The King and the Princess Royal were the only two senior members of the Royal family who made it to Balmoral before Queen Elizabeth II’s death, it is understood.
Queen Elizabeth’s sudden decline in health saw her nearest and dearest make an eleventh hour dash to be by her side on Thursday.
But only two of her four children were already in Scotland and managed to make it in time.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, as they were then, were at Dumfries House, his estate in East Ayrshire, when they got the call on Thursday morning and the Queen’s Helicopter Flight was scrambled.
Photographs showed the Prince wearing a light grey suit and clutching a large briefcase as he walked from his official car to the helicopter.
The Princess Royal was already at Balmoral, undertaking various engagements in Scotland and is said to have greeted her brother on his arrival.
Meanwhile, the Duke of Cambridge, the Duke of York and the Earl and Countess of Wessex convened at RAF Northolt in Ruislip, west London.
Royal Air Force flight KRF23R took off shortly after 2.30pm, according to flight tracking website Flightradar24.com, landing in Aberdeen at 3.50pm.
Prince William drove the quartet from the airport to Balmoral and they were pictured sweeping into the gates of the castle shortly after 5pm.
It is possible they had known they would not make it, perhaps even before their plane took off.
In the event, by the time they arrived, it was too late.
Liz Truss, the Prime Minister, had been informed of the Queen’s death at 4.30pm, according to her official spokesman.
The Duke of Sussex was also en route to Balmoral but travelling separately from other members of his family and was some time behind.
As such, he is believed to have been mid-air when Buckingham Palace announced at 6.30pm that the Queen had died, arriving at Balmoral an hour and a half later.
The Duke’s Cessna had been due to land at 6.29pm, a minute before the historic statement. But it was 20 minutes late taking off at Luton Airport, meaning he did not land in Aberdeen until 6.46pm.
The grief-stricken Duke was photographed as he was driven into Balmoral Castle just before 8pm to join other members of his family.
By the time he arrived, the homepage of his Archewell website had been blacked out, simply bearing the words: “In loving memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1926-2022.”
Prince Harry was the first to leave Balmoral on Friday morning, driven out of the gates at 8.20am.
He later boarded a British Airways flight from Aberdeen to Heathrow and is thought to have returned to Frogmore Cottage, Windsor, where the Duchess of Sussex was waiting for him.