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Quiet stillness in Highlands and Moray as people come together to watch Queen’s funeral

queen's funeral inverness
Members of the Royal British Legion Scotland and Inverness residents gathered at the Inverness branch to watch the Queen's funeral. Picture by Ross Hempseed

A quiet stillness descended on Highland and Moray communities as people gathered to watch the final journey of Queen Elizabeth II.

The streets of Inverness were eerily quiet on the day of Her Majesty’s funeral, with a stiff autumn wind breezing through the High Street as residents stayed indoors in front of their televisions.

The weather suggested winter was coming as temperatures dipped and leaves crisped up into the browns and yellows associated with the changing of seasons.

Many of the shops on Inverness High Street were closed out of respect. Picture by Ross Hempseed.

This is perhaps relevant to the day’s occasion, as the nation says goodbye to, for many people, the only monarch they have ever known.

At the retail park to the east of Inverness, cars were scattered across the car park, with some people having reserved tickets to watch the Queen’s funeral at the Vue Cinema.

With popular shops like Boots, JD Sports and Tesco having closed out of respect, the streets looked all but abandoned.

Tourists still out and about as city centre deserted

The loud hustle and bustle of cars and voices were replaced with a stillness that could almost be suffocating were it not for the whistles of birds to break the tense atmosphere.

There were signs of life as you moved into the city centre, with people going about daily business and the last tourists of the season capturing Inverness in its autumnal glory.

Bus services were still running, albeit carrying few people, while people walked their dogs down Academy Street and visitors waited near their coach outside Travelodge.

Handfuls of people were still out exploring, with some taking pictures on Ness Bridge against the backdrop of the iconic Inverness Castle.

Veterans and mourners gathered at the Royal British Legion Club to pay tribute to their long-serving patron, with a short service before the funeral for nearly 100 people.

Many had turned out, proudly displaying their medals, while others were decked out in all black with splashes of tartan for a true Highland flair.

Inverness branch chairman, Bart Lucas, found the service “very emotional” and as an armed forces veteran still thinks of the Queen as “the boss”.

He said: “She has been a consistent and steady presence throughout many people’s lives and especially during my service.

“Many veterans and members of the Royal British Legion hold her in such high regard because she was our Commander-in-Chief.

“Once you take the oath to serve the Queen, that ties you in for life.”

As the lone bagpiper played, some shed a tear as melody of “Sleep, Dearie Sleep” faded into silence.

queen's funeral inverness
The heavens opened and the sun shone down on Inverness following the conclusion of the Queen’s funeral service. Picture by Ross Hempseed


In Nairn, the streets were empty, with few shops open on such a historic day.

After the funeral service finished at noon, it was fitting the sun broke free of the cloud cover, showering the town and the iconic beach with gentle warmth.

Tourists with cameras were patrolling the sandy Nairn beach as they looked out across the Moray Firth, with the soft rhythmic sounds of gentle waves in the background.

Even though no schools were open on Monday, the bell signalling the start of the lunch hour at Rosebank Primary School echoed throughout the town centre.

Nairn High Street deserted as people watch the Queen’s funeral. Picture by Ross Hempseed.

The quiet streets of Nairn contrasted with the still busy A96 Inverness to Aberdeen road, with lorries, motorhomes and tractors still working.

Meanwhile, two paragliders, one with an orange chute, the other with a blue chute, flew between Nairn and Forres.


Many businesses on the High Street and the St Giles Centre had closed for the day, leaving the normally lively centre, eerily quiet.

At St Giles Church in the centre of Elgin, a small congregation of four people had gathered to watch the funeral and procession.

Stuart Lynch, an elder of the church, said: “I found the event very moving. The Queen led a remarkable life, and her Christian commitment was very clear in the many things she did in her life and the way she regarded people.”

queen's funeral
St Giles Church in Elgin High Street where floral tributes to the Queen were laid. Picture by Ross Hempseed.

Floral tributes have been left outside St Giles Church, with many residents coming to pay their respects.

Mr Lynch added: “There’s been a steady stream of people coming to the church and signing the book of condolence, which shows the regard that the people of Moray had for Her late Majesty.”

Across the Highlands and Moray, people came together with relatives, friends and even strangers to mark the historic final journey of the Queen.

It shows the extent of the respect and love the Queen showed her entire life, that her people can give her a well-deserved thank you.

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