Queen Mother: Guardsmen - and a million people - pay their final respects

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The Independent Online

Up to one million people turned out for the funeral of the Queen Mother, while shops and businesses shut for the ceremony. The service at Westminster Abbey saw one of the largest gatherings of royalty, heads of state and foreign dignitaries for decades, and was seen as a celebration of the House of Windsor as well as the personal qualities of the Queen Mother.

Members of the public had taken up position overnightaround the Abbey for the morning service, and the numbers paying their respects continuedto grow through the afternoon. People lined the 23-mile route to Windsor where the Queen Mother was interred alongside her late husband, George VI.

A two-minute silence was observed across the country, and some businesses allowed employees time off to join the crowds.

Nine members of the Royal Family, led by Prince Philip,and including the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal and the Princes William and Harry, walked behind the coffin on its journey from Westminster Hall to Westminster Abbey.

During the service, which had been planned by the Queen Mother, the Prince of Wales appeared desolate. The Archbishop of Canterbury told the congregation: "Like the sun, she bathed us in her warm glow."

Unlike the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, there was little overt grief among the crowd outside. Many said they were seeing history being made and the passing of an era.