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Death of a Truly Great Lady-Queen Mother

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2002, 01:42 GMT 02:42 UK
Queen Mother dies

Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother 1900 - 2002

The Queen Mother has died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 101, with her daughter at her bedside.
She passed away at Royal Lodge, Windsor, at 1515 GMT on Saturday, and the news was announced by Buckingham Palace about two and a half hours later.

It came six weeks after her last public appearance, at the funeral of her daughter Princess Margaret.

Prince Charles is said to be "devastated", while UK Prime Minister Tony Blair led tributes by saying the Queen Mother had been a symbol of Britain's "decency and courage".

The Queen Mother's niece Lady Margaret Rhodes, who was with her when she died, said: "It was a very moving and very sad moment but luckily it was peaceful."

Members of the public have left bouquets of flowers at the gates of Buckingham Palace and other royal residences.

Mourning period

The Queen Mother's coffin is expected to be moved to the Royal Chapel of All Saints in Windsor Great Park on Sunday afternoon.

A period of family mourning will follow before the coffin is moved to Westminster Hall in central London, so the public can pay their respects in a move not seen since the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965.

Official books of condolence are being opened on Sunday, at St James's Palace in London, Sandringham House in Norfolk and Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh.

They are expected to stay open until the day before the "ceremonial funeral" is held, at Westminster Abbey.

She was the backbone of our nation. Her quiet dignity and resilience will always be remembered

Joanna Nelson, UK

E-mail your tributes here
The Queen and other members of the Royal Family will not attend Easter service as planned at St George's Chapel, Windsor, on Sunday and will instead attend a private service.

It is reported that Princess Margaret's ashes will be interred with the Queen Mother's coffin, in the George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor.

Holiday cut short

A spokeswoman for Prince Charles, who is on a skiing holiday in Switzerland, said: "He was completely devastated by the news."
He will leave Switzerland with Princes William and Harry on Sunday morning and will head straight to Windsor.

The Duke of York, who was also abroad, was told the news in Barbados where he was on holiday with his ex-wife, the Duchess of York, and their children.

Other members of the Royal Family are already at Windsor, having arrived there for the traditional Easter gathering.

Alongside the Queen is the Princess Royal, her husband Timothy Laurence and her two children Zara and Peter, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Tributes have been pouring in from world leaders, politicians of all parties, friends, former employees, charities, the sporting world - particularly horse racing - and the Commonwealth.

Her sense of duty and remarkable zest for life made her loved and admired by people of all ages and backgrounds

Tony Blair led the respects with a statement from his official country residence at Chequers in which he said the whole nation joined with the Queen and Royal Family in mourning.

"During her long and extraordinary life, her grace, her sense of duty and her remarkable zest for life made her loved and admired by people of all ages and backgrounds, revered within our borders and beyond."

Mr Blair is in discussions with the Commons Speaker and other political parties about recalling Parliament so MPs can pay their respects.

First tributes from the international community included Spain's King Juan Carlos, and US President George W Bush and his wife Laura Bush, who said they were "deeply saddened" by the news.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, said: "We are all the poorer because this gracious lady has been taken from us."

Lord St John of Fawsley, a close friend of the Queen Mother for many years, said: "With the passing of the Queen Mother we have lost our most treasured national person."

"She was not merely an historical figure. She was history."

Outside Buckingham Palace hundreds of people gathered to read the death announcement posted on the gates or leave flowers.

I will remember the Queen Mother as a people's person
Lilly Pratt

Floris Margaret Astley, 57, of Camden, north London, said: "When Buckingham Palace got bombed during the war, the Queen Mother said: 'Good - at least I can look the East End in the eye'."

Lilly Pratt, 66, from Streatham, south London, said: "I will remember the Queen Mother as a people's person. She felt she suffered the same as us. She was just a very nice person."

A message on one bouquet left at the palace read: "Thank you for all the wonderful years, may you rest in peace."

The union flag is flying at half mast over the palace.
 

portcullisguy

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Gordon beat me to it. I was going to post my usual obit, as I did for Princess Margaret as well.

However, I will just add to his post by saying that HM Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who first visited Canada as Queen Elizabeth, queen consort to King George VI, in 1939, was also the colonel-in-chief of several regiments.

Of the Canadian regiments.military organizations included were:
- The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada
- Toronto Scottish Regiment
- Canadian Forces Medial Services

HM was invested a Companion of the Order of Canada in 1999.
 
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Robust defender of military tradition
By Kenneth Rose
(Filed: 01/04/2002)

A DOZEN or so years ago, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother happened to give one of her convivial lunch parties at Clarence House during the visit to London of the first President George Bush. We had just sat down when there was a distant sound of martial music. It was a guard of honour of the Scots Guards, with band, pipes and regimental colour on its way to greet the president at Buckingham Palace.

The Queen Mother tilted her head, then, with a nimbleness astonishing in a near-nonagenarian, flew to the window, parted the heavy anti-IRA blast-proof curtains before anyone could help her and gazed out on the red-coated detachment with admiration and delight.

An hour later, as the guard of honour made the return journey, she was once more at the window. The Queen Mother must have watched that miniature pageant hundreds of times, yet the spectacle never ceased to enthral.

She was the colonel-in-chief or colonel of many regiments, not least the guardian of those in which her brothers had served during the Great War, one of them being killed in battle. She deplored all cuts and amalgamations in the Armed Forces, including the Territorial Army: one of the reasons she mistrusted the evasiveness and broken promises of politicians.

During one particularly severe economy programme, she found a valuable ally in the Queen, who told the then Secretary of State for Defence: "Whatever else happens, Mummy must keep the Black Watch."

In a military putsch that any South American dictator might have envied, the Queen Mother seized the duties of Colonel of the Irish Guards from the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.

Educated at Ampleforth, he had served in the regiment during the Second World War. With the utmost grace he handed over to her the duty of presenting shamrock to all ranks of the Irish Guards each St Patrick‘s Day. None could have braved March winds more robustly in the course of duty than did the Queen Mother.

It was her personal salute to an Irish regiment that recruited from both sides of the border, whatever the strains of politics or religion.

At least once I recall her presenting leeks to past and present members of the Welsh Guards on St David‘s Day. As she pinned the little green and white cardboard leek on my coat, she whispered: "Such a relief. I thought they would be real ones."

Year after year she demonstrated her regard for the Army as patron of the Grand Military meeting at Sandown Park, entrusting her racing colours of duck-egg blue and buff to dashing young officers not necessarily from her own regiments. And on the Friday evening she asked them all to a party at The Royal Lodge, Windsor.

During threats by Russia to march on Constantinople in 1878, Queen Victoria wrote: "Oh, if only the Queen were a man she would like to give those Russians such a beating."

As Queen Consort, two generations later, the Queen Mother declined to wear the unbecoming uniform of the women‘s services. But she did practise with a revolver in the gardens of Buckingham Palace. Beneath her powder blue beat the same patriotic heart as Queen Victoria‘s.

Hate was not a word in her vocabulary. But her friends were aware that she had never quite forgiven the Germans for their share of causing two world wars.

Truth to say, she did not much care for any foreign nation; but the French were, in her eyes, redeemed by their language and their vineyards.

I was once dining with her at Walmer Castle when the news was brought in by a footman that the French had won the World Cup in 1998. She launched into the Marseillaise. What she said on being told of a German victory must await a less-timid pen than mine.
 

Marauder

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To a truly regal and steely lady who was a true Queen of the people, I raise my glass in salute.
She and her husband showed the kind of person they were when they chose to remain in England for the duration of the Second World War, even during the worst of the Blitz, when they had an invitation to weather the war in America.
 
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peanutshel

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As children, we used to be enthralled with our Gran‘s stories of her relatives in Scotland, the Bowes-Lyons and she always impressed upon us all to act like ladies because "we were related to the Queen mum after all." All through my life when I would see her on TV, I would feel a connection and it would be like my precious Gran was still with us (there was a definite family resemblance). I was very saddened to hear of her passing and felt like I lost our connection to Scotland/England. She shall be missed.
 

bossi

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SIR - The Queen Mother‘s feelings about her adopted regiment, the Irish Guards, were real and had practical import.

I was once on guard at Windsor during a heatwave when, as Kipling would have said, "the ‘eat would make your bloomin‘ eyebrows crawl".

We were amazed to receive a phone call informing us that the Queen Mother had noticed the sentries‘ discomfort and wanted them moved into the shade. Small wonder we Micks loved her.

From:
William Barlow, London SW3
 
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Spr Earl

Guest
Yes we have lost a great person and she touched many all over this world with her poise ,her smile,
her zest for life and careing for all, be they white ,black,yellow,jew,muslim,hindu etc. She excepted and respected all and gave more than she recieved from her public be they Royalist‘s or not, British and non alike.

She touched many and will be remembered by many as the Queen Mum.

To you Elizibeth Lyons Bolls Windsor I salute you.

UBIQUE
 
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