THE minister of St Giles’ Cathedral said he was honoured to speak for nation at Royal Thanksgiving service for the Queen but admitted it had also been nerve-wracking.

Rev Calum MacLeod said it was great honour to be able to recognise the Queen's service on behalf of the nation.

Mr MacLeod delivered the call to worship and opening prayer at the Service of Thanksgiving for the life the Queen in the Edinburgh cathedral on Monday afternoon attended by King Charles III, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex.

Read more: King Charles III leads mourners at St Giles' Cathedral service of thanksgiving for the Queen

Prime Minister Liz Truss and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon joined the King at the service in one of Scotland's most ancient churches.

The Queen's coffin leaves St Giles CathedralThe Queen's coffin was placed in the hearse ahead of journey to Edinburgh Airport
Mr Macleod made reference to the role which the High Kirk of Edinburgh had played in Scotland's history over its almost 900-year history from John Knox confronting Mary Queen of Scots to James VI arguing about liturgy and where the late Queen received the honours of Scotland and the Stone of Destiny rested on its return to Scotland.

Speaking after the Service of Thanksgiving, Mr MacLeod said: "It was poignant, meaningful and a great honour to be the person who gets this chance to say a few words on behalf of the nation with thanksgiving for The Queen's life and service." 

The Queen's coffin leaves St Giles CathedralRev Calum MacLeod of St Giles' Cathedral was honoured to lead thanksgiving service

Mr MacLeod, who has been minister at St Giles' since 2014, added that he had worked very closely with the Dean of the Chapel Royal, Professor David Fergusson, The Queen's chief chaplain in Scotland, to mark the Scottish nature of the service, such as including the Gaelic psalm sung by Karen Matheson, best known as the lead singer of the folk group Capercaillie.

"It was very much our sense that we wanted to reflect the tradition of the Church of Scotland in the service because we all know The Queen loved Scotland so much and was a member of the Church of Scotland," he added.

Mr MacLeod, who has met The Queen on a number of occasions and preached in her presence both at St Giles' and Crathie Kirk near Balmoral, said the public response had taken people's breath away with crowds eight deep on the Royal Mile prior to the Service of Thanksgiving.

"The people of Scotland have come out to pay their respects and that has been a lovely thing to be a part of," he continued.

"It is a great honour for us to host the vigil for The Queen and welcome so many people from around the world into the Cathedral. We are pleased with how the Cathedral looks and we are happy for people to come in and experience the transcendent beauty of a great, medieval house of prayer."

Mr MacLeod also stressed that the response of the Church of Scotland to The Queen's loss had very much been a team effort and highlighted the continuing work of the Royal Chaplains who were providing a vigil for The Queen's coffin while it remained at rest in St Giles' Cathedral, and offering pastoral care to any of the thousands of visiting mourners who might be in need.