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Queen Mother at Margaret funeral

LONDON, England -- Britain's 101-year-old Queen Mother was among 400 mourners at Windsor Castle for the funeral of her daughter Princess Margaret.

There had been doubts that the royal family's matriarch, who has been unwell with a chest infection and then suffered a fall, would make Friday's ceremony on the 50th anniversary of the burial of her own husband, King George VI.

But although three minutes late and spending the service in a wheelchair, the Queen Mother was able to join her other daughter, Queen Elizabeth II, for the ceremony in St. George's Chapel.

The Queen Mother had flown by helicopter from Sandringham, eastern England, on Thursday, determined to say a final farewell to her younger daughter who died last week aged 71.

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More than 30 members of the royal family were at the private ceremony for the princess, who will be remembered for her love of the arts and the good life. (Full story)

The service itself began slightly late, at 1505 GMT, after the senior members of the Royal Family -- Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Princes William and Harry -- had arrived. (VIDEO: Charles remembers)

Princess Margaret's former husband, the Earl of Snowdon, arrived separately and was reunited with his -- and the princess's -- children and their spouses, Viscount and Viscountess Linley, and Lady Sarah and Daniel Chatto, in the Deanery, next to the chapel.

Lord Linley read the lesson from Romans 8 which was followed by the hymn Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh were said to have remained composed throughout, nodding acknowledgement at guests, the Press Association reported.

But a red-eyed Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret's daughter, appeared devastated.

Among the mourners were actresses Dame Judi Dench, this week nominated for an Oscar for "Iris", and Felicity Kendal.

At the back was the princess's one-time boyfriend Roddy Llewellyn, who wore a double-breasted pinstripe suit. He put on dark glasses as the coffin of Princess Margaret was carried past, while his wife was clearly upset.

Within minutes of the end of the funeral service, the Queen Mother was whisked away from Windsor Castle, the gatekeeper at Cambridge Gate told PA.

She was then driven back up Long Walk towards her Windsor residence, Royal Lodge, 3.5 miles away.

During the service organ music from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake -- Princess Margaret was a great lover and supporter of ballet -- filled the chapel.

Canon-in-residence, Rev Canon Barry Thompson, said a prayer for the princess: "O eternal God ... we remember before thee this day thy servant Margaret, rendering thanks to thee: for her loyalty and sense of duty; for her faithfulness towards her family and her friends; for her energy and enthusiasm; for her quick wit and sound advice; for her depth of knowledge and her love of life..."

Streets leading up to the main entrance were lined with crowds, some of whom had picked their spots from first light. Some had travelled from as far as Canada to be there.

After the service a piper of the Royal Highland Fusiliers played a lament as the coffin was carried to the waiting hearse outside. Margaret was colonel-in-chief of the regiment.

The princess was taken to Slough Crematorium for a private cremation without any other royal present, in accordance with her wishes.

Her ashes were to be returned to St. George's Chapel, where they will be placed in the Royal Vault.

The princess died in hospital last Saturday following a stroke. (Feature: Like Diana, a twinkle in her eye).

Margaret's death came amid her sister's Golden Jubilee, the 50th anniversary of her accession to Britain's throne.

The princess had been dogged by medical problems in recent years and was little seen in public. Her last appearance was in a wheelchair.



 
 
 
 





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