Image Credit: AFP

London: The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II has arrived at Buckingham Palace in London after the 96-year-old monarch's death in her beloved Scotland last week.

The military C-17 Globemaster carrying the monarch's casket touched down at RAF Northolt, an air force base west of the city, about an hour after it left Edinburgh on Tuesday.

UK Prime Minister Liz Truss, Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and a military honor guard were among those greeting the coffin before it was loaded into a hearse. Motorists pulled over and stopped in a show of respect as the illuminated hearse traveled under police escort on a London highway. 

Crowds gathered on London's streets to cheer and weep as the motorcade proceeded to Buckingham Palace, where the country's new King Charles III, the late queen's oldest son, and other members of Elizabeth's immediate family met the hearse at the ceremonial gates.

The coffin will spend a final night at the queen's London home. A horse-drawn gun carriage is expected to take it Wednesday to the Houses of Parliament to lie in state for four days before a Monday funeral at Westminster Abbey.

The queen died Sept. 8 at Balmoral Castle in northern Scotland after 70 years on the throne.

Meanwhile, Charles III made his maiden visit to Northern Ireland as King on Tuesday as part of a tour to all four nations of the United Kingdom before the queen's funeral on Monday next week.

'Behind him'

Charles and his wife, Queen Consort Camilla, greeted crowds who had turned out early to catch a glimpse of the couple at Hillsborough.

Ceremonial gun salutes in his honour then rang out as the royal standard was raised above the castle southwest of Belfast.

Flowers, cuddly toys and handwritten remembrance notes of the late queen had been left at the gates.

"This is very important for Charles to come here," Rhonda Irvine, 47, a wedding and events administrator, told AFP.

Describing Charles's late mother as an "inspiration for him", she predicted he would be a "very good" king.

Ann Sudlow, 61, a retired nurse from nearby Dromore, had also made the early morning drive "to show the king that we're behind him as a country and Northern Ireland is supporting him".


Britain is in 10 days of national mourning for Elizabeth II, who was a fixture of the nation's life and consciousness for seven decades.

The queen's coffin will be on display to the public from Wednesday when the king will lead a procession at precisely 2:22 pm (1322 GMT) attended by his three siblings, Anne, Edward and scandal-hit Andrew.

In Edinburgh, thousands of people queued throughout the night.

"It's part of history We'll never see this again," Lynn Templeton, visiting Edinburgh from northwest England, told AFP after filing past the coffin.

One woman, who gave her name only as Vicki, took an early train from Glasgow with her nine-year-old son "just to pay our respects".

"It's "just a moment in history, once in a lifetime," she said.


An unprecedented security operation is being put in place for the state funeral, which is expected to be attended by hundreds of heads of state and government, as well as global royalty.

"It's a massive challenge for the Metropolitan Police and for me personally, but we have been preparing for many, many years," the newly appointed head of the London police force, Mark Rowley, told Sky News.

Soldiers from the Household Division of regiments, which form the monarch's bodyguard, began practising for the funeral procession in London overnight Monday to Tuesday.

The vast crowds expected in London have resulted in few available hotel rooms, while transport bosses have warned of strong demand.

Hotel prices have rocketed, with a basic windowless basement room in Piccadilly Circus, central London, available for #300 ($350) per night.