland “stands ready” to support King Charles as he continues his mother’s legacy of public service.

“We are honoured by the presence today of His Majesty, King Charles III, and The Queen Consort,” she said.

“Your Majesty, we stand ready to support you, as you continue your own life of service – and as you build on the extraordinary legacy of your beloved mother, our Queen.

“Queen Elizabeth, Queen of Scots – we are grateful for her life. May she now rest in peace.”

The King addressed the Scottish Parliament, after party leaders paid tribute to the Queen in a special session. Credit: PA

Addressing the Scottish Parliament afterwards, the King talked about how many people in Scotland shared "a profound sense of grief" with him over the death of Her Majesty.

“Through all the years of her reign, the Queen like so many generations of our family before her, found in the hills of this land and in the hearts of its people, a haven and a home,” he said.

“If I might paraphrase the words of the great Robert Burns, my dear mother was a friend of man, a friend of truth, a friend of age and guide of youth. Few hearts like hers, with virtue warmed, few heads with knowledge so informed.”

The King then said his other Scottish titles including Duke of Rothesay had now passed to his son William.

Also on Monday afternoon, the new King, and his three siblings, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, and the Earl of Wessex, walked the route to the cathedral to attend a service of thanksgiving.

The Queen Consort and the Countess of Wessex were following in a car - but William, the new Prince of Wales, and his brother Harry did not take part in the procession.

The coffin, which travelled from the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the sovereign’s official Edinburgh home, was draped with the Royal Standard in Scotland and dressed with a wreath of flowers as the Queen was taken to St Giles.

She was lifted out of the hearse and brought into the place of worship. A service of remembrance was held, before mourners are allowed to pay their respects.

As the coffin made its way through the cathedral the choir sang Thou Wilt Keep Him In Perfect Peace, Whose Mind Is Stayed On Thee.

Those attending the service were captured singing Psalm 23, the Lord's My Shepherd, a hymn said to be favoured by the Queen and sung at her wedding to Prince Philip in 1947.

The national anthem, God Save The King, was sang near the end of the service.

The Queen Consort, Duke of York, Earl of Wessex, Princess Royal and her husband Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence could be seen singing as they stood alongside the King in front of the late Queen’s coffin.

Royal family members during a Service of Prayer and Reflection for the Life of Queen Elizabeth II at St Giles' Cathedral. Credit: PA

During the service, The Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields said in his homily: “Much has been said about the Queen’s contribution to the life of the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, which meant so much to her.

“But here in Scotland we acknowledge with gratitude her deep links with our land and its people. Her love of the Balmoral estate is well known and being there latterly brought her great comfort.

“There she was valued as a neighbour and friend, and there she drew strength and refreshment during the summer months."

The Queen will Lie at Rest in the cathedral until Tuesday afternoon.

This means that members of the public will be able to view the coffin to pay their respects for 24 hours before it is taken to London ahead of a period of Lying in State.

Earlier, King Charles was given the ceremonial keys to the city of Edinburgh as part of the Ceremony of the Keys.

In keeping with tradition, he handed them back, entrusting their safekeeping to the city's elected officials.

Members of the public travelling to Edinburgh to pay their respects were urged to leave extra time as the Scottish capital welcomed thousands of people.

King Charles III inspects the Guard of Honour as he arrives the Ceremony of the Keys at the Palace. Credit: PA

People could be seen climbing on top of road barriers on the Royal Mile to catch a glimpse of the King and the Queen Consort as they arrived in Edinburgh. Visitors described the atmosphere in the area as lively.

Strict road closures were in place surrounding the Mile, which runs from the Palace of Holyroodhouse up to Edinburgh Castle.

An officer looks through binoculars before the Service of Prayer and Reflection for the Life of Queen Elizabeth II at St Giles' Cathedral. Credit: PA

It was announced on Monday that a national minute's silence would be held at 8pm on Sunday, the night before the Queen's funeral is due to be held in Westminster Abbey.

The moment of reflection will be held to bring the public "together and observe a national moment of reflection to mourn and reflect the legacy of Queen Elizabeth II”, the prime minister's official spokesman said in a statement.

ITV News' James Mates reports on the fourth day after the death of the Queen

Earlier on Monday, during an event at Westminster Hall in London, where both Houses of Parliament gathered to express their condolences to the new monarch, the King promised “faithfully to follow” the example of his mother.

The new King quoted Shakespeare when he responded to the formal expression of condolence from MPs and peers, and spoke movingly about the tributes to his mother.

He described the “weight of history” as he stood inside the historic hall.

The remarkable life of the Queen remembered in our latest episode of What You Need To Know