What is the Royal Company of Archers? Why the soldiers standing vigil with the Queen in Edinburgh carry bows – iNews

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Mourners in Scotland will get the chance to pay their respects to the Queen on Monday and Tuesday, before her coffin is transported to London.
On Sunday her body was taken on a lengthy journey from Balmoral to Edinburgh’s Palace of Holyroodhouse.
A William Purves hearse carried the coffin as it travelled from the Queen’s estate in the rural Scottish Highlands and wound its way through Aberdeen and Dundee before eventually making its way to Edinburgh after a six-hour journey.
On Monday it proceeded down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile from Holyroodhouse to St Giles’ Cathedral.
Here, her body will lie in rest, and thousands of Scots are expected to visit to say their final goodbyes.
While in Scotland, the Queen’s coffin is being guarded round the clock by the Royal Company of Archers. Here’s everything you need to know about them.
The Royal Company of Archers were the official bodyguards of the Queen when she was in Scotland. They will now serve as the King’s Scottish bodyguards.
The Royal Family website states: “The Royal Company of Archers functions as the Sovereign’s ‘Body Guard in Scotland’.
“It performs duties at the request of the Queen at any State and ceremonial occasion taking place in Scotland. The Royal Company also provided a guard on vigil during Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s lying-in-state.”
It continues: “The Royal Company’s most regular duty is to be in attendance at Her Majesty’s annual garden party at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
“About 120 members of the Royal Company form avenues down which the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh proceed while guests chosen at random are presented to them by the company’s captain-general and president of the council.
“Another major duty is attendance outside St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, at the service of installation of Knights of the Thistle. Members of the company also attend investitures at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the presentation of new colours for Scottish regiments.”
Aside from its role as the Sovereign’s bodyguard, the Royal Company of Archers still functions as an archery club, which is what it was originally formed as in 1676.
There are 530 members in total. Members of the Royal Company must be Scots or have strong Scottish connections.
The uniform consists of a dark green tunic with black facings, dark green trousers with black and crimson stripe, and a Balmoral bonnet with the Royal Company’s badge and an eagle feather.
The Queen will lie at rest in St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh from around 5.30pm on Monday 12 September until 3pm on Tuesday 13 September.
The crown of Scotland will be placed on the Queen’s coffin while it lies in rest.
Historically, the crown has been used in ceremonies to represent the sovereign’s presence and it will be placed on Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin by Alexander Douglas-Hamilton, the 16th Duke of Hamilton.
Special wristbands will be issued to those wanting to see the Queen’s coffin while it is in St Giles’, with a queue to start at George Square Lane/North Meadow Walk in The Meadows, where one wristband per person will be issued.
Only people with wristbands will be allowed to enter and flowers are not be permitted to be brought in.
Anyone planning on attending is warned to expect long waits and airport-style security checks.
Mourners are also being asked to pass the coffin without pausing in order to ensure as many people as possible can pay their respects.
Portable toilets will be available on the queue route and visitors will be able to leave the line to use them.
There is an accessible queuing scheme available for blue badge holders.
You must not bring any of the following items into the security search point or St Giles’ Cathedral.
On the afternoon of Tuesday 13 September, the Queen’s coffin will be transported by a Royal Air Force aircraft from Edinburgh Airport, to RAF Northolt. The coffin will be accompanied by the Queen’s only daughter, Princess Anne.
After arriving on Tuesday evening, the coffin will then be taken to Buckingham Palace by road, where it will stay overnight.
On Wednesday, 14 September, a procession will set off from Buckingham Palace.
A gun carriage of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery will carry the coffin through central London to Westminster Hall in the Palace of Westminster, where the Queen’s coffin will lie in state.
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