Hundreds of thousands line the funeral route

Crowds Say Final Farewell to Diana

More than one million people turned out to pay their last respects to Diana, Princess of Wales, according to official estimates.

Scotland Yard said in excess of a million people crowded into central London to line the route of Diana's journey from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey.

Hundreds of thousands more lined the roads and bridges out of north London and along the M1 motorway to her final resting place at her family's ancestral home at Althorp House, in Northamptonshire.

On the final stages of the funeral route along Whitehall and around Parliament Square, the atmosphere was eerily silent, with the crowds 10 deep in some places.

Some people scrambled onto 15-foot high ledges on government buildings to get a better view of the funeral procession.

Some had brought fold-up chairs and sat drinking tea from flasks as the sun rose dramatically over Big Ben.

Overcome with emotion

A number of people sat with their heads bowed in quiet meditation as if preparing themselves mentally for the funeral.

Several photographs of Diana were taped to the walls of government buildings in Whitehall, including the Cabinet Office close to Downing Street.

In The Mall the crowds stood up to 20 people deep in places along both sides of the road.

Many had been there overnight, sleeping on the concrete in sleeping bags or lying on bin liners or newspapers.

Some people had come well prepared. One woman stood on a small step ladder, another group brought their garden bench. Many others were sitting on portable garden chairs, waiting patiently.

An opportunity to mourn

Many of the mourners had also witnessed the Princess's wedding to the Prince of Wales. Some had seen the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations and even the Queen's Coronation.

Simon Taylor, 45, of Chester, who slept on The Mall overnight, said: "I wouldn't miss this day for the world. I celebrated in London when Diana married Prince Charles. I saw them kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace and it brought tears to my eyes. Who could have guessed how it turned out? It's a tragedy."

Tears for Diana

Mary Bosworth, 34, from Durham, who came to London with daughter Tracey on Thursday, said: "We have been visiting Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace and Harrods to see the tributes to Diana. I thought it was important for my daughter to see how great a lady Princess Diana was."

Matthew Gillespie, 37, from Melbourne, Australia, who camped all night on Constitution Hill between Buckingham Palace and Hyde Park Corner, said: "It's a moment in history. I'm at the right place at the right time. My father went to Gandhi's funeral in India. He always talks about that and I didn't think I was going to have such an opportunity again."

Jane Owens, 29, from Northern Ireland but living in London, said watching today's funeral was an opportunity to see "history in the making".

Scores of Red Cross and St John Ambulance volunteers were on duty and a tent was erected close to the Foreign Office just off Whitehall to treat anyone overcome by the occasion.

Among the scores of police officers on duty in Whitehall two policemen stood on the rooftop of a building next to the Department of Health headquarters.

Using binoculars they scanned the streets to help with crowd control. Men, women, teenagers and young children simply stood quietly or sat on pavements waiting for a glimpse of Diana's coffin.