NICOLA Sturgeon has described the Queen as the “anchor of our nation” and as somebody who “set an exceptional example to each and every one of us”. 

The First Minister expressed her condolences ahead of King Charles III’s visit to Scotland. 

The Queen’s coffin lay in the Palace of Holyroodhouse overnight having arrived from Balmoral yesterday. 

Sturgeon said the Scottish Parliament and the nation are in mourning, as she paid tribute to the legacy of the late monarch. 

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She said: “For countless people – across our country and around the world – this is a moment of profound sadness.

“We see that in the crowds gathered outside here, at St Giles’ Cathedral and all across Scotland. This Parliament and this nation are in mourning today. 

“At the heart of it all, of course, is the sense of loss felt by those who were closes to Her Majesty.

“Our thoughts are with the entire Royal Family and we are honoured by the presence here of His Majesty King Charles III and The Queen Consort.”

A service for the Queen will be held at St Giles’ Cathedral, where the Queen will then lie in state. 

This evening, the King and the Queen Consort will attend the Scottish Parliament. 

They will meet with the First Minister, as well as Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross, Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar, Scottish Greens co-leader Lorna Slater and Scottish LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton. 

A formal motion of condolence will be tabled by Sturgeon on behalf of the Scottish people at Holyrood

The First Minister said the Queen performer her duties “with dedication and wisdom”. 

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She added: “In an ever-changing world, especially in turbulent times, Her Majesty was the great constant – the anchor of our nation.

“Even towards the end, as her health declined, her genuine love for Scotland and profound sense of public service never faltered. 

“She performed her duties with dedication and wisdom, setting an exceptional example to each and every one of us.

“We stand ready to support His Majesty as he continues his own life of service and builds on the extraordinary legacy of his beloved mother Queen Elizabeth – the Queen of Scots.”