Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

‘It was like your nan passed away’: Villagers who called Queen neighbour tearful as coffin left Balmoral

Ballater was one of the first places the Queen’s cortege passed through on Sunday as her coffin travelled from Balmoral to Edinburgh

Holly Bancroft
in Ballater
Sunday 11 September 2022 12:43 BST
Aerial shots of Queen's coffin making her 'final journey' after leaving Balmoral

Villages who called the Queen their neighbour paid tribute to the late monarch as her coffin passed by on Sunday morning.

To people living in Ballater, a village 15 minutes drive from Balmoral, the Queen’s death on Thursday was like ‘losing your nan’.

Crowds filled Ballater to pay their respects (Andrew Milligan/PA) (PA Wire)

The Queen’s coffin began its slow procession through the Scottish Highlands on Sunday, with hundreds of people lining the streets of the village of Ballater to see it pass.

The procession left Balmoral castle at around 10am to begin a 100 mile journey to Edinburgh, where the Queen will lie in rest at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

Mourners were arriving at Ballater from 7am with many travelling hours to get there. The local residents who turned out said they were grieving for one of their own.

As news spread that the Queen’s coffin had left Balmoral castle, the crowds grew silent and dignitaries lined the street in front of Glenmuick Church in preparation.

Richard Baird, commander of Clan Bairgh and a member of the Queen’s ceremonial bodyguard (Holly Bancroft)
The Queen’s coffin passes through Ballater as mourners look on (Holly Bancroft )

When the hearse arrived, onlookers wiped back tears as they watched the coffin, draped in the royal banner of Scotland, drive past.

Richard Baird, commander of Clan Bairgh and a member of the Queen’s ceremonial bodyguard, who was watching the procession, said it was a “very emotional day for the whole country but particularly for Aberdeenshire.”

“The royal family saw Balmoral very much as a home and we all enjoyed having them in the area. They obviously felt very relaxed up here. We think the right place for the Queen to depart this world was in Scotland,” he told The Independent.

It was an emotional moment for many as cortege drove through (Getty Images)

Colin and Patricia Dunmore had travelled from Liverpool on Saturday to be at Ballater to watch the procession. “It took us seven hours,” Mr Dunmore, 58, said.

“We tried to find a hotel near here but the nearest one we could get was 40 miles away. We set the alarm for eight o’clock this morning but I woke up a 5am anyway and thought we best just get here early.”

Colin and Patricia Dunmore had travelled to Ballater from Liverpool (Holly Bancroft)
Margaret Phinn spent three hours travelling from Glasgow (Holly Bancroft/The Independent )

Roe Turrell, 78, who has lived in Ballater for 21 years, said that the royals felt like neighbours.

Describing the Highland village, which is nestled on the edges of the Cairngorms national park, she said: “It’s got a fabulous aura. I came here for the first time 30 years ago and stood on one of the roads and thought I could live here.”

Heating engineer, Martin Conn, 64, said it was an extremely tight-knit community who “looked after the royals when they are here.” “We give them privacy and they are one of the village,” he said.

Ballater minister Rev David Barr said villagers felt the Queen was part of the community (PA)

Reverend David Barr, of the local Glenmwick church, said that people in the area felt like their “nan has passed away”.

“In this village everyone knows each other, everyone’s related to each other. The Queen was part of the community,” he said.

Margaret Phinn, 57, had travelled three hours from Glasgow on Saturday night to be at Ballater on Sunday morning. Clutching a thermos full of tea and a bunch of yellow roses, she told said she wanted to be in Ballater “because it has such close links to the family.”

“The family have always felt more comfortable here. I was so shocked when the Queen died. I thought she would always be here,” she added.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in