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Sunday, 31 March, 2002, 03:12 GMT 04:12 UK
Queen Mother dies
Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother 1900 - 2002
The Queen Mother has died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 101, with her daughter at her bedside.

She passed away at Royal Lodge, Windsor, at 1515 GMT on Saturday, and the news was announced by Buckingham Palace about two and a half hours later.

Sian Backham leaves flowers at Sandringham House
Sian Backham, aged seven, was among the mourners
It came six weeks after her last public appearance, at the funeral of her daughter Princess Margaret.

Prince Charles is said to be "devastated", while UK Prime Minister Tony Blair led tributes by saying the Queen Mother had been a symbol of Britain's "decency and courage".

The Queen Mother's niece Lady Margaret Rhodes, who was with her when she died, said: "It was a very moving and very sad moment but luckily it was peaceful."

Members of the public have left bouquets of flowers at the gates of Buckingham Palace and other royal residences.

Mourning period

The Queen Mother's coffin is expected to be moved to the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park on Sunday afternoon.

A period of family mourning will follow before the coffin is moved to Westminster Hall in central London, so the public can pay their respects in a move not seen since the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.




She was the backbone of our nation. Her quiet dignity and resilience will always be remembered

Joanna Nelson, UK
Official books of condolence are being opened on Sunday, at St James's Palace in London, Sandringham House in Norfolk and Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh.

They are expected to stay open until the day before the "ceremonial funeral" is held, at Westminster Abbey.

The Queen and other members of the Royal Family will not attend Easter service as planned at St George's Chapel, Windsor, on Sunday and will instead attend a private service.

'Devastated' Charles

It is reported that Princess Margaret's ashes will be interred with the Queen Mother's coffin, in the George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor.

A spokeswoman for Prince Charles, who is on a skiing holiday in Switzerland, said: "He was completely devastated by the news."


The Queen Mother as a young woman
BBC News Online looks back over the remarkable life and times of the Queen Mother


He will leave Switzerland with Princes William and Harry on Sunday morning and will head straight to Windsor.

The Duke of York, who was also abroad, was told the news in Barbados where he was on holiday with his ex-wife, the Duchess of York, and their children.

Other members of the Royal Family are already at Windsor, having arrived there for the traditional Easter gathering.

Alongside the Queen is the Princess Royal, her husband Timothy Laurence and her two children Zara and Peter, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Blair statement

Tributes have been pouring in from world leaders, politicians of all parties, friends, former employees, charities, the sporting world - particularly horse racing - and the Commonwealth.


Her sense of duty and remarkable zest for life made her loved and admired by people of all ages and backgrounds

Tony Blair
Tony Blair led the respects with a statement from his official country residence at Chequers in which he said the whole nation joined with the Queen and Royal Family in mourning.

"During her long and extraordinary life, her grace, her sense of duty and her remarkable zest for life made her loved and admired by people of all ages and backgrounds, revered within our borders and beyond."

Mr Blair is in discussions with the Commons Speaker and other political parties about recalling Parliament so MPs can pay their respects.

Outside Buckingham Palace hundreds of people gathered to read the death announcement posted on the gates or leave flowers.


I will remember the Queen Mother as a people's person

Lilly Pratt
Floris Margaret Astley, 57, of Camden, north London, said: "When Buckingham Palace got bombed during the war, the Queen Mother said: 'Good - at least I can look the East End in the eye'."

Lilly Pratt, 66, from Streatham, south London, said: "I will remember the Queen Mother as a people's person. She felt she suffered the same as us. She was just a very nice person."

A message on one bouquet left at the palace read: "Thank you for all the wonderful years, may you rest in peace."

The union flag is flying at half mast over the palace.

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The BBC's Bridget Kendall
"The tributes have begun"

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30 Mar 02 | UK Politics
30 Mar 02 | UK
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