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Queen prepares TV eulogy

LONDON, England -- Queen Elizabeth II is expected to make a televised speech on Monday in memory of her mother.

It is also an opportunity for her to thank more than 100,000 people who have waited for hours to get into Westminster Hall in central London, where the Queen Mother is lying in state.

The public is to be allowed to view the coffin until the morning of the funeral because of the huge demand.

Westminster Hall, where her coffin has been since Friday, will remain open until am (0500 GMT) on Tuesday -- only five hours before it is carried in procession to nearby Westminster Abbey for the funeral service.

Thousands of Britons wait up to six hours to pay respects to Queen Mother Elizabeth at Westminster where her body lies in state. CNN's Robin Oakley reports (April 6)

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Queen Mother


By late Sunday afternoon, people were still joining the end of the queue, near Blackfriars Bridge on the south bank of the Thames, although they were being warned that they faced a wait of up to 12 hours.

On Sunday morning Prince Andrew, the Duke of York -- a grandson of the Queen Mother -- and his two daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, visited some of the people in line.

The Duke of York said he was "overwhelmed" by the size of the queues.

He spoke to volunteers providing free tea and refreshments for those in the two-and-a-half-mile queue. He told one of them: "It's brilliant. Thanks very much indeed to all of you."

Earlier, Britain held special services for the Queen Mother with memorials held at cathedrals and churches.

In Texas, President George W. Bush praised the Queen Mother during a news conference with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"This remarkable woman is warmly remembered on both sides of the Atlantic for her grace and her strength, and particularly for her inspiration she provided during the darkest days of World War II," said Bush, whose wife, Laura, will attend the funeral service in Westminster Abbey.

Sunday's large queues were a repeat of the situation on Saturday when an estimated 50,000 waited an average of seven hours to file past the coffin in Westminster Hall.

On Saturday, Queen Elizabeth II was said to be "very touched" by the public's desire to pay their last respects to her mother, who died on March 30 aged 101.

Among those who have visited the hall was veteran British actor Sir John Mills, 94, who paused in front of the catafalque bearing the coffin draped in the Queen Mother's Standard and bowed his head for several seconds.

The Oscar-winning star Ryan's Daughter said his visit had been "very very moving" and recalled how Queen Mother had been a big supporter of the theatre.

He told the BBC: "She loved the theatre ... If a play was limping along rather, and not doing very good business, if the Queen Mum went to a show, the play survived.

"Word just got around that she had seen it, and many plays were saved."

On Sunday, Princes William and Harry recalled their favourite memories of their great-grandmother. (Full story)

The teenage princes told how she had inspired and encouraged them, and made them howl with laughter with her sense of fun and zest for life.

As the tide of people flooded into Westminster, details have been revealed of Tuesday's funeral service. (Full story)

On the eve of the funeral, the Queen Mothers four grandsons -- Prince Charles, his brothers Andrew and Edward, and Viscount Linley -- will mount their own vigil at the coffin.

They will echo history in a poignant ceremony reminiscent of a royal vigil, on the same spot at Westminster Hall, for King George V in 1936.

They are expected to perform a 20 to 30-minute Vigil of the Watch, late in the afternoon.

Speaking about the royal grandsons' vigil for the Queen Mother, the Duke of York said: "We each had an individual and unique relationship with our grandmother. She was very, very special indeed.

"I think it's only right we should mark it in this way ... it has been done before."

In 1936, after George V's death, the new King Edward VIII, who later abdicated for the love of American divorcee Wallis Simpson, stood vigil with his brothers,Albert, Duke of York -- later George VI -- Henry, Duke of Gloucester, and George, Duke of Kent.

"We stood there for 20 minutes in the dim candlelight and the great silence," the King later wrote.

"I felt close to my father and all that he had stood for."

Among the guests at the following day's funeral service is expected to be Camilla Parker Bowles, the Prince of Wales's partner and a friend of the Queen Mother.

There will be 25 foreign royals at the service, including Prince Albert of Monaco, the King and Queen of Norway, King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia of Spain, the King of Sweden, and the Sultan of Brunei.

Before the service begins, the tenor bell at Westminster Abbey will toll every minute for 101 minutes, and the Queen Mother's coffin will be piped in to the Abbey by 128 pipers and 64 drummers, from 13 regiments.

There will be a ceremonial fly-past by the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight after the funeral.

After the service in Westminster Abbey there will be a private committal service and interment in the George VI Memorial Chapel within St George's Chapel at Windsor.


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