he late Queen currently lies in an oak coffin in a “scene of quiet dignity” in the Ballroom of Balmoral Castle.
Draped with the Royal Standard for Scotland and with a wreath of flowers on top, it has remained at rest to allow loyal Balmoral estate workers, who devoted years of service to the monarch, to pay their last respects.
It will be lifted into a hearse on Sunday at 10am by six of the estate’s gamekeepers, who have been tasked with the symbolic gesture, ready for a six-hour journey to Edinburgh.
A Palace spokeswoman said: “It is obviously people who have known Her Majesty well and it’s a personal connection.”
The arrangements at Balmoral are being overseen by Richard Gledson, factor of the Balmoral Estate, with the Reverend Kenneth MacKenzie, minister of Crathie Church, in attendance.
A senior palace official said: “On Thursday September 8, The Queen passed away peacefully at Balmoral Castle.
“She currently lies in an oak coffin covered with the Royal Standard for Scotland and with a wreath of flowers laid on top, in the Ballroom of Balmoral Castle.
“This enables the Balmoral Estate Staff, many of whom have spent a good deal of their lives in Royal Service there, to pay their last respects. It is a scene of quiet dignity.”
On Sunday, the coffin will leave Balmoral Castle for its six hour procession, slowing to allow people to witness the momentous occasion as it passes through towns and villages and via Aberdeen to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.
It will be accompanied by the Earl of Dalhousie and the Minister of Crathie Church and driven in a hearse provided by William Purves, a company from Edinburgh which was founded in 1888 in the reign of Queen Victoria.
The coffin will remain in the Throne Room at Holyroodhouse overnight, where the staff of Holyroodhouse will be able to pay their final respects, before a procession on Monday along the Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral for a service, a Vigil of the Princes featuring the King and other royals, and a mini lying in state where the public will be able to pay their respects for 24 hours.
The procession along Edinburgh’s historic Royal Mile will feature the King and the late Queen’s other children the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex following behind on foot, along with Anne’s husband Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.
The Queen Consort and the Countess of Wessex will follow by car and also attend the service in St Giles’s.