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Royal Family Pays Final Respects to Princess Margaret - 2002-02-15


In England, all members of the royal family gathered Friday at Windsor Castle, west of London, for the funeral of Princess Margaret, the daughter of a king and sister to a queen - who died last Saturday.

A somber mood pervaded Windsor with a few hundred people lining the streets to pay their final respects to Princess Margaret.

"I followed her life almost all the way through because we are almost the same age and I just felt I wanted to be here," said one mourner. "She was very witty. She was a wonderful pianist. She was so accomplished."

Inside Windsor Castle, in St. George's Chapel, the royal family held a private, low-key funeral ceremony.

It was conducted by the Dean of Windsor and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The service was actually outlined by the princess herself who made her wishes known shortly before she died.

At the conclusion, her casket, draped in her royal flag, was taken to the nearby town of Slough, where her body was cremated.

Her remains will be returned to Windsor and placed alongside her father, George VI, in the royal vault.

Her funeral came exactly 50 years to the day of his funeral.

Former Buckingham Palace spokesman Dickie Arbiter says the princess will be remembered for her free-spirited nature and untraditional approach to her very traditional role.

"She was a bit of a rebel. She did work hard, but she also played hard," Mr. Arbiter said. "And she did enjoy parties and she enjoyed mixing with celebrities and she enjoyed the theater and ballet and opera and she just enjoyed having fun. And at the end of the day, (people) will look back and say, yes, she had a terrific life."

As a final sign of respect, Union Jack flags are flying at half-staff above buildings in Windsor.

A larger, public memorial service will be scheduled at a later date.

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