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Sunday, 31 March, 2002, 21:51 GMT 22:51 UK
Grieving princes pay their respects
Prince Charles
Prince Charles arrives at RAF Northolt
The Prince of Wales and his sons have been paying their respects to the Queen Mother at Windsor.

Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry joined the rest of the Royal Family at an evensong service in the Royal Chapel.

They arrived at Windsor Castle on Sunday afternoon after cutting short their skiing holiday in Klosters, Switzerland.

After flying in to RAF Northolt, they travelled by car to Windsor and spent some time with the coffin at the Royal Lodge before it was moved to the chapel.

Prince William at RAF Northolt
Prince William steps off the plane

The Queen had given the heir to the throne and his eldest son permission to fly on the same plane, something normally forbidden under royal protocol.

They are to drive back to their Highgrove estate in Gloucestershire on Sunday evening.

Earlier, the three princes left the Walserhof Hotel, where they had been staying, in the same blue Audi estate car and were all wearing dark suits.

Charles - who is said to be "completely devastated" by his grandmother's death - waved politely to hotel staff from the front passenger seat as they pulled away.

Comfort

William and his brother Harry, who is said to have looked tearful, sat in the back, while royal aides and bodyguards were in two cars behind.

The three princes were on the second day of their annual skiing holiday when the Queen Mother died.

Charles had just returned to the hotel on Saturday when he was telephoned by the Queen at about 1530GMT, 15 minutes after her 101-year-old mother passed away in her sleep.

He broke the news to his sons in his hotel room when they returned from the ski slopes, about half an hour later.

The boys spent the evening comforting their father.
Prince Harry, the Prince of Wales and Prince William
The Prince of Wales had been skiing with his sons
The Prince of Wales last saw his grandmother on Thursday morning when he dropped by at Windsor to check how she was before flying to Switzerland.

Prince Andrew also returned to the UK from a holiday in the Caribbean, and attended the Windsor service.

He was in Barbados with his former wife, the Duchess of York, and their children, Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, when his grandmother died.

Easter gathering

Other members of the Royal Family were already arriving at Windsor for their traditional Easter gathering when the news was announced.

Those at Windsor include Princess Anne and her children Peter Phillips and Zara Phillips and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Viscount Linley and his sister Lady Sarah Chatto, whose mother Princess Margaret died on 9 February, are also there.

The Royal Family are expected to remain together until the funeral on Tuesday 9 April.

The Queen Mother died peacefully in her sleep in Windsor's Royal Lodge at 1515GMT on Saturday.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jonty Bloom
"Prince Charles was very close to his grandmother"

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