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Friday, 15 February, 2002, 17:24 GMT
Sombre mood on Windsor streets
Pall bearers with coffin
Margaret's coffin arrived in Windsor on Thursday
BBC News Online's Margaret Ryan took in the mood on the streets of Windsor before Princess Margaret's funeral.

As the Royal Family prepared for the private funeral of Princess Margaret a growing crowd of mourners gathered in the sunshine outside Windsor Castle to pay their respects.

Around 3,000 people, some clasping small Union Jack flags, rubbed shoulders with the media behind crowd control barriers.

In the hour before the funeral, mourners began arriving in mini-buses, limousines and on foot.

Shops around the castle remained open, though some planned to either close for an hour during the service or hold a minute's silence as it started.

But otherwise the town's bustling life seemed to go on as usual with Friday afternoon shoppers mingling with office workers on their lunch hour.

Few roads were closed and there was only a small police presence. The emotional scenes of Princess Diana's funeral at Westminster Abbey were not to be repeated here.


But for those who had come along from as far afield as Canada this was a sad day and one that they wanted to be a part of.

She was wonderful with charities and was a wonderful mother

Phil Smith
Mick Hopkins, 69, from Addlestone, in Surrey, had brought along his 14-year-old grandson Lee.

He said: "It's a bit of history so that my grandson can say he was here on this day."

Lee said: "I didn't really know much about her. It was different when Princess Diana died - my mum was very upset.

"It was a lot bigger. People didn't know that that was going to happen."

'Mark of respect

Phil Smith, 37, took a day off work and came all the way from Northampton, just to leave flowers with security staff at the castle gates.

Wellwishers gathered outside Windsor Castle
Mr Smith said: "I wanted to do this as a mark of respect. We have lost a senior member of the royal family.

"I don't want to see us end up in Europe. We are unique. The Royal Family puts duty before everything."

As for Princess Margaret, he said: "She was wonderful with charities and was a wonderful mother."

Natalie Wright, manager of Glorious Britain, a gift shop opposite the castle, said it would be closing for an hour this afternoon.

She said: "This is a sad day for the people of Windsor.

"Princess Margaret did a lot for charity, especially the Brownies. She had a massive presence for them. She has been so ill in the past year, though she has come out of the public eye."

The 25-year old continued: "With the Royal Family being here so much, a bit of Windsor has died."

'Hard for the Queen'

Margaret Kittle came from Canada. A passionate royalist, she has made the transatlantic journey for many occasions including the funeral of Princess Diana.

I don't even know what she looked like

Kieron Quinn
And she intends to be back again this year for the Golden Jubilee celebrations.

"I always liked Princess Margaret and the Queen from when I was a little girl," she said.

"It has been very hard for the Queen. I saw her yesterday at Great Ormond Street Hospital. And it must be hard for the Queen Mother losing her child."

She said it was nice that Princess Margaret would have a genuine private funeral.

Interesting spectacle

But there was little sense of a national outpouring of grief in Windsor today.

For some the event was little more than an interesting spectacle.

Piotr Rosinski, 29, who teaches languages for the Foreign Office and lives in Windsor, said: "In Poland our last king died in 1794. It's different how people get excited in this country about the Royal Family.

"Of course it's sad because somebody died. It was very different when Diana died because her life was so public. She was regarded as the people's person abroad."

And for 18-year-old Kieron Quinn, a sales assistant in a mobile phone shop within sight of the castle, it was business as usual.

"I don't even know what she looked like. I don't really care about the Royal Family," he said.

Eileen Batter, 69, said she thought that it was a generational thing.

She came from the Isle of Wight to be in Windsor for the day.

"I remember Princess Margaret. It's very sad.

"But I don't think young people would know so much about her."

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15 Feb 02 | UK
14 Feb 02 | Europe
12 Feb 02 | UK
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