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Saturday, 6 April, 2002, 21:24 GMT 22:24 UK
Queen 'touched' by public tributes
Mourners file past the Queen Mother's coffin
Mourners waited for up to six hours to pay tribute
The Queen has said she is "very touched" by the overwhelming number of people determined to pay tribute to the Queen Mother as she lies in state.

The queue of people waiting to file past her coffin in Westminster Hall on Saturday grew to three miles, involving an estimated 50,000 people.

Scotland Yard said thousands returned home disappointed and many are likely to return on Sunday, when similar scenes are expected.

In the US President George W Bush spoke of the Queen Mother's "inspirational" role and said she would be "warmly remembered" by the American people.

Buckingham Palace said the Westminster Abbey funeral service on Tuesday will be traditional and ecumenical, with more than 2,000 guests attending.

  Click here for full audio and video coverage

Scotland Yard said around 48,000 people have walked though the hall since its doors were opened to the public on Friday afternoon.

Queuing advice
Wait has reached six hours
Call ahead to find best tubes for end of queue
Police queuing hotline: 0207 593 7851, 8am-8pm
Hall open overnight Saturday and Sunday
Wrap up warm; bring refreshments
It shut for just two hours on Saturday morning for cleaning and security checks and around 2,000 people an hour have since made their way past the Queen Mother's coffin.

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "The Queen has been very touched that so many people are paying their respects.

"This is a very rare occasion and it has been difficult to estimate the public response."

Westminster officials have again ordered the hall to remain open for longer than planned, with members of the public able to visit until 0500 BST on Sunday and again from 0800 BST.

Map of Saturday's queue
The course of the queue through central London on Saturday
A break between 0600 BST and 0800 BST on Monday morning will be followed by another day of viewing, before tributes are finally called to an end at an undecided time that evening.

The Red Cross has warned mourners to come prepared for a long wait after a diabetic collapse and three minor injuries on Saturday and two heart attacks during Friday's procession.

The coffin is standing on a seven-foot high catafalque, draped in the Queen Mother's personal standard and surmounted by her diamond-encrusted crown.

It is also topped with a single wreath of white roses and sweet peas from the Queen, reading 'In Loving Memory, Lilibet'.

Four Welsh Guards are standing vigil at the four corners of the coffin, and part of the floor has been carpeted to muffle the tread of mourners.

'Darkest days'

The Queen Mother's coffin is guarded
The coffin stands on a seven-foot high platform
Queen Mother's funeral
  • The public can see the lying-in-state until 1800 BST on Monday
  • Up to 40,000 people had visited by Saturday lunchtime
  • Tuesday's funeral will be attended by 2,100 guests
  • The coffin will move to Westminster Abbey at 1118 BST for an ecumenical service

      Find out more

  • Saluting the Queen Mother at a news conference in Texas, President Bush offered the condolences of the American people for Britain's loss.

    He said: "This remarkable woman is warmly remembered on both sides of the Atlantic for her grace and her strength, and particularly for her inspiration she provided during the darkest days of World War II."

    First lady Laura Bush is representing the United States at the funeral on Tuesday in London.

    One minute's silence was held before the Grand National race at Aintree, and the National Anthem was sung.

    Royal guests

    At Tuesday's funeral there will be 25 foreign royal guests, including Prince Albert of Monaco, the King and Queen of Norway, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, the King of Sweden, and the Sultan of Brunei.

    Prince Charles's partner Camilla Parker Bowles will also attend the service.

    A small but grand procession, led by more than 100 pipers and followed by nine members of the Royal Family, will draw the Queen Mother's coffin from the hall to the nearby abbey.

    The service, which will begin at 1130 BST and last for about 50 minutes, will include two "gentle and informal" prayers aimed at reflecting the Queen Mother's character.

    The BBC's Jennie Bond
    "For most of the day the queue has stretched for up to three miles"
    The BBC's Nicholas Witchell
    "Prince William sums her up as a huge personal inspiration"
    The BBC's John Sudworth
    "It's still very busy"
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