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Saturday, 30 March, 2002, 22:13 GMT
Q&A: The Queen Mother's death
The Queen Mother's death will be a particular blow to the Prince of Wales, who enjoyed an extraordinarily close relationship with his grandmother. BBC Royal Correspondent Jennie Bond measures the impact of her death on those close to her and reveals how the memories of her long life may have been preserved.

How sudden was her death?

Her health had deteriorated since November, when she made her last major public appearance.

Until a few days ago - I understand - she was quite perky. Even in her wheelchair, about 10 days ago, she attended a party of racing folk in Windsor about the time of the Cheltenham Festival.

But she had become increasingly frail.

Sir Alistair Aird, the Queen Mother's private secretary, saw her on Thursday at Royal Lodge.

He said that she had been quite lucid and she had thanked him for what he was doing.

But, he said that there was a sense that she was departing from life and her frailty was becoming ever more apparent.

Doctors were called on Saturday morning, and family were gathered. She died peacefully and there was a clergyman on hand to comfort the family.

How will her death affect the Royal family?

She had a tremendous sense of fun and enjoyed life to the full.

She was not just a sweet old woman, which is I suppose what younger generations will remember her as.

It has been put to me that she was "steel in a velvet glove".

She was shrewd and tough and, in many ways, she was the linchpin of the family.

Her death is obviously distressing and quite shocking for the family - there was a sense that she would live forever.

But I don't think the family or the monarchy will fall apart because of this tragic event.

How close was she to the Prince of Wales?

The news of her death was delayed slightly, so that he could be told before it was officially announced.

He is said to be completely devastated by the news.

The Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales were extraordinarily close. It was really the most meaningful relationship within the family in his life.

St James's Palace is just a stone's throw from Clarence House. He would always be dropping in for tea: it was a mutual affection .

She doted on him - I don't think he could do anything wrong in her eyes.

How did the death of her daughter, Princess Margaret, affect her?

We were told at the time that she had been very resilient and had taken the news very well - that her daughter had been released from a lifetime of quite considerable suffering.

But of course to watch your daughter die has distressed her enormously.

Perhaps she had become a little depressed.

Her life spanned the 20th Century. Will this "repository" of memories, die with her?

I do believe that she has over the last two or three years spoken at some length to a "person" - a good friend, and that has been written down, and stored away.

Whether it will be released in the short or long term, I don't know.

But she had the most extraordinary perspective on life and enjoyed life to the full.

What happens now?

The funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday 9 April.

Before that there will be a period of family mourning until 5 April when the body will be moved to Westminster Hall in London.

There will then be a period of three days when her body will lie in state at Westminster Hall.

That's when the public will have the opportunity to file past, and pay their respects.

There will be the pageantry of a funeral in Westminster Abbey and the burial will be at Windsor.

Is it a state funeral?

We have no details about this at the moment, but it is likely to be a "Ceremonial Royal Funeral".

State funerals, with a few exceptions, including Winston Churchill, are reserved for monarchs.

I doubt if the Queen will request a state funeral.

However, the public will notice little difference. There will be lots of pageantry.

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