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Monday, 1 April, 2002, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Gun salutes for Queen Mother
Preparing to fire in Hillsborough
A dozen 41-gun salutes have been held
The first public ceremonies honouring the Queen Mother have been held with 41-gun salutes at a dozen military sites across the UK and Gibraltar.

Flags are also flying at half-mast across the country and at embassies abroad, books of condolence are being signed, and afternoon sporting events are holding a minute's silence.

The gun tribute began at midday, with one shot being fired every minute for 40 minutes.

The Queen and Princess Anne riding in the grounds of Windsor Castle
The Queen and Princess Anne went for a ride
The locations for the salute were: Hyde Park, London; The Tower of London; Firepower Museum, Woolwich; Edinburgh Castle; Stirling Castle; City Hall, Cardiff; Belfast; Aldershot; Dover Castle; Royal Citadel, Plymouth; York; Gibraltar.

The official public paying of respects comes two days after the Queen Mother's peaceful death at the age of 101.

Members of her staff are paying their personal last respects at her coffin, resting in the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park.

Four gamekeepers, dressed in traditional tweeds, kept a solumn vigil by her coffin, which is surrounded by white lillies and yellow orchids.

It will be taken to London on Tuesday ahead of a ceremonial funeral - not state, which is usually reserved for sovereigns - on Tuesday 9 April.


Steady streams of people have been signing condolence books at various locations including St James's Palace, London; St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, and the Palace of Holyrood House, Edinburgh.

Route map
Click here for a larger map and timetable
Enlarged map Enlarge map
The three sites have become focal points of public mourning as has her London home of Clarence House, adjacent to St James's, where about 300 bouquets had been left by Monday morning.

Police said 6,000-8,000 people paid their respects at St James's Palace on Sunday, and a similar number is expected throughout Monday and Tuesday.

One visitor told BBC News: "She's always been there, it's like a member of your own family... she's a people's person, everybody loves her."

Estate gamekeepers hold silent vigil by coffin

Another said: "She was such a great lady. The things she did, especially in the war, were marvellous."

Hundreds more members were signing the book and leaving flowers at Windsor, where most senior members of the Royal Family are staying.

They are mostly mourning behind closed doors, although the Queen, Princess Anne and Earl of Wessex have ventured out to ride horses in the castle grounds.

She was the backbone of our nation

Joanna Nelson, UK

E-mail your tributes here
More than 5,500 members of the public have e-mailed condolences to BBC News Online, and a special facility has been set up on the British Monarchy website to allow people to e-mail the Queen Mother's family.

Other books of condolences are being opened later in the week, including one at Hillsborough Castle in County Down and Belfast City Hall on Wednesday.

Sporting fixtures are not being postponed or cancelled, but players are expected to wear black armbands and observe a minute's silence.

Racing tributes

The Queen Mother's beloved sport of racing will go ahead with jockeys wearing black armbands at the 15 meetings scheduled for Monday afternoon, racing's busiest day of the year.

The Queen Mother as a young woman
BBC News Online looks back over the remarkable life and times of the Queen Mother

  Click here for in depth coverage

Racing was cancelled on the day of Princess Diana's funeral in 1997, but it is not yet known whether the precedent will be followed for the Queen Mother's.

The armed forces, with which the Queen Mother had a long association, are also planning special ceremonies.

People wishing to give money to charity in memory of the Queen Mother are being encouraged to give to Queen Elizabeth's Charitable Trust.

Donations can be made across the counter at banks or sent to PO Box 34842, London W8 7XB or PO Box 17212, Edinburgh EH12 9TT.

The BBC's Jennie Bond
"Books of condolence opened today in Windsor castle"

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