Wednesday 22 November 2017

Royal death - March 30, 2002

Britain bids farewell to Queen Mother

The Queen Mother with William Tallon pictured in 2008. Photo: Reeman Dansie Auctions/PA Wire
The Queen Mother with William Tallon pictured in 2008. Photo: Reeman Dansie Auctions/PA Wire

More than one million people lined the streets of London to celebrate the life of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, who died aged 101.

Hundreds of loyal citizens began paying their respects at palaces across the country within hours of her death being announced on March 30, 2002.

Although she reigned for less than 15 years, she was a firm favourite with the British public, in part because of her stoic reply on whether she and her family would move abroad during the Blitz.

"The children will not leave until I do. I shall not leave unless their father does, and the king will not leave the country in any circumstances," she said.

Tributes upon her death spoke of her outgoing and sociable nature, and ability to give the most pretentious function "the air of a jumble sale" as she chatted to all.

Her daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, was at her bedside when she passed away at the Royal Lodge in Windsor shortly after 3pm.

Her funeral arrangements had been planned for years, and 10 days of national mourning were announced before a ceremonial funeral at Westminster Abbey on April 9.

Her coffin rested at Windsor for three days before being moved to Westminster Hall, where it lay in state, guarded by a contingent of Gentleman at Arms and Yeomen of the Guard.

She was laid to rest beside her husband at Windsor Castle.

She died just months after the death of her daughter, Princess Margaret, and the funeral was broadcast around the world.

However, there was some controversy, with the BBC accused of not showing appropriate respect by not insisting on broadcasters wearing black attire.

The British prime minister, Tony Blair, was also forced to deny accusations he had attempted to use the funeral to raise his profile.

Irish Independent

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