The young princes with their father, uncle and grandfather, behind their mother's coffin
The departure in RealVideo
Dur: 4'50"

The Last Journey Begins

Princess Diana's sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, walked behind the coffin of their mother as the Princess of Wales was carried to her funeral service at Westminster Abbey.

They were accompanied by their father, Prince Charles, and by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Princess's brother, Earl Spencer, as they joined the funeral procession.

In morning sunshine, to the lonely tolling of the Abbey's tenor bell, a gun carriage drawn by six black horses had borne the Princess from her official London residence, Kensington Palace.

It was flanked by twelve Guardsmen of the Prince of Wales Company of the Welsh Guards, in red tunics and black bearskins, and by members of The King's Troop, the Royal Horse Artillery. All marched with their arms straight down by their sides.

grieving couple
For some, the emotion was too much

The coffin was topped with three wreaths of white flowers: from her brother and from her sons.

Five mounted police officers rode a little way ahead; four behind.

The BBC's David Loyn reports on the funeral procession and service in RealVideo: Dur 5'49"

People cried out in grief and threw flowers as the cortege left the Palace gates. Many remained, standing in quiet contemplation, for minutes after the funeral party had passed by.

Along the first part of the route, huge crowds stood in silence, glum-faced, many of them weeping. Some hugged each other for comfort.

The cortege moving through Hyde Park

More flowers were thrown into the road ahead. The horses drawing the gun carriage had been specially trained not to react to such incidents.

Small children were hoisted on to the shoulders of their parents for a better view.

The procession continued through Hyde Park, where the funeral was being broadcast on giant screens to hundreds of thousands of mourners.

Harry's wreath. On it a note, addressed: "Mummy"

It passed Buckingham Palace where members of the Royal Family were waiting outside. The Queen bowed her head as it went by.

Somewhere in the crowd, someone was playing the bagpipes.

Then onto the Mall, and past St James's Palace, where Princess Diana's body had lain since Monday, and where so many people had flocked to leave flowers and to write in the books of condolence - which will be reopened after the funeral.

The Princess's body is carried into Westminster Abbey

It was then joined by the rest of the procession, including the young Princes and some 500 representatives of charities linked with the Princess.

After passing down the Mall, they went under Horse Guards Arch and along Whitehall to reach the Abbey, where the invited guests had been assembling for the funeral service.

After the Queen had left Buckingham Palace for the Abbey by car, the Royal Standard which always flies there while she is in residence was lowered. In its place, the Union Jack was raised to half mast - a unique break with tradition, part of the Palace's response to the public mood.