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Sunday, 31 March, 2002, 10:15 GMT 11:15 UK
Queen Mother had 'the common touch'
Royal photographer Arthur Edwards
Arthur Edwards took hundreds of pictures of the Queen Mother
Royal photographer Arthur Edwards has spoken fondly of the Queen Mother who he described as a "fantastic lady" with the common touch.

The Queen Mother died peacefully in her sleep at Royal Lodge in Windsor on Saturday afternoon at the age of 101.

Queen Mother in her buggy
Queen Mother's buggy adorned with birthday balloons
Mr Edwards, who is the Sun newspaper's official royal photographer, has spent the past 26 years photographing all members of the Royal Family.

But he said he particularly looked forward to the "Queen Mother jobs" because she always gave such a "fantastic smile and a fantastic wave".

"She never let you down," he said

'Amazing occasion'

"She was a fantastic lady for the common people. She had the common touch and Prince Charles has that same touch which he learnt from his grandmother," he said.

He also spoke of her annual birthday celebrations at Clarence House.

On her 100th birthday when she looked out from the balcony of Buckingham Palace and saw those thousands and thousands of people she was so happy

Arthur Edwards
Royal photographer
"There was always a fantastic turn-out of the people and she spent hours with them," he said.

"Even in the later years when she had to use her buggy - she tied the balloons on the buggy and the cards and the flowers were everywhere.

"It was an amazing occasion and when she saw someone she recognised from a previous year her arms would go up and she would say 'Ah how lovely to see you', and she made everybody feel great!

"And on her 100th birthday when she looked out from the balcony of Buckingham Palace and saw those thousands and thousands of people she was so happy.

"I was in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace and I watched her face and she was such a happy lady!"
Queen Mother
"A fantastic smile and fantastic wave"

Mr Edwards also spoke of the Queen Mother's passion for racing.

He remembered one occasion at Sandown when all the press photographers had backed one of the Queen Mother's winning horses.

He said: "She was there on the day leading in the winner and someone had told her we had all had a bet on her horse and she said 'Pick any winners today lads? and I said 'Yes Ma'am, have you got any more for us?'"

Funeral arrangements

Following a period of family mourning - lasting until Friday 5 April - the Queen Mother's coffin will be moved to Westminster Hall in central London, so the public can pay their respects.

Her funeral, which will be held at Westminster Abbey, will be held on Tuesday 9 April before her body is taken back to Windsor for burial.

It has been reported that Princess Margaret's ashes will be interred with the Queen Mother's coffin, in the George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor.

Royal Photographer Arthur Edwards
"She was a fantastic lady for the common people"

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