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Queen Mother laid to rest

LONDON, England -- Britain's Queen Mother has been laid to rest in Windsor alongside her husband in a private ceremony attended by close members of the royal family.

The private committal service and interment at St George's Chapel on Tuesday evening marked the close of a day of public mourning.

The Prince of Wales accompanied his beloved grandmother's coffin as it was taken in a hearse by road from London's Westminster Abbey to Windsor Castle.

The Queen and other senior Royals travelled to Windsor during the afternoon following the Abbey funeral service.

The coffin, still topped by her diamond-encrusted crown, was carried in a five-car convoy.

Interment took place in the George VI Memorial Chapel within St George's Chapel in the Castle precincts. The black marble grave stone, covering the entrance to the family vault, was removed and will be inscribed by stone masons with the words: "Queen Elizabeth 1900-2002".

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The dates of "1895-1952" were being added to King George VI's stone, which was previously only inscribed with his name.

The ashes of their daughter, Princess Margaret, who died two months ago, were also placed in the vault.

Earlier, more than a million people had lined the route of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother's coffin for her final journey from the capital to Windsor.

It was estimated that, around the world, another 200 million people watched the day's sombre but spectacular proceedings on TV. (More on the proceedings)

Mourners gather at Westminster Abbey to pay final respects to the Queen Mother Castle (April 9)

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Queen Mother


Throughout the day Prince Charles, heir to the UK throne and the Queen Mother's favourite grandson, had appeared to struggle with his emotions, sometimes coming close to tears.

As the cortege drove slowly towards Buckingham Palace, three World War II planes flew overhead in poignant tribute to the woman Adolf Hitler had called "the most dangerous woman in Europe."

At the Westminster Abbey service, the Archbishop of Canterbury led tributes to the "deeply loved and greatly missed" royal great-grandmother.

"Strength, dignity and laughter -- three great gifts which we honour and celebrate today," Dr George Carey told 2,100 mourners including royalty and VIPs from all over the world.

"Queen, Queen Mother, Queen Mum -- deeply loved and greatly missed," said Carey praising the much-loved royal matriarch's "immense vitality." (Sermon in full)

Queen Elizabeth II, the principal mourner, listened to the eulogy with head bowed.

Prince Charles had walked behind the Queen Mother's coffin as it arrived at Westminster Abbey to a lament from 128 pipers.

Walking with Prince Charles behind the coffin were his sons Prince William, 19, and 17-year-old Prince Harry. With them was their aunt, the Princess Royal.

Also in the procession were the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex, Viscount Linley, 40, and Peter Phillips, the Princess Royal's 24-year-old son.

Large crowds of ordinary Britons and tourists -- some of whom had slept overnight outside the historic church -- gathered to hear the service relayed by loudspeaker. (Full story)

The sound of Westminster Abbey's Tenor Bell had counted down the minutes to the nation's final farewell to the Queen Mother. The bell tolled every minute, once for each year of her life from 1900.

Among those at the service was UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, just back from meetings in Prague and with President George Bush in Crawford, Texas.

U.S. First Lady Laura Bush, who attended the ceremony, said afterwards: "The Queen Mother was noble in every sense of the word.

"President Bush and I extend the condolences of the American people to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, her family and the people of the United Kingdom, and we join them in remembering the Queen Mother's life and legacy."

Other VIPs among the congregation were Australian Prime Minister John Howard, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien.

Foreign royalty included Princess Muna of Jordan, Prince Albert of Monaco, ex-King Constantine of Greece, the King and Queen of Norway, King Juan Carlos of Spain and the Sultan of Brunei.

Also among the guests was Camilla Parker Bowles, the Prince of Wales's partner.

Nine days of official mourning since the Queen Mother's death at the age of 101 were marked by an outpouring of public affection and mourning for the royal who was known as "the nation's favourite grandmother." (Princes' vigil)

Since Friday, her coffin had lain in state in Westminster Hall where an estimated 250,000 people filed past.

Buckingham Palace confirmed that 25 foreign royals were at the funeral service along with 35 members of the British Royal Family.

The service was led by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. (Readings and hymns)

It opened with the Abbey Choir singing St John 11: 25 and 26: "I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

On the eve of the funeral Queen Elizabeth II gave a eulogy to the Queen Mother in a televised address to the nation. (Full text)

The queen thanked all those who had waited for up to 12 hours to pay their respects and remembered her mother's "infectious zest for life."

Factories and offices across the UK came to a standstill for two minutes' of silence at 11:30 a.m. (1030 GMT) as workers joined the nation's mourning. (Full story)

Many stores shut for the morning or for the full day. Other firms told staff not to sell any goods or services during the period of silence.(Your thoughts and tributes)


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