Queue to see Queen's coffin in Edinburgh closed as 26,000 pay respects

Mourners who queued to pay their respects in Edinburgh tell ITV News reporter Peter Smith what the Queen meant to them.

People have been told the lengthy queue to see the Queen's coffin in Edinburgh is now closed after tens of thousands of mourners attended the vigil in the Scottish capital.

The Scottish government say the queue for the vigil at St Giles’ Cathedral had reached its capacity, with more than 26,000 mourners having already passed through the historic building.

A statement added people should not travel to Edinburgh City Centre to try and access the cathedral for this reason.

"People already in the queue will continue to move forward but no more people will be permitted to join," the statement read.

Scores of people queued late on Monday evening as they waited to enter St Giles' Cathedral. Credit: PA

"There will be an opportunity for people to pay their respects later this afternoon as Her Majesty’s Coffin leaves Edinburgh for the final time."

It came after scores of well-wishers travelled to the Scottish capital to pay their last respects to the Queen, who died "peacefully" at Balmoral last Thursday.

Members of the public started going into the cathedral at about 6pm on Monday.

Her Majesty will Lie at Rest until 3pm on Tuesday, before her coffin is then flown from Edinburgh to London.

ITV Special Coverage of Kings Charles visits Northern Ireland before Queen's coffin returns to London

On Tuesday, King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, left Edinburgh for Northern Ireland as part of a tour of the UK.

The couple’s jet touched down at George Best Belfast City Airport, where the new Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris was waiting to greet the King and his wife.After touching down in Belfast, Charles and Camilla travelled to Hillsborough Castle in Co Down, the royal residence in Northern Ireland, for several engagements.

The King will hold a private audience with the Northern Ireland Secretary as well as meeting representatives of political parties in the region.

It came a day after the new monarch- and his three siblings - staged a vigil around their mother’s coffin at St Giles’ Cathedral, as the first members of the public paid tribute to Her Majesty.

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

Lord Ian Duncan, the Deputy Speaker in the House of Lords, said crowds along the Royal Mile overnight were “ten-deep”, while the streets surrounding the historic precinct were equally crammed with people.

While many people were warned to expect a 12-hour wait to see the monarch’s coffin at St Giles’ Cathedral, those who queued overnight said their wait time was five or six hours. Gavin Hamilton from Edinburgh said he was informed upon arrival it would likely be 13 hours before he would have the chance to pay respects to the Queen.

A steady stream of mourners have been filing past the Queen's coffin overnight and into Tuesday morning. Credit: PA

But it soon became apparent the wait would only be five or six hours.

“It took about five and a quarter hours waiting in line to see her,” he said, adding that he made it into the cathedral just before 3am.

“There were people in the queue with me who had travelled from Aberdeen, over 100 miles away, to do this. There were thousands of people in line at 12.30am at the start of the queue.

“The people were still (lining up) after 2.50 am when I got into the cathedral.”

Members of the public queue to enter St Giles’ Cathedral Credit: Katharine Hay/PA

Fellow mourner Mitch Stevenson, who queued for just under five hours with his sister, said they were “overwhelmed with the power and emotion of the occasion” after making it into St Giles’ Cathedral just after 1am.

The siblings had initially been advised they would likely need to wait 11 hours to see the Queen’s coffin but were not deterred.

“It was a very important occasion for us - we lost our mum earlier this year and she would have loved to have been able to go, so we went for her memory also,” Mr Stevenson said.

“We were told (we would need to wait) about 11 hours. We accepted this but later found out it was not the case,” he added. “Some people, including myself, felt it was perhaps a little bit of scaremongering to get the crowd numbers down a bit.”