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Queen speaks of mother's 'wonderful life'

LONDON, England -- The Queen has been thanking well-wishers for their "kindness" as final preparations are made for her mother's funeral procession.

Crowds greeted the Queen on Thursday as she spoke to mourners and read the messages attached to hundreds of bouquets which had been left at Windsor Castle where the Queen Mother died on Saturday, aged 101.

Dressed in black the Queen said: "My mother had a wonderful life."

More than 2,000 bunches of flowers have been placed on the lawn outside.

The Queen added: "It's an amazing sight, isn't it? People are so kind."

Queen Mother


Later, the Queen and her husband Prince Philip, who wore a black tie, went inside the chapel, to look at a book of condolence which about 7,000 people have signed since Monday. (Your thoughts and tributes)

The Queen Mother's coffin will be carried in a ceremonial procession from its current place at Queen's Chapel in St James' Palace to Westminster Hall on Friday.

More than 1,600 servicemen and women, including hundreds from Commonwealth countries overseas, will be involved in Friday's ceremony at 11.30 a.m. (1030 GMT).

The procession, accompanied by an army band, will stretch for half-a-mile. The royal matriarch was colonel-in-chief of more than a dozen regiments.

The Queen Mother's coffin will be carried on a gun carriage draped in a Union flag and topped with a crown that will contain the priceless 105.60-carat Koh-i-Noor diamond.

The crown is usually kept behind armoured glass at the Tower of London.

In terms of pomp and ceremony, it will be bigger than the royal funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales five years ago, and will be the largest pageant of its kind in Britain since the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

Senior British royals, including the Princess Royal, will walk behind the coffin from St James's to Westminster. It will be the first time a female royal will have been allowed such a role.

As the procession leaves for Westminster Hall, a 28-gun royal salute will be fired from nearby Green Park -- one salvo every minute of the journey.

The Queen and other members -- mainly ladies -- of the Royal Family will await the coffin's arrival inside the Palace of Westminster where MPs, members of the House of Lords and many other VIPs, including Commonwealth representatives, will be.

The gun carriage being used for the procession and funeral of the Queen Mother was also used when her husband, King George VI, died 50 years ago.

Members of the public and visitors to London will be able to pay their respects at Westminster Hall where the Queen Mother will lie in state from Friday 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. and from Saturday to Monday April 8 from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The Queen Mother's four grandsons -- Charles, Andrew, Edward and Princess Margaret's son David Linley -- are expected to mount a 15-minute vigil by her coffin on Monday evening.

The coffin will be taken from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey for the funeral service the following morning.


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