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Amanpour, Quest: Britain's lament

LONDON, England -- Britain has paid a sombre farewell to its beloved Queen Mother as the nation marked the last of the public ceremonies marking her death.

CNN's Christiane Amanpour and Richard Quest were at her funeral service and watched the procession of her funeral cortege from London's Westminster Abbey. This is an edited version of their coverage.

Amanpour: The hymns sung in the Abbey had been personally chosen by the royal matriarch and her favourite readings were used.

The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, broke with tradition by walking into Westminster Abbey with the male members of the royal family including the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Princes William and Harry.

Queen Mother


The Last Post was played and the litany of the Queen Mother's numerous titles was read out as her coffin was carried from the Abbey.

The Reveille was played as the Queen Mother's coffin was lead out.

The bells at Westminster Abbey were pealing as the procession left, the hearse containing the Queen Mother being followed by Prince Charles in the car behind.

Charles had specifically requested accompanying her to St Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle, where she will be interred with her husband, King George VI, who died in 1952.

The significance of this moment is not just the passing of this lady but the passing of an entire era.

The Queen Mother was a person who symbolised service... she sustained this country and the royal family when King Edward VIII was forced to abdicate over his relationship with twice-married Wallis Simpson.

Along with her husband, King George VI, the pair made their mark during World War Two by helping sustain national morale and helping resurrect the shattered image of the royal family after the preceding constitutional crisis.

She spent the remaining half century dedicated to the service of her country, still making 130 public appearances at the age of 98.

When Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was born one fifth of the Earth's surface was covered by the British Empire.

She was somebody who spent the 20th century as part of the fabric of society here.

Quest: There was absolute silence from the crowd of thousands outside Westminster Abbey during the funeral service.

Many people sang along with the hymns that were broadcast by loudspeaker from inside the Abbey, following the order of service which was republished in national newspapers.

Many of those outside the Abbey sang the national anthem at the end of the funeral service.

The Queen Mother's coffin was placed in a black hearse as members of the royal family watched and saluted. More than 160 members of the Massed Pipes and Drums played a lament.

Amanpour: The Battle of Britain memorial flight, comprising a World War II Spitfire, Hurricane and Lancaster Bomber, flew over the funeral procession as it passed down The Mall, in tribute to the nation's wartime queen.

The Queen Mother entered the hearts of the British people when she and her husband King George VI visited the East End of London after it had been blitzed during the War, meeting the people and sharing in their misfortune.

She famously said after Buckingham Palace was later bombed: "I'm glad you've been bombed now, at least I can look the East End in the face."

Quest: People are looking back at an age that many think was a better age. The Queen Mother was a rallying point for people during the war years.

The crowds have waited, many people overnight, to pay their respects to her.

She had an enormous sense of fun... she loved horse racing and the Grand National -- she was a lady who lived her life to the full.

Amanpour: This country has stayed loyal to this monarchy and polls going back 30 years remain constant and people want the monarchy to remain part of their constitution.

She had a populist touch and was able to connect with people.

She was considered the glue that bound the royal family together, the longevity in this institution... Queen Elizabeth II is held in high respect.

Quest: The system of constitutional monarchy in this country has been seen to work and so why change it?

Amanpour: At Windsor Castle, the Queen Mother will be buried in St George's Chapel, alongside her husband.

The ashes Princess Margaret, who died nearly two months ago, will be scattered with her parents in the family vault, according to Margaret's wishes.

With all the pageantry and dignity of the occasion, people here can revel in something that is done better in Britain than anywhere else in the world.

This is the last link to Empire, she was the last Empress of India, she represented all the things from the past that make up the great British history.


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