KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH/POOL/AFP via Getty Princess Anne
Princess Anne was by her mother's side when Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully at Balmoral Castle in Scotland on Sept. 8. And she has remained nearby as an oak coffin carrying the beloved monarch makes its way to Westminster Abbey, the site of her state funeral in London on Monday.
"I was fortunate to share the last 24 hours of my dearest Mother's life," Princess Anne, 72, said in a statement released by Buckingham Palace on Tuesday. "It has been an honour and a privilege to accompany her on her final journeys."
Crowds gathered in silence Sunday along the coffin's route south from the site of the Queen's death to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, where Princess Anne curtsied as it was carried inside.
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"Witnessing the love and respect shown by so many on these journeys has been both humbling and uplifting," said Princess Anne, who walked behind the coffin with her three brothers, including King Charles III, in an emotional procession through the Scottish capital along the Royal Mile to St Giles' Cathedral for the Vigil of the Princes.
Anne became the first female royal to join the symbolic watch.
By Tuesday evening, the coffin arrived by plane in London, where it will travel from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster to lie in state for four days as thousands of Queen Elizabeth's mourning subjects will pay their respects.
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"We will all share unique memories," Princess Anne said in her statement. "I offer my thanks to each and every one who share our sense of loss."
On Monday, British Navy officials will escort the Queen's coffin on a gun carriage, using ropes to pull it, as King Charles, Princess Anne and other members of the Royal Family are expected once again to follow the coffin in a silent procession as members of the public line the city streets.
The Queen's funeral will be televised and attended by heads of state and major figures from around the world, including U.S. President Joe Biden and his wife, First Lady Jill Biden.
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"We may have been reminded how much of her presence and contribution to our national identity we took for granted," Anne said of her mother's unrivaled reign across seven decades.
Princess Anne is the second child and only daughter of the late Queen and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who died in April 2021, at 99. Her eldest brother, formerly the Prince of Wales, became King at the moment of their mother's death. He was later proclaimed the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom by the Accession Council.
"I am also so grateful for the support and understanding offered to my dear brother Charles as he accepts the added responsibilities of The Monarch," Anne said in closing her statement. "To my mother, The Queen, thank you."