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Britain falls silent

LONDON, England -- Britain has held two minutes' silence as a show of respect for its much-loved Queen Mother.

Shopping centres, offices and factories across the UK came to a standstill as the whole nation mourned the death of the royal matriarch. (Amanpour, Quest: Britain's lament)

Normally bustling workplaces fell silent exactly at 11.30 a.m. (6:30 a.m. ET) for two minutes to mark the start of the funeral. (Full story)

Announcements were made at train and bus stations centres to give passengers the chance to join what proved to be a moving national demonstration of respect.

Queen Elizabeth II pays thanks for tributes paid following the death of her mother (April 8)

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Queen Mother


In may places traffic came to a halt as drivers observed the silence. In some places traffic lights were turned to red.

Calling it "a sad day for employers and employees," the UK's employers federation, the CBI, had urged companies to give staff time to show their feelings.

Many shops shut for the day. Others told staff not to sell any goods or services during the period of silence.

Supermarket giants Asda, Tesco, and Safeway plus Marks & Spencer, Iceland, Kwik Save, and Woolworths, closed for the morning.

Others including John Lewis, Debenhams, Next and Royal jewellers Asprey and Garrard, which holds a Royal Warrant from the Queen Mother, decided not to open at all until after the funeral. (Sombre crowds mourn outside abbey)

Many local authorities held periods of silence in council buildings at 11.30 a.m.

The National Trust, whose President was the Queen Mother since 1953, declared its country houses, shops and restaurants closed all day.

Both Balmoral Castle in Royal Deeside and Glamis Castle, where the Queen Mother spent much of her childhood, stayed closed all day as a mark of respect.

The British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions said that many of its member attractions were closed until after the funeral.

Betting shops were also shut -- and the Queen Mother's favourite sport, horse racing, had a rare day off to show its regard for a favourite owner.

The Queen Mother sports centre in central London closed for the morning as a mark of respect.

Strikes planned by tram workers in Croydon, South London and by 1,000 military staff in Scotland were called off because of the funeral.

The Transport and General Workers Union also called off a mass meeting planned in Devonport, western England, to protest at the plan to privatise military jobs.


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