`Most magical grandmother'

SUN JOURNAL

Remembrance: Prince Charles recalls the queen mother as wise, warm and indomitable in a nationally broadcast speech as Britain prepares to lay her to rest.

April 09, 2002

Today, Britain and the world bid farewell to the Queen Mother Elizabeth, who died March 30 at age 101.

The funeral will be in London's Westminster Abbey, where English monarchs are crowned and buried.

Many Britons loved the queen mother, but perhaps the most moving tribute came from her grandson, Prince Charles, whose remarks were broadcast to the nation.

Here are Charles' words, provided by the Associated Press:

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, 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, 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 my whole family, particularly the Queen, to whom she was such a stalwart and sensitive support when my grandfather died, when he was only two-and-a-half years older than I am now.

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 to my life.

Apart from anything else, she wrote such sparklingly wonderful letters, and her turn of phrase could be utterly memorable.

Above all, she saw the funny side of life, and we laughed until we cried. Oh, how I shall miss her laugh and wonderful wisdom born of so much experience and 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.

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