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Sunday, 31 March, 2002, 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK
World salutes a 'grand old lady'
Queen Mother
The Queen Mother is remembered with fondness
World leaders have been paying tribute to Britain's Queen Mother, who died on Saturday at the age of 101 after seeing out the 20th century.

US President George W Bush was "deeply saddened" by her death, the White House said, while UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said she had "won a special place in the hearts of countless people" worldwide.


The kindness of her smile created one of the most loved faces of our times

French President
Jacques Chirac

Tributes poured in from many Commonwealth countries, including Canada and Australia where her daughter Queen Elizabeth II is monarch.

But they also came from other monarchies and republics, including old allies such as Russia and France who recalled her morale-boosting role during the Second World War.

"In Russia people knew Her Majesty well, and highly valued her contribution to the collective efforts of the anti-Hitler coalition," said President Vladimir Putin.

During the war years with British Prime Minister Winston Churchill
As Queen, she boosted morale at a time when Nazi bombers were pounding Britain

President Jacques Chirac said that the French had come to love her when occupied France and Britain had fought against Hitler.

"The kindness of her smile created one of the most loved faces of our times," he wrote in a personal letter to the Queen.

The Queen Mother's wartime work was also remembered by South African President Thabo Mbeki who praised her for setting "an example to the world in resisting racial tyranny as they did in the war against Hitlerism".

'Timeless values'

Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon praised "an exceptional person" who would be "deeply missed not only in the UK but throughout the Commonwealth and in other parts of the world".

Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, said it was an occasion to "give thanks for a very long and special life".


She had many admirers in Ireland who will mourn her passing

Irish President Mary McAleese

Her life had been "dedicated to service, duty, support and her family", he said.

For Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, she had been a "touchstone of timeless values and continuity".

The president of the Republic of Ireland, which achieved full independence during the reign of her husband George VI, remembered the Queen Mother with affection.

"She was a remarkable woman whose personality, fortitude and strength of character shone through in an extraordinary way to add her long life," said Mary McAleese.

"She had many admirers in Ireland who will mourn her passing."

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden
King of Sweden: "Grand old lady"
Royal families across Europe reacted with dismay to the news of the Queen Mother's death, with King Juan Carlos of Spain delivering his condolences by telephone, the royal palace said.

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf said that the "grand old lady" had "served Britain with humour and elegance to the end".

From Jordan, King Abdullah offered "sincerest condolences to the British royal family for their grave loss".

In Nepal, King Gyanendra said that the death was an "irreparable loss".

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The BBC's Mike Embley
"World leaders have being paying tribute"

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