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Queen’s final Scottish journey charts a life of service

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh returned to the Forth Road Bridge 50 years after officially opening it.

Queen Elizabeth II will leave her beloved Balmoral for the final time on Sunday and take a journey that will stir memories of her life of service.

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Her cortege will wend its way through villages and towns she knew well. It will skirt cities where she opened hospitals, congratulated business leaders, met schoolchildren and greeted well-wishers.

As well as the villages of Aberdeenshire, where she was considered a neighbour as much as a monarch, it will travel through Aberdeen, then south through Angus, Dundee, Perth and Fife.

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Symbolically, Her Majesty’s coffin will be taken over Queensferry Crossing – a structure she opened in 2017.

Along this journey to her final resting place will be the visible signs of the role she played in shaping modern Scotland.

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Royal Deeside – Church and community

Queen at Crathie church for 100th anniversary of World War One in August 2014Image source, Getty ImagesThe late Queen marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One at Crathie Kirk in August 2014.

When the Royal cortege leaves Balmoral it will pass close to Crathie Kirk – the church where the Royal family have worshipped since Queen Victoria in 1848.

It was an important place to Queen Elizabeth, a woman of great faith. Just last weekend she hosted the Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields, the moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

He said she was “obviously frail…[but] absolutely on the ball”, adding that she was “very much very engaged with what was happening in the church and what was happening in the nation too”.

File photo dated 27/9/2012 of Queen Elizabeth II talks to the local butchers, in Ballater, Aberdeenshire, prior to unveiling a plaque marking a special Diamond Jubilee cairn close to her Balmoral Estate. Scotland was a special place for the Queen over the decades, both for holidays and royal duties. She spent part of her honeymoon at Birkhall on the rural Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire and the estate was her favoured residence in Scotland. Issue date: Thursday September 8, 2022.Image source, PA MediaThe late Queen spoke to the local butchers in Ballater before unveiling a plaque marking a Diamond Jubilee cairn in September 2012

It was also a link to the local community, which included the nearby village of Ballater, where she was considered a local by many.

After flooding caused millions of pounds worth of damage in 2015, the late Queen later met residents affected in an official visit and praised local efforts to recover.

Aberdeen and Dundee – Industry and innovation


Industry - The Queen Inaugurates the Production of North Sea Oil from Forties Field to BP's Grangemouth - Aberdeen. The Queen, flanked by Sir Eric Drake and Mr Colin Smith, presses a button in the control room at Dyce, near Aberdeen, to launch the flow of oil from the Forties Field in the North Sea to BP's Grangemouth refinery 237 miles awayImage source, PA ArchiveQueen Elizabeth II launched the flow of oil from the Forties Field in the North Sea to BP’s Grangemouth refinery

The coffin will be driven along the A93 towards Aberdeen, before turning south and crossing the King George VI bridge, named after her father.

The city was the focus of many trips by the Queen. It was where she opened a children’s hospital in 2005 and hosted a special sitting of the Scottish Parliament in 2002.

But it was perhaps her actions in Dyce in 1975 which had the most profound effect on the city – she pressed a gold-plated button which formally began the operation of the UK’s first oil pipeline.

The 130-mile pipeline from Cruden Bay to Grangemouth served the Forties oilfield 110 miles east of Aberdeen.

It marked the beginning of a North Sea oil industry which brought thousands of new jobs and great prosperity to the north-east of Scotland.

Queen Elizabeth II meets apprentices during a visit to the training school and workshop at the Michelin tyre factory in Dundee.Image source, PA MediaShe met apprentices at the Michelin tyre factory in Dundee in 2016

Heading south on the A90, the coffin will take the Kingsway – designed to commemorate Edward VII – through Dundee.

During a trip to the city in 2016, the Queen met apprentices at the Michelin tyre factory’s training school and workshop.

However, two years later the company announced the closure of the site, with the loss of 850 jobs.

More than 300 million tyres had been produced in the plant, which opened in 1971. It finally closed in June 2020 and is now an “innovation centre”.

Angus – Childhood memories


1931: Future King and Queen, George, Duke of York (1895 - 1952) and Elizabeth, Duchess of York (1900 - 2002), with their daughters, Princesses Elizabeth (centre) and niece Diana, at Glamis Castle in Angus, Scotland, for the Golden Wedding celebrations of the Earl and Countess of Strathmore, the Duchess' parents. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)Image source, Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth (centre) was with her parents and cousin at Glamis Castle in 1931 to celebrate her grandparents’ golden wedding anniversary

Between Aberdeen and Dundee, the Royal coffin will travel along the A90, skirting the Angus town of Forfar.

Nearby is Glamis Castle, the ancestral home of the late Queen’s maternal grandparents and a place where she is said to have spent many happy childhood holidays.

It was where her parents honeymooned and where her mother, Queen Elizabeth, gave birth to her sister, Princess Margaret in 1930.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) stands next to Prince William (R) after his graduation ceremony at St Andrews, Scotland, 23 June 2005. Prince William, the second in line to the British throne, graduated from university 23 June to embark on a new chapter in his life, which will include work experience in London and a possible army career. The 23-year-old said he was entering the "big wide world" after gaining a masters degree in geography from St. Andrews University, Scotland, where he has spent the past four years tucked away from the prying eyes of the media. AFP PHOTO/Michael Dunlea/POOL (Photo by MICHAEL DUNLEA / POOL / AFP) (Photo by MICHAEL DUNLEA/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)Image source, Getty Images
Prince William – now the Prince of Wales – graduated with a degree in geography

Past Perth, the coffin will travel through Fife – a short hop from St Andrews where the late Queen’s grandson William went to university and met his future wife, Catherine.

She joined Prince Philip, her son Charles and his wife, Camilla, at the graduation ceremony in June 2005.

Fife – Naming ships and opening bridges

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh (left) arrive at HMS Queen Elizabeth in Rosyth Dockyard, Fife, where the Queen will formally name the Royal Navy's biggest ever ship, with whisky replacing the more traditional champagne at the ceremony.Image source, PA Media
The Queen was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh as she named the Royal Navy’s biggest ever ship

As the coffin reaches the most southerly point of Fife, it will pass Rosyth where the UK’s largest warship was officially named in her honour, in June 2014.

She smashed a bottle of whisky against the side of the aircraft carrier at Rosyth dockyard.

Six UK shipyards, and more than 10,000 people at more than 100 companies worked on HMS Queen Elizabeth.

It entered service in 2020 and is now the Royal Navy’s Fleet Flagship.

Queen Elizabeth II officially opens the Queensferry Crossing as the Duke of Edinburgh and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon look on, across the Firth of Forth.Image source, PA Media
Nicola Sturgeon looked on as the late Queen cut the ribbon on the Queensferry Crossing

The late Queen opened two bridges across the Forth during her 70 year reign – the Forth Road Bridge in 1964, and the Queensferry Crossing in August 2017.

Her coffin will cross the new Queensferry Crossing, linking Fife to Edinburgh.

She returned to the Forth Road Bridge in 2014 to mark its 50th anniversary and was back just three years later to cut the ribbon on its £1.35bn replacement.

Queen Elizabeth II said the Queensferry Crossing, the UK’s tallest bridge, was a “breath-taking sight” and one of three “magnificent structures” across the Forth.

Edinburgh – A new parliament


Her Majesty the Queen is shown around the new Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood, Edinburgh by Presiding officer George Reid during a ceremony to mark it's official opening. oct 2004Image source, PA

At the end of its journey, the Royal coffin will be taken to the Palace of Holyroodhouse – the Royal residence opposite the Scottish Parliament building.

In a speech to MSPs she acknowledged the construction’s “difficult and controversial birth” and urged them to make Holyrood a “landmark of 21st century democracy”.

She returned in October last year to open the sixth session of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood despite some Covid restrictions still being in place.

Party leadersImage source, Reuters
The leaders of the main political parties in Scotland greeted The Queen before the ceremony last year.

In a speech in the debating chamber, she paid tribute to those who made an “extraordinary contribution” during the pandemic.

And she spoke of her happy memories of Scotland and her “deep and abiding affection for this wonderful country”.

“It is often said that it is the people that make a place and there are few places where this is truer than it is in Scotland.”


Source: BBC

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