The Queen’s coffin has been carried aboard the St Giles and will be taken to the Scottish capital’s airport before being flown to London. She will then be taken to Buckingham Palace to rest in the Bow Room overnight.
Mourners were queuing in front of the cathedral on Monday evening to attend their memorial service before it closed its doors on Tuesday afternoon. The Scottish government said more than 26,000 people had outrun the Queen.
The historic visit saw the King arrive at the royal residence, Hillsborough Castle, where he greeted the public and viewed the floral homage. There he met the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Chris Heaton Harris, and leaders of Northern Ireland’s largest political parties.
Charles and Camilla received a letter of condolence from the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Council, Alex Maskay, to which the King replied: “In the years since she began her long life in public service, my mother has seen that Northern Ireland has undergone important historical changes and that in all those years she has not ceased to pray the best The times are for this place and its people.”
King Charles added that he would follow his mother’s lead in dedicating herself “to her country and her people and upholding the principles of constitutional government”.
After the reception at the castle, the King and Queen arrived at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast for afternoon prayers and meditation. They will be introduced to religious and community leaders from across Northern Ireland. More than 800 people are expected to take part in the religious service, which was also attended by British Prime Minister Liz Truss.
His visit comes at a turbulent moment for Northern Ireland, where political tensions are high and major issues around Brexit remain unresolved.
While the majority of the country voted to remain in the European Union in the 2016 referendum, the UK’s ruling Conservative Party signed a Brexit deal that created new tariff barriers between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain.
Elizabeth has been queen for 70 years of Northern Ireland’s 101 year history.
The Queen was through the bloody thirty years of violence known as the “Uprising”, which pitted the United Kingdom’s unionists against Irish nationalists, and the British Crown was a symbol of much of the division of the province.
Unionists are loyal to the Crown and the traditional British values they believe perpetuate. For Irish nationalists, it is a symbol of the British forces that subjugated their ancestors and annexed their lands.
Louis Mountbatten, the last British Viceroy in India, and Charles’s favorite uncle, was murdered by Irish Republicans along with several of his descendants in 1979.
The King and Queen now left Belfast upon their return to London.
CNN’s Nick Robertson and Max Foster contributed to this report.