Ashes of princess to be put beside father's coffin

BRITAIN: Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the body of Princess Margaret will be cremated at Slough Crematorium after Friday…

BRITAIN: Buckingham Palace has confirmed that the body of Princess Margaret will be cremated at Slough Crematorium after Friday's "royal private" funeral service in Saint George's Chapel, Windsor. Thereafter her ashes will be placed in a casket beside the coffin of her father, the late King George VI, in the castle's Royal Vault.

The break with royal tradition apparently reflects the princess's desire to be reunited with her beloved father in death. It is believed cremation was the only option as there is no more room in the Royal Vault where he is buried.

Despite the concerns of her doctors Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, is said to be determined to attend her younger daughter's funeral, which falls 50 years to the day of her husband's burial at Windsor.

The cremation, like the preceding funeral service, will be led by the Dean of Windsor, the Right Rev David Conner. Both will be private occasions, with representatives of the princess's household and from the Lord Chamberlain's department at Buckingham Palace - but apparently no members of the royal family - to attend the cremation.


The dean is expected to place the casket containing the princess's ashes in the Royal Vault later on Friday or on Saturday.

Princess Margaret is understood to have set out in some detail the form she wished her funeral to take. In accordance with the wishes of her children, Viscount Linley and Lady Sarah Chatto, further details of their mother's funeral arrangements will not be disclosed until later in the week.

In accord with her sister's wish that her death should not disrupt the running of the monarchy, a sombre Queen Elizabeth, dressed in black, yesterday kept her promise to reopen the Salvation Army's Booth House for homeless men in Whitechapel, east London.

The queen spent an hour alone paying her private respects by the closed coffin of her sister at the princess's Kensington Palace residence on Monday night, before the body was removed to Saint James's Palace led by two pipers from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders.

The fragrance of Princess Margaret's favourite white roses and lilies fills the air of the Queen's Chapel, where the coffin will rest beneath the shroud of her personal royal standard before the last journey by road to Windsor tomorrow evening.

Princess Margaret will be one of six people being cremated at Slough Crematorium on what the registrar, Mr Roger Parkin, says will be "a normal working day". The other five, local to the Berkshire town, were booked in last week. Chosen for its proximity to Windsor, Mr Parkin said the crematorium was a "typical 1960s building" which aimed to be flexible and prided itself on being "very user friendly".

Explaining this was "not a famous crematorium by any means", Mr Parklin hoped there would be no disruption to the other five families, and said the only other famous person he could remember to have been cremated there was the comedian Ernie Wise.