Hundreds of thousands lined the streets of London on Friday, the 5th of April, when the Queen Mother’s coffin was taken in a grand military procession from the Queen’s Chapel in St. James’ Palace to the Palace of Westminster, where it would lay in state during four days and four nights, with thousands continuously getting past to pay their tributes. Over 200.000 people paid their tribute to the “Queen Mum” in the Great Hall of Westminster, with its impressive wood ceiling. Day and night, four soldiers from various regiments kept constant vigil over the coffin, their heads down and their arms reversed.
A few days before the ceremony, His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales paid a very moving tribute to his grandmother in a eulogy recorded at Highgrove, the Prince’s home. The most moving moment of the vigil would also have the Prince of Wales taking part: the four grandsons of the Queen Mother found it appropriate that a vigil similar to the one made at the Great Hall around the coffin of King George V by his sons should be made. Thus, on Monday, the 8th of April, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of York, the Earl of Wessex and the Viscount Linley took their places at the four corners of the catafalque in the centre of the Hall and remained with their heads bowed during 20 very moving and royal minutes.
As the Vigil came to an end, the televisions broadcasted Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s message of thanks to the nation for the support given to the Royal Family during those days and “for the love you gave her during her life and the honour you now give her in death”. Thousands camped overnight outside the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey to witness the funeral procession the following day. Again up to 400.000 people lined the streets of London to witness history, as the impressive sound of the pipes and the drums took the coffin the short way to the Abbey for a very moving and traditional service.
At the end of it, the coffin, still bearing the Queen Consort’s Crown that had been made for Queen Elizabeth in 1937, and the wreath of flowers of Her Majesty The Queen, was taken in a hearse through the crowded streets of the capital. Police estimated that over one million people lined streets from London to Windsor, in a very unique display of affection for someone who consecrated her life to the service of the British people. All the tributes are deserved. The following pages are a very humble tribute to a a very great lady, whose sense of loyalty, service and royalty should guide her descendants through the ages.
We would like to thank all those who helped making this site possible, especially to Trond Norén Isaksen, whose admiration for the late Queen Mother is, as well, a lasting tribute. We hope this humble site will help to keep the memory of Her Majesty alive, through the ages. May the Queen Mother rest in peace!
April 2002, the Editors