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Tuesday, 12 February, 2002, 04:07 GMT
Princess to be cremated
Pallbearers carry Princess Margaret's coffin into St James's Palace
Pallbearers carry the coffin into St James's Palace
Princess Margaret is to be cremated in a break from usual royal tradition, the BBC has learned.

It is believed her ashes will be placed beside the coffin of her father King George VI, said the BBC's royal correspondent Jennie Bond.

The funeral is on Friday at St George's Chapel in Windsor - the same place and the same day 50 years ago that her father was buried.

Princess Margaret
Princess Margaret has been praised as a "vibrant, free spirit"
The princess died early on Saturday morning aged 71, after a stroke led to heart problems.

Ms Bond said it is extremely unusual for a member of the Royal family to be cremated but Princess Margaret is believed to have set out in some detail the form she wished her funeral to take.

Buckingham Palace has not officially released the news, she added.

In accordance with the wishes of the Princess's children, Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto, further details of their mother's funeral arrangements will not be made public until later in the week.

Princess Margaret's body left Kensington Palace, her official residence, for the last time just after 1800GMT on Monday.

Roses

The Queen spent an hour paying her private respects at the coffin of her sister before the body was moved to St James's Palace.

It was taken to the Queen's Chapel in a slow-driven hearse.

The Queen's Pipe Major, James Motherwell and a colleague, played a lament, the Skye Boat Song, as they marched solemnly ahead of the car.

Wearing red tartan kilts the pipers led the hearse along the dimly lit private lane linking the Palace with a Kensington High Street bustling with commuters.

Minute silence

At the junction, they stood aside and saluted smartly as the coffin, draped in Margaret's personal standard, swept past.

White lilies and roses surrounded her coffin.

The Queen Mother is reported to have told aides she is determined to attend the funeral.

Doctors are concerned the 101-year-old may be too frail to travel from Sandringham, in Norfolk, to Windsor.

But she has made it clear to courtiers she wants to attend, despite battling to shake off a persistent chesty cold.

Flowers
Flowers and tributes have been left outside the palace
The House of Commons observed a one minute silence on Monday as a mark of respect.

Members of her family and her closest friends are expected to pay their last respects at the Queen's Chapel, where it will remain until Thursday.

Princess Anne, who is in New Zealand, is expected to visit the Winter Olympics in the United States before returning to Britain for the funeral.

It is understood the Queen and other members of the Royal Family will carry out official engagements this week.

Members of the public have been paying tribute to Margaret at St James's Palace, where books of condolence have been set up.

Condolence e-mails can also be sent to the princess's memorial website at www.royal.gov.uk and will be passed to her family.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jennie Bond
"In a break from tradition, the Princess' body will be cremated"

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TALKING POINT

Princess Margaret 1930-2002

Talking PointFORUM
Christopher Warwick, the official biographer of Princess Margaret, will take your questions on Monday at 1415 GMTRoyal profile
Ask the official biographer: 1415GMT
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10 Feb 02 | Scotland
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