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Friday, 5 April, 2002, 11:45 GMT 12:45 UK
Thousands line royal procession
Royal Family members followed the coffin
Three generations of the Royal Family have joined a procession carrying the Queen Mother's coffin through London.

The procession from St James's Palace to Westminster Hall, where the Queen Mother is now lying in state, lasted for 30 minutes.

It was the biggest event of its kind for 50 years.

Police estimated 250,000 members of the public lined the streets to watch in respectful silence.

  Click here for full audio and video coverage

The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princes William and Harry walked behind the gun carriage bearing the coffin to the hall, where it will lie in state until Tuesday's funeral.

Close-up of flowers with a card reading
The coffin was topped with a wreath from the Queen
The teenage princes were bare-headed and dressed in morning suits, in contrast to other family members in their military uniforms.

In a break with tradition, the Princess Royal joined the male members of the family and up to 1,700 troops marching the route.

The coffin was draped in the Queen Mother's personal standard and surmounted by her diamond-encrusted crown.

It was topped with a single wreath of white roses and freesias from the Queen, and accompanied by a card reading 'In Loving Memory, Lilibet'.

Applause for Queen

The Queen, dressed in black, did not join the procession, but went to Westminster Hall for the prayer service marking the beginning of the lying-in-state.

With Prince Philip she led the royal procession into the hall, followed by the Prince of Wales with Princes William and Harry and other family members.

The Queen journeying to Westminster Hall
The Queen did not join the procession
MPs, headed by Prime Minister Tony Blair, members of the House of Lords and many other VIPs, including Commonwealth representatives, were also at the hall.

A 13-strong joint choir from Westminster Abbey and the Chapels Royal sang a short psalm as the coffin was carried into Westminster Hall by eight pall bearers from the Irish Guards.

A specially-written prayer was read out by the Archbishop of Canterbury, giving thanks for the Queen Mother's life and praising her "unwearied service" and "loyalty".

Prince William and Charles
Prince William and Prince Charles marched solemnly
After the procession, the Queen and other members of the Royal Family were driven to Windsor Castle.

The Queen was clearly moved by an outbreak of applause by people lining the roadside as her car passed by.

The Prince of Wales, with William and Harry, returned to St James's Palace.


The crowds, which had begun gathering overnight, were 15-deep in places by the time of the parade.

  • The coffin will lie in state until Monday evening
  • Westminster Hall is open from 1400 BST on Friday
  • The hall is more than 900 years old

      Find out more

  • Members of the public said the procession was "dignified and honourable".

    Carol Meehan, 62, from Kensington, west London, said: "It was a sad but beautiful day - she went out in style."

    Reg Milliner, 68, from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, said: "It was a good occasion, a sad but beautiful day at the same time.

    "It was a very lovely ceremony that helped us to celebrate and remember her life."

    The coffin will lie in state in Westminster Hall until Tuesday, when it will be taken to Westminster Abbey for the funeral.

    The public will be able to pay their respects on Friday from 1400-1800 BST and from Saturday to Monday from 0800 BST to 1800 BST.

    Live TV pictures of the procession were shown across the world, including the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    BBC World and BBC Prime, which cover 200 countries, also showed the procession.

    The BBC's June Kelly
    "It's been nearly half a century since we've seen anything like this"
    The BBC's Tim Willcox
    "The final preparations for the Queen Mother's last journey"
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