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Wednesday, 24 May, 2000, 15:12 GMT 16:12 UK
Farewell to Dame Barbara
Barbara Cartland
Barbara Cartland was a prolific writer
Mourners have paid their last respects to romantic novelist Dame Barbara Cartland who has been buried in the grounds of her Hertfordshire mansion.

Around 150 mourners attended the private ceremony for family and close friends at Camfield Place.



She had so many friends and she always had time for all of them

Judy Almond
Neighbour

The prolific novelist, who died on Sunday, aged 98, was buried under an oak tree in a cardboard coffin which she had requested to preserve wood and help the environment.

Mourners joined in singing the Perry Como ballad I Believe - the only music at the midday service.

'Life After Death'

Her son Ian McCorquodale said: "I Believe was her favourite anthem and reflected her strongly held belief in life after death."

The 45-minute service was conducted by Rev John Cotton, the former vicar of St Mary's in the nearby village of Essendon.

"She led a very public life but she let it be known that she wanted a private funeral," Mr McCorquodale said.

Dame Barbara's grandson William read one of her poems about love and the afterlife at the service.

Her daughter Raine, who married Earl Spencer, father of Diana, Princess of Wales, read a passage from the First Letter Of John.

Disgraced peer Lord Charles Brockett also attended the funeral.


Lord Brocket
Lord Brockett arrives for Dame Barbara's funeral
Dame Barbara wrote to him while he was serving a five-year prison sentence for a classic car fraud.

Dame Barbara's neighbours Judy and David Almond, who knew her for 23 years, said it was a beautiful service.

"The sun was shining and the birds were singing," Mrs Almond said.

"She was a lovely lady. She had so many friends and she always had time for all of them. I shall miss her dreadfully."

Steven Glen, director of the soon to be launched barbaracartland.com web site, said the service was "beautiful".

The web site, which features 20 of Dame Barbara's books, will be launched on 9 July, the writer's birthday.

The queen of romantic fiction wrote 723 novels and sold a billion copies.

She died peacefully in her sleep after a short illness.

Dame Barbara was one of the world's most successful authors.

In 1991 she became a Dame of the Order of the British Empire for her contribution to literature and her work for humanitarian and charitable causes.

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See also:

21 May 00 | UK
Barbara Cartland dies
21 May 00 | UK
The grand dame of romance
23 May 00 | Talking Point
Your memories of Barbara Cartland
10 Feb 99 | UK
It's your funeral
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