Cremation wish of Princess is granted

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The Independent Online

Princess Margaret broke with royal tradition by requesting a cremation instead of a burial, Buckingham Palace revealed yesterday.

The Princess will be cremated at Slough on Friday after her funeral service at St George's Chapel in Windsor. The Princess's ashes will be returned in a casket to St George's Chapel where they will be held in the Royal Vault. Senior members of the Royal Family have, in the past, been buried or interred.

Slough Crematorium, which is the closest to Windsor, was built in 1963 but few people of any fame have passed through in its history – one exception being the comedian Ernie Wise in 1999. Roger Parkin, the registrar, said: "As far as we are concerned, it will be a normal working day."

The crematorium seats 80 but Buckingham Palace has said no members of the Royal Family will be there, only representatives from the Princess's household and from the Lord Chamberlain's department at the Palace.

Mr Parkin said he expected a committal service would be held at which a final prayer is said as the coffin disappears. "It all depends on what exactly the family wants," he said. "Our tradition is we tend to have people in at least a week after the family member has died to give families a chance to get everyone together. This is obviously a slightly different situation. I hope the other five families on Friday [who will be attending cremations] don't get disrupted by this or I would feel very sorry for them."

The Princess's body will be kept in the Queen's Chapel at St James's Palace until tomorrow afternoon for family and friends to pay their respects privately. It will be moved for the funeral – at 3pm on Friday.