- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 10, 2002

LONDON In the majesty of Westminster Abbey and in quiet corners of the the country, Britain said goodbye yesterday to Queen Mother Elizabeth, whose dignity and courage endeared her to millions.

While kings, queens and foreign leaders sat in the splendor of the great abbey for her funeral, hundreds of thousands of ordinary Britons stood outside and joined in prayer and hymns for the 101-year-old royal matriarch who died March 30.

About a million people turned out in a huge display of affection, police said, including those who later lined the 20-mile route to Windsor Castle. Many applauded and some threw flowers at the hearse that carried the queen mother to her final resting place beside her husband, King George VI.

Some 400,000 people had gathered through the morning to watch the solemn procession escorting the queen mother's coffin to the abbey from Parliament, where for nearly four days a miles-long stream of people had paid their respects.

Slow drum beats punctuated the shrill bagpipe lament of nearly 200 regimental musicians. Soldiers of the Royal Horse Artillery in gold-trimmed black tunics rode six black horses pulling a gun-carriage that bore the coffin. The same carriage carried her husband's coffin at his funeral in 1952.

Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and eight other family members followed on foot, while Queen Elizabeth II and the other members of the family took their places in the abbey.

"In gratitude we bid farewell to a greatly loved queen, for her grace, humanity and sympathy, for her courage in adversity, for the happiness she brought to so many," said the Very Rev. Wesley Carr, dean of Westminster, as the coffin rested on a bier before the altar.

It was draped in the queen mother's personal standard and surmounted by the crown she wore at her husband's 1937 coronation.

Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey spoke of the queen mother's strength and dignity, and the humor that reached across the generations.

"There was certainly nothing remote or distant about her own sense of dignity," Archbishop Carey said in his sermon. "It was a dignity that rested not on the splendid trappings of royalty, but a sense of nobility of service."

The monarchs of Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands were among the 25 members of foreign royal families in the congregation. Leaders and representatives from across the world attended, including first lady Laura Bush, the leaders of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and representatives of many other countries.

Much of Britain came to a standstill for the funeral, as people gathered around television sets to watch the ceremony. People paid tribute, holding two minutes of silence at airports, shopping centers and schools to coincide with the start of the funeral.

"It has been a wonderful atmosphere and it is almost as if she is still with us," said Janie Johns, 48, who had slept on the sidewalk outside the abbey, huddled inside a sleeping bag.

After the funeral, the coffin was placed in a hearse for the drive to Windsor, where the queen mother was to be buried at a private family ceremony. Also to be interred there are the ashes of her younger daughter, Princess Margaret, who died two months ago at age 71.

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