The Queen shares her grief with the public
Queen pays tribute to Diana

Queen Broadcasts Live to Nation

The Queen has broadcast live to the nation in tribute to the Princess of Wales.

The television and radio broadcast was transmitted from the balcony at Buckingham Palace overlooking the crowds gathered to pay their respects to Diana Princess of Wales.

This is the full text of the Queen's address:

"Since last Sunday's dreadful news we have seen, throughout Britain and around the world, an overwhelming expression of sadness at Diana's death.

"We have all been trying in our different ways to cope. It is not easy to express a sense of loss, since the initial shock is often succeeded by a mixture of other feelings: disbelief, incomprehension, anger - and concern for those who remain.

"We have all felt those emotions in these last few days. So what I say to you now, as your Queen and as a grandmother, I say from my heart.

"First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness.

"I admired and respected her - for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys.

"This week at Balmoral, we have all been trying to help William and Harry come to terms with the devastating loss that they and the rest of us have suffered.

"No-one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of others who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her.

"I for one believe that there are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death.

"I share in your determination to cherish her memory.

"This is also an opportunity for me, on behalf of my family, and especially Prince Charles and William and Harry, to thank all of you who have brought flowers, sent messages, and paid your respects in so many ways to a remarkable person.

"These acts of kindness have been a huge source of help and comfort.

"Our thoughts are also with Diana's family and the families of those who died with her. I know that they too have drawn strength from what has happened since last weekend, as they seek to heal their sorrow and then to face the future without a loved one.

"I hope that tomorrow we can all, wherever we are, join in expressing our grief at Diana's loss, and gratitude for her all-too-short life.

"It is a chance to show to the whole world the British nation united in grief and respect.

"May those who died rest in peace and may we, each and every one of us, thank God for someone who made many, many people happy."

It was originally expected that the Queen's broadcast would be recorded for later transmission.

Earlier in the Queen's reign, annual Christmas messages were transmitted live, but in later years they have been pre-recorded.

It is only the second time in her long reign that the Queen has made a special address to the nation.

BBC Correspondent Mike Donkin reports on the royal tradition of silence
Dur: 3'05"

The Queen on a rare walkabout

Normally the Queen only broadcasts to the nation in her traditional annual Christmas message, though on February 24, 1991, she addressed the nation on the Gulf War.

In a break with royal protocol, the Queen has also ordered that a Union Flag be flown at half-mast for the first time from Buckingham Palace.

The Royal standard will, as always, fly at full mast over the Palace while she is at the Palace. But when the Queen leaves for the funeral the Union Flag will fly at half-mast for the rest of the day.

The Queen looked at floral tributes and messages to Diana outside Buckingham Palace before going to nearby St James's Palace to talk to people queuing to sign books of condolence.

The Queen faces a sea of flowers

The Royal Family flew down from Scotland after driving to Aberdeen airport from Balmoral.

The Prince of Wales and Princes William and Harry were already in the capital, after flying to RAF Northolt in west London.

Mourners Queue to Sign Condolence Books

Thousands wait to express condolences

The number of mourners queuing to sign books of condolence at St James's Palace increased dramatically yesterday. Scotland Yard decided, with the waiting time gowing to 12 hours, to close the queues five hours earlier than planned to allow enough time for all those waiting to sign before the funeral.

The 43 books of condolence will be reopened at Kensington Palace after Diana's funeral.

The coffin was moved by hearse from the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace, to Kensington Palace at 20.00 BST. Two priests were keeping an all-night candlelit vigil of prayer.

The vigil was lit by candles in gold candlesticks, dating from 1660, from the Royal Plate at the Chapel Royal.

The coffin will remain at Kensington Palace until it is conveyed on a gun carriage to Westminster Abbey.