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Kings and princes unite in sorrow.

KINGS and Princes came to pay their tributes. But this was this was the funeral of a man who in life, never lost the common touch. And if the mourners lining the route from St. James's Palace to Westminster Abbey found it impossible to comply with Lord Louis Mountbatten's wish for a jolly and happy funeral, only a few wept.

Rather than tears, a vast, crowd's sole sign of emotion as the murdered ear's body went along Horse Guards Parade on a gun carriage drawn by 132 ratings and officers of HMS Excellent Portsmouth.

But if a sigh could speak, then this sigh would have told of love, shock, outrage and horror that the life of so revered a man could be snuffed out so violently.

There was solemnity on the faces of young men and women forces many of them soldiers who died at Warren Point the same day as Lord Mountbatten.

There was vigilance in the eyes of thousands of police.

And an overlying pall of sadness that made the huge crowds conscious they were almost silent.

Thus, in procession led by five black horses, Louis Mountbatten made his last journey through the city he loved.

Everyone who had seen recent pictures of the earl surrounded by his grandchildren must have felt it appropriate that he should go to the grave surrounded by detachments of young servicemen from all over the world.

The Household Cavalry, on foot beat a muffled roll on a drum draped in black.

Then as if to signal the approach of the body, the sigh echoed round Horse Guards sas Earl Mountbattens insignias gold, diamonds and silver to mark his commands all over the world were carried before his body on purple cushions.

Next came Octave the black mare known to Lord Mountbatten affectionately as Dolly, led by her groom, the dead earl's boots reversed in her stirrups

The young sailors pulling against its ropes, young, sad almost overawed by the occasion

But, when the coffin appeared draped in the Union Jack, it seemed almost pathetically small Mountbatten's world stature.

It was topped by his naval cocked hat, his gold stick and his sword of honour presented by the Corporation of London.

Prince Charles and Prince Philip in ceremonial naval dress, walked tall behind the man they knew fondly as Uncle Dickie.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 15, 2007
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