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Monday, 1 April, 2002, 09:08 GMT 10:08 UK
Political tributes flow for Queen Mum
Queen Mother
The Queen Mother was praised for her courage
Political leaders from all sides have been paying tribute to the Queen Mother, following her death on Saturday at the age of 101.

The eulogies were led by Prime Minister Tony Blair, who called her a symbol of British "decency and courage".

Mr Blair said the whole country would join the royal family in mourning the death of a woman who had become "part of the fabric of our nation".

Others remembered the leadership the Queen Mother offered Britain during the Blitz and her charitable work in the years that followed.

'Warmth and charm'

Mr Blair said: "During her long and extraordinary life, her grace, her sense of duty and her remarkable zest for life made her loved and admired by people of all ages and backgrounds, revered within our borders and beyond."


She has long held the admiration and the affection of the nation

John Major
His feelings were echoed by Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith, who praised the Queen Mother's charitable work and remembered her as a "truly remarkable lady".

Expressing his sympathy for the Queen and the Royal Family as a whole, Mr Duncan Smith said: "Their grief is shared by millions - not just here - but throughout the world.

"The Queen Mother radiated warmth and charm with a sense of fun that captivated everyone who met her.

"That is why wherever she went, carrying out her engagements into her 102nd year, large crowds were guaranteed to turn out for her."

'Dark days of War'

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy said: "The Queen Mother's story was the story of the 20th Century."

Queen Mother and French General Charles de Gaulle
The Queen Mother was praised for her role in the Blitz
Adding his expression of sympathy for the Royal Family he said: "This is a moment for the entire nation to pause, reflect and be thankful for the Queen Mother's wonderful contribution and enduring legacy."

Mr Kennedy said those who had benefited from her leadership and courage during the war years would be especially saddened by her death.

Wales's First Minister Rhodri Morgan echoed the sentiment, saying: "She will always be remembered in Wales with great affection, especially as she was Queen during the dark days of World War Two."

'Scottish Queen'

The joint leaders of the Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive said the province was experiencing a "deep sense of loss" over the Queen Mother's death.

First Minister David Trimble and Deputy First Minister Mark Durkan spoke of their "sincere sorrow".


I shall remember her not only with immediate grief and sorrow, but also I shall remember that she enjoyed life

Lord Callaghan
In a statement they said: "In a remarkable life spanning over 101 years, she saw much change and progress while also experiencing at first hand the conflict and upheaval of two world wars."

The Reverend Ian Paisley, leader of Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party, said the Queen Mother was a "great, noble person", adding: "She was not just a friend of Northern Ireland, but a personal friend."

Scottish Secretary Helen Liddell said: "She was a truly Scottish Queen and her love of Scotland stayed with her to the end."

Scotland's First Minister, Jack McConnell, said: "Her dedication brought joy to countless people, and Scots from every walk of life will mourn her death."

'Benevolent influence'

Former Tory Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher said the Queen Mother had been "a wonderful Queen and an extraordinary person" and her death was "an irreplaceable loss to the whole nation".

Her successor John Major said the Queen Mother had been a "benevolent influence in the lives of generations".

He added: "She has long held the admiration and the affection of the nation she has served so well during times of war and peace."

And former Labour Prime Minister Lord Callaghan remembered how the Queen Mother always showed him great kindness.

He added: "I shall remember her not only with immediate grief and sorrow, but also I shall remember that she enjoyed life. That indicated itself to everyone who came into contact with her."

London mayor Ken Livingstone said: "The Queen Mother held a special place in the hearts of many Londoners who remember her decision to stay in London during the Blitz."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Prime Minister Tony Blair
"She was held in the most enormous affection"
Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith
"She represented that generation that were really quite remarkable"
Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy
"She never lost that common touch"

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