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Tuesday, 9 April, 2002, 10:59 GMT 11:59 UK
'She was strength, dignity and laughter'
The Royal Family at the funeral service
The Royal Family stood near the coffin
The Archbishop of Canterbury has told mourners at the Queen Mother's funeral service she embodied "strength, dignity and laughter".

Speaking at Westminster Abbey, George Carey said: "Like the sun, she bathed us in her warm glow."


Her smile, her wave, the characteristic tilt of her head: all made the point immediately

The Archbishop of Canterbury
The service, attended by dignitaries from around the world, began to the sound of the choir of Westminster Abbey.

The Queen Mother's coffin was brought in ahead of members of the Royal Family in procession.

Joining the Royal Family among the 2,200-congregation were politicians and other royals from around the world, as well as men and women linked to the Queen Mother through her charity work.

The service was preceded by 101 chimes from the Tenor bell, one per minute, for each year of her life.

Bible lessons

After opening hymns, there was a bidding prayer commending her grace and humanity, read by the Very Reverend Dr Wesley Carr, Dean of Westminster.

Before the sermon, the lessons were heard, taken from Ecclesiastes and Revelation.

In his sermon, the Archbishop said: "Like the sun, she bathed us in her warm glow.

"Now that the sun has set and the cool of the evening has come, some of the warmth we absorbed is flowing back towards her.

"If there is one verse of Scripture which captures her best, it is perhaps the description of a gracious woman in the final chapter of the book of Proverbs.

"It says: 'Strength and dignity are her clothing and she laughs at the time to come.'"

Dr Carey said the Queen Mother's strength was her talent for engaging with people, making every encounter feel "special and personal".

He paid tribute to her bravery when on becoming Queen in 1936, in a letter to one of his predecessors, she wrote: "I can hardly believe that we have been called to this tremendous task... and the curious thing is we are not afraid."

The Archbishop added: "There was certainly nothing remote or distant about her own sense of dignity.

Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey
Carey: Read from letter to predecessor
"Her smile, her wave, the characteristic tilt of her head: all made the point immediately and beyond words.

"It was a dignity that rested not on the splendid trappings of royalty, but on a sense of the nobility of service."

And Dr Carey also remembered the Queen Mother for her laughter.

He said: "Hers was a great old age, but not a cramped one.

"She remained young at heart, and the young themselves sensed that. "

Loudspeakers

After the sermon, the Dean of Westminster concluded the prayers by paying tribute to the example the Queen Mother showed in her "grace, dignity and courtesy".

And he led a prayer for world peace, with special mention of the Middle East.

That was followed by the rousing hymn, Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer.

And the Last Post was heard before the congregation joined in the national anthem.

The coffin was taken outside and put in a hearse for its final journey to Windsor.

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Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey:
"Like the sun, she bathed us in her warm glow"

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09 Apr 02 | UK
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