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Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin leaves Balmoral for six-hour journey to Edinburgh

Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin left her beloved Scottish estate Balmoral Castle on Sunday as the monarch who died after 70 years on the throne begins her last journey back to London for a state funeral.

The hearse drove past piles of flowers and other tributes as it led a seven-car cortege from Balmoral, the summer retreat where the queen died Thursday, for a six-hour journey through Scottish towns to Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh.

The late queen’s coffin was draped in the Royal Standard for Scotland and topped with a wreath made up of flowers from the estate, including sweet peas, one of the queen’s favourites.

“A sad and poignant moment as Her Majesty, The Queen leaves her beloved Balmoral for the final time,” the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon tweeted.

“Today, as she makes her journey to Edinburgh, Scotland will pay tribute to an extraordinary woman.”

Crowds lined parts of the route as the nation mourns its longest-reigning monarch, the only one most Britons have ever known. In the Scottish village of Ballater, where residents regard the royal family as neighbours, hundreds of people watched in silence and some threw flowers in front of the hearse as it passed.

Before reaching the Scottish capital, the cortege is travelling down what is effectively a royal memory lane — passing through locations laden with House of Windsor history including Dyce, where in 1975 the queen formally opened the U.K.’s first North Sea oil pipeline, and Fife near St. Andrews University, where her grandson William, now the Prince of Wales, studied and met his future wife, Catherine.

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