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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth
The Queen Mother
4th August 1900 - 30th March 2002

Queen Mother's Coffin Leaves Her Home,
Royal Lodge, Windsor Great Park

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On a warm early spring morning at midday, April 2nd 2002, a group of local residents stood at the entrance to Royal Lodge, The Queen Mother's Windsor home, as the hearse carrying her coffin was moved by road to The Queen's Chapel, St James' Palace, London.

In the distance through the trees a single bell could be heard tolling as her coffin was moved from the Royal Chapel of All Saint's in the grounds of Royal Lodge and placed in the hearse. A lone Scottish piper, Pipe-Major Jim Motherwell, walked ahead of the procession, playing a lament, as the coffin was carried from the church.

The Gates at Royal Lodge

The gates at Royal Lodge as groups of people awaited the departure of The Queen Mother's cortege.

Accompanied by police outriders, the procession then moved off through the gates, left onto the road leading to The Copper Horse and the Long Walk to pass the Castle for the last time. Staying at the castle on this day were HM The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Anne, The Princess Royal, and other members of the Royal Family.

The hearse leaves Royal Lodge

The hearse leaves Royal Lodge, the coffin draped in the Queen Mother's Standard,
for the journey to London and The Queen's Chapel, St James' Palace.

The cortege travelled on through Datchet, up to Colnbrook to join the A4, Great West Road, then travelled into London, passing Heathrow airport, Osterley and Gillette Corner. As the hearse approached each junction, police outriders momentarily stopped crossing traffic to let the procession though. As they neared central London increasing numbers of people came from their homes and offices to see the hearse and coffin, draped in the Queen Mother's Standard, pass by. The cortege drove along the south side of Hyde Park and through the Queen Mother Gates, and on to Constitution Hill, past Buckingham Palace, into The Mall and then left to St James' Palace. At this point a large crowd had gathered and some applauded quietly as the coffin past by.

The day before, on Easter Monday, Prince Charles had described on television his reactions following the death of his grandmother. Speaking from his home, Highgrove, in Gloucestershire, where he had returned with his sons, the Princes William and Harry. The Prince's tribute was generally agreed to be most moving and accomplished, providing a valuable insight into his fondness and affection for The Queen Mother. "Oh, how I shall miss that laugh," he said, his voice choking with emotion. The full text of his tribute follows.

Prince Charles' Televised Tribute

I know what my darling grandmother meant to so many other people. She literally enriched their lives and she was the original life enhancer, whether publicly or privately, whoever she was with.
And, in many ways, I think she had become an institution in her own right, a presence in the nation, and in other realms and territories beyond these shores.
At once indomitable, somehow timeless, able to span the generations; wise, loving, and an utterly irresistible mischievousness of spirit.
An immensely strong character, combined with a unique natural grace and an infectious optimism about life itself.
Above all though, she understood the British character and her heart belonged to this ancient land and its equally indomitable and humorous inhabitants, whom she served with panache, style and unswerving dignity for very nearly 80 years.
I know too what she meant to the whole of my family, particularly the Queen, to whom she was always such a stalwart and sensitive support when my grandfather died, when he was only two and a half years older than I am now.
And for me, she meant everything and I had dreaded, DREADED, this moment along with, I know, countless others. Somehow, I never thought it would come. She seemed gloriously unstoppable and, since I was a child, I ADORED her.
Her houses were always filled with an atmosphere of fun, laughter and affection, and I learnt so much from her of IMMENSE value in my life. Apart from anything else, she wrote such sparklingly wonderful letters and her turn of phrase could be utterly memorable.
But above all, she saw the funny side of life and we laughed until we cried, and oh, how I shall miss those laughs and the wonderful wisdom born of so much experience and of an innate sensitivity to life.
She was, quite simply, the most magical grandmother you could possibly have, and I was utterly devoted to her. Her departure has left an irreplaceable chasm in countless lives but, thank God, we are all the richer for the sheer joy of her presence and everything she stood for.

Two days earlier Prince Charles and his two sons had cut short their skiing holiday in Klosters as soon as they heard the news, flying home at first light the next morning to be with the Queen at Windsor Castle. In a break with protocol all three travelled in the same aircraft, an HS146 of the Queen's Flight, to Northolt Airport, north of Heathrow. That evening the royal family attended Evensong at The Royal Chapel of All Saint's where The Queen Mother's coffin was now resting.

Full funeral details are available here.


Related articles

 A Short History of The Life of Queen Mother HM Queen Elizabeth's Golden Jubilee
HRH Princess Margaret 1930-2002 Royal Windsor Website Home Page
The return to Windsor from London Kings and Queens of England from 1066


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