Thousands line the streets of Belfast for a glimpse of the King and Queen Consort

Thousands of people lined the streets of Belfast to catch a glimpse of the King and Queen during their visit to Northern Ireland.

People began to gather early in the morning, hoping to get the best vantage point behind the metal railings along the downtown route.

As Charles and Camilla in the royal cavalcade passed Wellington Place, Donegall Square North, Chichester Street and Victoria Street to loud cheers and applause, the crowd was 10 deep in places.

People described the atmosphere as “emotional,” “cheerful,” and “full of excitement.”

Many people held their phones over the crowd to capture the historic moment.

Charles and Camilla attended a number of engagements in the region on Tuesday as part of the King’s tour of Britain’s home countries.

Death of Queen Elizabeth II

King Charles III and the Queen Consort receive a message of condolence from the Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly at Hillsborough Castle (Niall Carson/PA)

The King and Queen Consort arrived at Belfast Airport just before en route to Hillsborough Castle, the royal residence in Northern Ireland, where the royal couple met Northern Ireland’s political leaders and received a message of condolences.

They also viewed an exhibition of pictures showing the Queen in Northern Ireland.

After attending a memorial service for the Queen at St Anne’s Cathedral, Charles and Camilla took a tour of Writers’ Square before leaving Northern Ireland.

Nine-year-old Abby Preston, who waved a flag alongside her little brother Adam and their mother and aunt, told the PA news agency she was “really excited”.

They had queued from 9am and waited for hours for the King and Queen Consort to leave at around 2:45pm.

Death of Queen Elizabeth II

King Charles III during a tour of Writer’s Square in Belfast (Liam McBurney/PA)

Her mother, Jennifer, said her daughter was “more excited” about it than she was about her 10th birthday this week.

Robert Parks, 64, from Portadown, occupied a prime seat on the railing with a Union flag with a printed image of the Queen.

He said he was attending an “act of history.”

“That will not happen to me again in my lifetime,” he added.

Mr Parks also expressed his condolences to the King.

“The shock of his mother’s death was a shock to all of us,” he said.

“Good luck to him, I wish him the best.”

Diana Gott and her friend Helen Elliott traveled from Enniskillen to stand in line at City Hall.

Ms Gott said it was a “privilege” to be there to see the king, adding that the atmosphere was great and everyone in the crowd was “happy”.

Ms Gott, who will travel to London for the Queen’s funeral on Monday, said she met the Queen 10 years ago when the monarch visited Enniskillen.

“I loved the Queen,” she said. “She was a remarkable woman and a great example for the nation.

“My granddaughter gave her flowers and I held her and I met her and this Duke of Edinburgh, she was lovely and so was he. He was quite happy.”

Her friend Helen said it was “emotional” as she described how she has a framed photo hanging on the wall at home of Charles shaking her hand.

Rebecca Hanna, 22, from Killeen, Co Down, said: “I just wanted to see him come over and see the service.

“I’m just surprised at how happy it is. Just because it’s Belfast you’re not sure how it’s going to be – it might be a bit tense – but not at all, it was really good.”

Andrew Hutton, of Conlig, Newtonards, said he had come into town to pay his respects to the king.

Mr Hutton described the Queen as “a one-off”. She is an ambassador for the whole world, not just Northern Ireland and Britain, he added.

Carla Cabal, from Mexico City, who was in Belfast on holiday, said it was a “wonderful opportunity” to see the king.

“It was a great emotion to be here,” she said. “It was exciting. I never thought I would be part of this historic moment.”

After the King and Queen-consort passed, members of the public gathered at City Hall to watch the service for the Queen at St Anne’s Cathedral, which was televised on big screens.

Katie Gaston brought her two young daughters Miriam, eight, and Esme, six, into town for the day.

Miriam told PA it was “exciting” to see the king.

“We saw his head and his face and a piece of his hand,” she said, adding that they waved at him.

Her mother said: “We felt it was important to bring the girls in.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, so obviously they haven’t either. It is a moment in history.”

Ms Gaston said the Queen had “always been there”.

“I think it’s really important that we capture this moment,” she said.

“I thank God for her life, for what she did for us and for the example she was, especially for her belief that she stood firm and tried to stay true to what she believed in.

“That’s what we’re trying to teach the girls.”

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