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Monthly column on the arts

Every major news provider had an obituary on file, revised and updated every year or so as the Queen Mother's extraordinary longevity continued. She had planned her own funeral long in advance; the implications of her passing had been contemplated and discussed for decades.

David Porter

The media pessimistically warned that public response would be disappointingly lukewarm. Even in the hours before her coffin was placed on its magnificent catafalque in the ancient Hall of Westminster, some commentators predicted that it would be mainly tourists who attended her lying-in-state, and speculated that its length had been deliberately kept short to avoid the embarrassment of a low turn-out. They were wrong.