LONDON — King Charles III will continue his tour of the nations of the United Kingdom on Tuesday with a visit to Northern Ireland, before returning to London in the evening to meet Queen Elizabeth’s coffin at Buckingham Palace alongside other members of the royal family.
The queen’s body has been in Scotland since she died at her home in Balmoral Castle on Thursday at the age of 96. Her coffin was taken to Edinburgh over the weekend and will be brought to London later on Tuesday.
On Monday, the newly appointed King Charles and his siblings — Princess Anne, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward — walked behind the queen’s coffin as it was moved from Holyroodhouse to St. Giles’ Cathedral, where it remained for a day for members of the public to visit.
The king’s tour of the United Kingdom will end in Wales on Friday. Before then, Charles and his wife, Camilla, the queen consort, will fly to Belfast on Tuesday morning and visit Hillsborough Castle, where thousands of mourners have been laying flowers since the queen’s death.
Hillsborough Castle, a Georgian-era mansion outside Belfast, is a royal residence and the official home of the secretary of state for Northern Ireland. The site played a major part in the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement, which ended years of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. Political parties held discussions there in 1997 and in 1998, the year the agreement was signed.
On Tuesday, Charles will meet with local political leaders at Hillsborough Castle and receive a message of condolence from the speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly. The king will also meet with religious leaders, before attending a service at St. Anne’s Cathedral.
The visit will be Charles’s 40th to Northern Ireland and his first as the monarch. Queen Elizabeth visited Northern Ireland a number of times throughout her reign; one of the most memorable visits was in 2012, during her Diamond Jubilee tour, when she shook hands in Belfast with Martin McGuinness, former commander of the Irish Republican Army. The handshake was seen as a significant gesture for both of them and an affirmation of the peace process.
At 5 p.m., the queen’s coffin is scheduled to be flown from Edinburgh to London, after prayers in St. Giles’ Cathedral. A hearse will take it to Edinburgh Airport, from where it will be flown in a Royal Air Force plane to Northolt, an air base west of central London. Princess Anne will accompany the queen’s coffin on the flight.
From the air base, the coffin will be driven to Buckingham Palace, where a guard of honor will receive it. Pallbearers from the Grenadier Guards will take the coffin to the Bow Room, where it will be placed on trestles in the center of the room. King Charles will be there, as will Queen Camilla and other members of the royal family, according to Buckingham Palace.