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Monday, 1 April, 2002, 21:35 GMT 22:35 UK
Charles pays moving tribute
Prince Charles speaks at his Highgrove home
Charles was "utterly devoted" to the Queen Mother
Prince Charles has paid tribute to his "irreplaceable" grandmother, the Queen Mother, who died two days ago.

In a television statement on Monday afternoon, the Prince of Wales said the Queen Mother had served the UK with "panache, style and unswerving dignity" for nearly 80 years, enriching the life of the nation and beyond.

Earlier on Monday a 41-gun salute at a dozen locations across the UK and Gibraltar marked the start of a period of official public mourning following her peaceful death at the age of 101.

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In a highly personal, informal address from his Highgrove home, the prince became tearful as he recalled how he used to laugh with his grandmother until they cried.

He said: "Somehow I never thought [her death] would come. She seemed gloriously unstoppable, and ever since I was a child I adored her.

"She was quite simply the most magical grandmother you could possibly have and I was utterly devoted to her."

He added that the Queen Mother had always been a "stalwart and sensitive" support to the current Queen.

Just seven weeks ago, Prince Charles made a similar television statement in tribute to his "beloved" aunt Princess Margaret.

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

BBC Royal correspondent Jennie Bond said the prince's tribute had been delivered in a "remarkable and unstuffy way".

Elsewhere, members of the public have also been paying tribute to the Queen Mother.

Flags have been flying at half-mast across the country and at embassies abroad, and sporting events have been holding a minute's silence.

Football grounds around the country fell silent at 1500GMT, as players in all Premiership and Nationwide games stood in contemplation.

At Kempton, the scene of one of the Queen Mother's biggest wins as an owner, the jockeys wore black armbands.

The Queen Mother, it is understood, had insisted that on the event of her death, her beloved racing should not be interrupted.

She was the backbone of our nation

Joanna Nelson, UK

Several thousand members of the public have signed books of condolences, and left flowers at various sites around the country.

BBC correspondent Jon Brain said that while Monday had been "quieter" at St James's Palace in terms of members of the public coming to pay tribute, there had still been "a steady stream of people" all day.

And at Windsor Castle, 600 people an hour have signed books of condolences.

Members of the Queen Mother's staff have paid their personal last respects at her coffin, currently resting in the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park.

Arsenal players lead tribute before kick off

Most senior members of the Royal Family have been staying at Windsor Castle.

The Queen is said to be coping "stoically".

On Monday morning, she ventured out for a peaceful ride in the castle's grounds accompanied by her daughter Princess Anne.

Later the Queen drove her niece and nephew, Lady Sarah Chatto and Lord Linley, to the Queen Mother's home, Royal Lodge, to meet staff who had cared for her in her final weeks.

The Queen Mother's coffin is to be moved on Tuesday from Windsor to St James's Palace in central London, ahead of her funeral at Westminster Abbey on Tuesday 9 April.

It will be moved from St James's Palace to Westminster Hall on Friday 5 April to lie in state until the morning of the funeral.

The public will be able to pay their respects at Westminster Hall on 5 April (2pm to 6pm), and from 6 to 8 April (8am to 6pm).

Prince Charles
"To me she meant everything"
The BBC's Jennie Bond
"The Queen is said to be coping stoically"
The BBC's Daniella Relph
"This has been a day of sporting tributes"

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