Some threw flowers as Elizabeth’s coffin – draped in the Royal Standard of Scotland with a garland of white heather, dahlia and sweet peas – made its way through the sunny countryside.
It is fitting that the first to see the sarcophagus were the villagers of Ballater, with whom Elizabeth had happy times during her summer retreats from the Queen’s burden.
Members of the audience, some in traditional Scottish dress, mingled with local dignitaries, members of the armed forces and church representatives through the quaint village streets, completely silent as the sarcophagus passed.
Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin will travel overland through Scottish towns and villages on its way to Edinburgh, a journey expected to take at least six hours.
The seven-car motorcade left the property gates shortly after 10 a.m. (0900 GMT), bypassing the mass of flowers left there since the Queen’s death was announced on Thursday.
What started when a few local mourners came to pay their respects at Balmoral in the early hours after her death, turned into crowds over the weekend.
Hundreds of bouquets, which included roses, lilies, Scottish herbs and sunflowers, were peppered with cards and gifts.
“Thank you for being you,” read one of the remaining cards in the Sea of Flowers.
“My heart is in the heights,” said another carrying a poem by Scottish patriotic poet Robert Burns.
“Queen of all”
Near the iron railings sits stuffed Paddington Bear, the beloved character of British children’s writers, who shares a cup of tea with the Queen as part of the televised celebrations of her platinum jubilee in June.
Janice Hollis, of Essex, was visiting her sister in Scotland when she heard the news of the Queen’s death and decided to travel to Balmoral.
The 72-year-old said she was in “complete shock, I couldn’t believe it”.
Coming to Balmoral to pay his respects to the Queen was “something I knew I had to do,” said Mark Lindley Highfield, 47, of Inverness, arriving at the castle in full morning dress.
“Paying her respects in this traditional way was a way for me to say thank you for everything you did,” he said.
Marina Hermant, a French tourist, was on the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland when she heard the news of Elizabeth’s death and rearranged her plans.
“She’s not necessarily our queen,” she said, “but she’s kind of the queen of everyone, in the whole world.”
“She’s someone who has distinguished us all, and who has distinguished our parents, grandparents and our generation as well, so it was important to pay tribute to her.” – France Press agency