Mourners witness the ‘departure of the nation’s soul’ as the Queen leaves beloved Balmoral for the last time

The Queen’s last great journey began in Balmoral yesterday as she left her beloved estate for the last time.

Among those who paid their respects as her hearse slowly passed was Dr. Andre Andrasovska, who said: “What we see today is the departure of the soul of the nation. It is a very significant event.”

The Queen's last great journey began in Balmoral as she left her beloved estate for the last time


The Queen’s last great journey began in Balmoral as she left her beloved estate for the last timePhoto credit: AFP
A somber Princess Royal follows Her Majesty's hearse in a limousine


A somber Princess Royal follows Her Majesty’s hearse in a limousineCredit: PA

At her beloved Balmoral Castle, six of the late monarch’s loyal ghillies and gamekeepers had hefted her oaken coffin on broad shoulders.

It was then carefully loaded into a black Mercedes hearse.

A lone bagpiper played insistently as the ghillies – who had accompanied the Queen on Balmoral’s grouse moors and salmon strikes – said their farewells.

The Princess Royal, 72, made sure the Queen wasn’t alone on her latest voyage.

Accompanied by her husband, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence, Princess Anne followed in a black Bentley saloon.

Anne stared desperately at the hearse in front of them.

It comes as…

Resolute as ever in her duties, she plays a central role in the mourning period.

A small crowd bowed their heads in reverence as the hearse emerged from the wrought-iron gates of the 50,000-acre Balmoral estate at 10.08am.

With a black helicopter overhead, the Cortège slowly moved along the A93 towards the closely linked village of Ballater.

There, the royal family are seen as neighbors by the townsfolk and are on intimate terms with the local shop and business owners.

As the somber procession approached the village’s gray buildings, waiting crowds called for calm from foreign broadcasters.

A group of Highland dignitaries in kilts of orange and green tartan bowed their heads.

James Anderson, Chair of the Ballater and Crathie Community Council, said: “It’s very gloomy here. It’s like we lost a neighbor. I think Balmoral is a haven for the family, they can go about their business when they are here.”

The village is built on granite and used to bitter Highland storms.

Locals do not readily show emotion in public.

But guest house manager Victoria Pacheco revealed afterwards: “People were crying, it was amazing to see. She meant so much to people in that field.”

Wedged between television crews from New Zealand and Japan, I paid silent respect at 10.25am as the Queen’s hearse drove by.

Her coffin was draped with the Royal Standard of Scotland.

It was adorned with a wreath made up of her favorite flowers cut from the Balmoral estate – including sweet peas, dahlias, phlox, white heather and pine fir.

As the funeral procession slowly moved past the red sandstone Glenmuick Church, the Union Flag was lowered next to the white stone memorial to the fallen of both world wars.


A moving moment filled with meaning as the late Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces slowly passed him.

Adults clasped their hands behind their backs and pursed their lips in silent respect.

Young people clutching Union Flags looked on in wonder as the Cortège steadily passed Glenmuick Church, where the monarch had once worshiped.

Reverend David Barr said: “It’s like your mother died, it’s that kind of grief.

“In this village everyone knows everyone. Everyone takes care of each other.”

In winter coats and bobble hats, Dr. Andrasovska – originally from Slovakia – and his wife Lorna with daughter Zofia, ten, and son Jacob, four.

Richard Baird, dressed in traditional Highland dress and clutching a grouse-headed staff, revealed: “We believe Scotland was the right place for the Queen to leave this world.”

Clan Commander Baird added: “The Royal Family considered Balmoral very much home and we all enjoyed having them in the area. They obviously felt very relaxed up here.”

Colin and Patricia Dunmore had traveled 330 miles from Liverpool to attend the procession.

Colin, 58, revealed: “It took us seven hours. We tried to find a hotel nearby but the closest we could get was 40 miles away.

“We set the alarm for 8 a.m., but I still woke up at 5 a.m. and figured we’d best get here early.”

Behind the Queen and her entourage of ceremonial black limousines were a backup hearse, an ambulance and two vehicles manned by masked heavy security personnel.


The vehicles then drove through the pine forests and heather covered cliffs of the Cairngorms.

A light breeze blew wispy clouds over the sunlit peaks.

It was a glorious day in the Highlands, such as the Queen had cherished for nine decades.

The funeral procession later passed through Aberdeen and Dundee on the 175-mile journey to Edinburgh’s Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Thousands lined roadsides and sidewalks to say goodbye.

In Banchory, the largest town in Royal Deeside – 18 miles west of Aberdeen – mourners threw flowers at the hearse as it drove down the main street.

Others clapped as the rear of the entourage drove by.

In another touching moment, farmers in rural Aberdeenshire provided a farm machinery honor guard.

About 40 tractors and a combine harvester were lined up in the fields when the hearse drove past.

Other people had crowded onto motorway bridges over the M90 ​​for a vantage point when the hearse approached Edinburgh.

Mourners swarmed in Scotland’s capital as an honor guard formed by the Royal Regiment of Scotland greeted the late monarch with a royal salute.

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The Queen had left her beloved Highlands behind forever.

Now the pageantry and pageantry more associated with royal life will take place in preparation for Elizabeth II’s funeral on Monday, when the nation bids farewell to a giant of our time.

The Queen's coffin is covered with the Royal Standard of Scotland while north of the border


The Queen’s coffin is covered with the Royal Standard of Scotland while north of the borderPhoto credit: Getty
The wreath included sweet peas, one of the Queen's favorite flowers, dahlias and pines


The wreath included sweet peas, one of the Queen’s favorite flowers, dahlias and pines Mourners witness the ‘departure of the nation’s soul’ as the Queen leaves beloved Balmoral for the last time


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