Friday, 30 March 2012

On this date: The Queen Mother remembered

Time flies; today is the tenth anniversary of the death of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother of Britain. The Queen Mother died at the Royal Lodge, Windsor, at 3.15 p.m. on 30 March 2002 (Easter Saturday), aged 101 years and 238 days.
Having laid in state in Westminster Hall, her funeral was held in Westminster Abbey on 9 April before burial in St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle.
Among my personal memories of those days are the warm atmosphere when I queued for three or four hours for the lying in state (I did not see a single person leave the queue during those hours) and the sound of the crowd of one million people in the streets singing “God Save the Queen” at the conclusion of the funeral service - as well as the sound of hundreds of bagpipes as the funeral procession made its way from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey, a sound which was very clearly audible where I stood in the Mall.
The Queen Mother’s last semi-public outing was the funeral of her daughter, Princess Margaret, which was held in St George’s Chapel at Windsor on 15 February (the fiftieth anniversary of the funeral of King George VI in the same chapel). Princess Margaret had died on 9 February 2002, aged 71.
Today the British royal family again gathered in St George’s Chapel, this time for a memorial service for Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother and Princess Margaret. Among the family members present were Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, the Princess Royal and Sir Timothy Laurence, the Duke of York, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, the Countess of Wessex, Prince and Princess Michael, Princess Alexandra and Princess Margaret’s children and grandchildren. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a private holiday abroad and thus missed the event.

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