Royal overspend prompts call to open palace doors

 
Tourists stood outside Buckingham Palace gates Buckingham Palace is open to visitors daily in August and September

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Buckingham Palace should be opened to more paying visitors when the Queen is not in residence to fund improvements to the royal estate, MPs have said.

The Public Accounts Committee criticised the Royal Household for mismanaging its finances.

Chairwoman Margaret Hodge said there was "huge scope for savings" on the annual £31m of taxpayer funds given to the Queen to spend on official duties.

But a spokeswoman for the royals said spending was now more transparent.

The Sovereign Grant replaced the old Civil List and grants-in-aid system in 2012 and is used to fund royal duties, pay staff and maintain palaces.

The report said Buckingham Palace had overspent on the grant by £2.3m last year and had to dip into its reserves, "leaving a balance of only £1m at 31 March 2013 - a historically low level of contingency"

'Dangerous condition'

"I don't think we'd accuse anybody of profligacy but, what we are saying, is that we don't think the Queen is served well either by the Royal Household or, indeed, by the Treasury," Mrs Hodge told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Victoria and Albert Mausoleum at Frogmore The report said the Victoria and Albert Mausoleum was in need of repair

"They're not balancing books and they're dipping into their reserves," the Labour MP said.

The report also found:

  • The Royal Household was "not looking after nationally important heritage properties adequately", saying that, in March 2012, 39% of the royal estate was "below what the household deemed to be an acceptable condition"
  • The household needed "to get a much firmer grip" on how it planned to address the backlog and cost repairs and the Treasury "did not require an estimate"
  • The Treasury had a duty "to be actively involved in reviewing the household's financial planning and management - and it has failed to do so"
'Eke money'

While the committee praised the Royal Household for generating £11.6m last year - up from £6.7m in 2007/08 - it said more could be done.

Funding for the Queen 2012/2013

1. Sovereign Grant - £31m

Pays for royal duties, staff and maintaining palaces. Calculated as a percentage of profits from the Crown Estate property portfolio, worth £8.1bn.

2. Duchy of Lancaster income - £12.8m (net operating income)

Portfolio of land, property and assets held in trust for the Queen. Used to meet her official and private expenditure.

3. Personal wealth and income - Not known

Derived from personal investment portfolio and private estates, including Balmoral and Sandringham, and used to meet private expenses.

Source: British Monarchy website

Mrs Hodge said the Royal Household had escaped public sector austerity, only reducing spending by 5% in the past six years.

"They've kept the same amount of staff in there that they had five years ago, so we think that they can eke more money and they certainly should deal with the heritage properties."

She added: "The Queen can attract income - visitors to Buckingham Palace - but Buckingham Palace is only open 78 days a year, they only have about half a million visitors.

"Compare that to the Tower of London - they have over 2 million visitors."

She said boosting annual visitor numbers could help to pay for improvements both to Windsor Castle and to the Victoria and Albert Mausoleum, which had been waiting 18 years for repairs.

The Queen and Prince Philip arriving for a visit to Southwark Cathedral in London The Sovereign Grant funds the Queen's official duties
Art collection

Buckingham Palace's "state rooms" - those designed for monarchs to "receive, reward and entertain their subjects and visiting dignitaries" - have been open to the paying public during August and September since 1993.

Margaret Hodge MP: "The boiler in Buckingham Palace is 60 years old... if it doesn't get replaced, the bills go up"

Profits initially helped to pay for the restoration of Windsor Castle, which was fire-damaged in November 1992, and now go to the Royal Collection Trust charity, which manages the Royal Collection - "one of the most important art collections in the world".

A Buckingham Palace spokeswoman said: "The move to the Sovereign Grant has created a more transparent and scrutinised system, which enables the Royal Household to allocate funding according to priorities.

Start Quote

The new arrangements established by the Sovereign Grant Act have made the royal finances more transparent than ever”

End Quote Treasury spokesman

"This has resulted in a more efficient use of public funds."

She added that it was a priority for the Royal Household to "reduce the backlog in essential maintenance across the occupied royal palaces".

A Treasury spokesman said "The new arrangements established by the Sovereign Grant Act have made the royal finances more transparent than ever while providing the long term stability necessary for good planning."

The committee had not properly taken these changes into account, he added.

The Sovereign Grant was £31m last year and is set to rise to £37.9m by 2014-15.

Anti-monarchy pressure group Republic, meanwhile, accused the committee of failing to take account of the cost of security, costs to local government and any revenue earned by the Duchy of Cornwall and Duchy of Lancaster estates.

 

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  • rate this
    +14

    Comment number 845.

    The Queen has Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Sandringham and Balmoral among her several residences. She can't live in all of them at once, so when she's not there, why not open them up to the citizens of our country who pay for their upkeep? Most of the year visitors are allowed in the White House. Why shouldn't that apply to all these royal palaces?

  • rate this
    +47

    Comment number 693.

    What ever side of the fence you are on in regards to the monarchy, when I hear comments from politicians saying the royals need to 'get their house in order', all that comes to mind, is pot, kettle and black.

  • rate this
    +23

    Comment number 380.

    The "Royals bring in tourists" line is another myth.

    The buildings do and they would remain (indeed should be preserved) but the notion that people come to this country to see the Royals is absurd.

    If you were a tourist who wanted to, where would you go to see them? Where are the exhibitions of live Royals in their natural habitat?

    Tourists come for the buildings, not the people in them.

  • rate this
    +59

    Comment number 118.

    The crown estate made a profit in 2012 of £240m. The royal family get ~£30m of this. I make that a contribution of £210m. This is land that was owned by the royal family until recently but taken into 'government' ownership.

    In my view if you're going to take away the hereditary property of one old english family, then you should take it from all the old aristocracy. Seems unreasonable to me.

  • rate this
    -50

    Comment number 105.

    Now is the time to put the wheels in motion to disband the Monarchy.

    The Royals are part of our history and thus their old buildings should still draw a vast array of tourists.

    It is an outdated institution that has not served a purpose for a long time.

    The current Queen should be the last Monarch.

 

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    emails: My father was the UK correspondent for Swiss-German TV and radio for many years and had the honour of doing the commentary (the Swiss David Dimbleby!) for Sir Winston Churchill's funeral. I was then 22 and working in the French speaking part so had to watch the funeral with French commentary. I remember my father saying it was the most memorable and moving broadcast he had ever done, and I remember wishing I was witnessing this at home. He had commentated the crowning of Queen Elizabeth and later several royal weddings, but Churchill's funeral was unforgettable.

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    emails: I was a junior member of the BBC News workforce stationed in Broadcasting House when Winston Churchill died. On Monday we went into Regent Street and found all the big shops and stripped their windows out and were full of purple and pictures of Churchill. They must have worked through Sunday because in those days there were no shops open.

    On the Friday my flatmate and I queued over Westminster Bridge in the sleet and the cold to get to the lying in state and on the Saturday we got up and walked to Ludgate Hill to watch it all. There was no public transport. The crowds were enormous, quiet, patient and when the coffin went by all these gentlemen took off the hats, many crying. Two things I remember more than anything was the quiet, the muffled sounds of horses and music. London had a special atmosphere.

     
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    emails: I was 13, living in Bristol. It was a Saturday so I was at my riding school. Our riding school mistress had made sure that all the pupils (about 15 of us) listened to the whole funeral in the tack room. Although we were too young to remember his war years, we had a great reverence for him and listened quietly to the whole event, knowing that it was a very sombre day for the country. We did not go riding that day as it was a day of mourning for everyone.

     
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    19:31: Claire Suart

    emails: I was a 12 year old living in Uganda when Churchill died. My father was a history teacher with the Colonial Service in a secondary school. Having been in the RAF during the war, he was a big fan of Churchill's so for his funeral he sourced a radio from somewhere and then invited all the neighbours in to listen to it. I had only ever heard or seen radios in England - we didn't have one in Uganda. We relied on the local newspaper for local news and The Manchester Guardian sent out weekly from England for international news. I assume they heard about Churchill's death from colleagues - there was always someone who found out these things and spread the word. I clearly remember the sitting room being full of chairs so that everyone could listen to the proceedings. I remember imagining the contrast between the cold dark wet winter's day in London compared to the hot bright day with us.

     
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    emails: I was 18 years of age at the time of Churchill's state funeral. I lived in Kingston, but worked at The British & French Bank in the City. In those days we worked half a day on Saturday. The bank was on the corner of King William Street and Arthur Street. To get from Bank underground station to my office I was given a memorandum signed by my manager which I had to show to a policeman if I wanted to cross any road. A colleague brought a cine camera to work to film the funeral as it crossed the junction where Cannon Street joins Eastcheap. His camera was taken apart by the police. It reminds me that terrorism was a concern 50 years ago. A director of the bank invited all the staff into his office, which overlooked the Cannon Street/Cheapside junction, and I have a firm memory of watching the cortege pass from my second floor vantage point.

     
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    18:42: Bob Evans

    emails: I can remember at the age of 13 standing with my mother on a very crowded platform at Twickenham Station to watch the steam locomotive-hauled funeral train pass through on its way to Oxfordshire. I remember seeing the flag-draped coffin on a trestle alone in a gleaming parcel wagon especially restored for this journey. Local shops removed their normal window dressings - photos of Sir Winston were displayed instead.

     
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    18:24: Gerald Clipp

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    17:38: Donald Ian Atkinson

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    emails: I remember his Lying in State in the Palace of Westminster. I went with my parents. I was 17. We started lining up on the other side of the river, along by Lambeth Palace at about 8.30 pm, not very far from where I'd been born in 1947. It was a bitter, cold, night, and the crowd, with people still forming behind us, made the long slow trek to the bridge and then over the river. For so many people in one place, there was a remarkable quiet; of course, some people spoke, but in hushed voices, their words making shapes in the icy air. For my parents, it was something that they "must do". They were both Geordies, but had spent much of the war years in London as my father was there on war work. They saw their attendance as an obligation, a duty to witness the final journey of a man who, in their hour of need and fear, had revealed to them the Heroic stature that was their legacy as English men and women. He had found the words that resonated in English hearts and made them brave. That feeling - palpable - was there that night.

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    16:48: Kaz Majcher

    I was five years old when the great man died but I remember the day as if it was only yesterday. Last Sunday I took my two teenage children to his resting place in Bladon, as a mark of respect, it was a very moving experience for all of us. My father came to England after the battle of Monte Casino fighting with the free Polish Army, he made England his home until he died in 1988... and told me that no one should underestimate what Churchill did for the greater freedom of Europe he was a very inspirational man.

     
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  40.  
    16:18: Paul Jenkins

    At the time of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral on the 30th January 1965, I was a pupil at Churchill's old prep school, Brunswick in Sussex. I have a clear memory of the entire school (100 boys) sitting cross-legged in complete silence on the floor of the Main Hall watching the ceremony live from start to finish on television.

    Every boy there was entirely familiar with the Churchill legend and his monumental achievements; in fact the great man had, only a few months prior to his death, made a significant contribution to the school at a time when its finances were perilously placed. I'd like to think that his gift was in recognition of the happy times he spent at Brunswick (when it was situated in Brunswick Square, Hove).

     
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  44.  
    15:39: Frances Bingham

    emails: This must be one of my earliest memories. My parents lived in Morpeth Terrace, beside Westminster Cathedral, so the funeral procession passed quite close and we walked from home to join the people watching. I have a very vivid visual memory of seeing the gun carriage pass, which is the only image I recall, but I didn't understand what it was, or that there was a coffin under the union jack. I was lifted up to see it pass slowly by, and sensed the solemn atmosphere in the crowd. The importance of the occasion must also have been explained to me; my grandfather Cedric Worsdell was one of Churchill's election agents in the 1950s and admired him very much.

     
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  46.  
    15:22: John Davies, Marietta Georgia

    emails: I remember it well, I was apprenticed at a printer in London, one of my first jobs there was to work on a magazine supplement for the funeral. My job was to put the pictures and type together to make the cylinders to print the magazine.

     
  47.  
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  48.  
    15:09: Steve Gove-Humphries, Birmingham

    emails: I was just 11 years old at the time of the funeral. We were told about Churchill by the Head Master and were all very excited at the prospect of a day off school for the funeral. We watched the funeral on a TV in the library I recall. The huge TV was wheeled in & we sat in almost complete silence as the service went on.

    It has been fascinating to hear the BBC back stories on the ceremony. The evocation of the past and our history is something that still I find moving. We will not see its like again I think.

     
  49.  
    15:05: Kay-Lesley Hallam Black, Belper

    emails: I am 68 and have been glued to my TV since 9am this morning, watching black & white film of Churchill's State funeral as I watched 50 years ago with my beloved father sitting quietly weeping as he acknowledged this great but flawed man as his saviour and the Lion who gave the roar & inspired the nation in the war years!

    On the 30th of January 1965 he watched and wept in gratitude at the passing not just of this great Briton and inspirational leader of the nation. He thanked God for Churchill's 90 years and at that time his 50 - and I too have kept faith with that again today thanks to your extensive and comprehensive coverage! Only we British can put on a ceremony with such superlative solemnity and dignity!

     
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  51.  
    14:41: Adrian Chojnacki

    @ChojnackiAdrian tweets: Now Churchill and Bevan. That was a Great War coalition. Pity the current coalition is but a mere shadow of that example #Churchill2015

     
  52.  
    14:37: Childhood memory
    Sir Winston Churchill funeral barge

    Martyn Best tells us: "I was there as a nine year old with a camera given to me by my father who was a professional photographer. A family friend was an architect working for Taylor Woodrow who were constructing a new building next to the Tower of London. We stood on an open floor of the incomplete structure and I took the attached picture. I had also attended the lying-in-state and remember having to get up at about 5am to get the train up to London from Hertfordshire, walking past the coffin in Westminster Hall and then getting back home in time for school. It is all a very clear childhood memory."

     
  53.  
    14:30: 'Gave the roar to the British lion' BBC News Channel

    Historian Warren Dockter says Churchill's state funeral was a "major and global event" and it is important to commemorate it today. He singles out the wartime leader's "remarkable will". "It's famously said he gave the roar to the British lion and that's definitely true," he says.

     
  54.  
    14:23: Georgette McCready

    @GeorgeTMcCready tweets: @FleurHitchcock #Churchill funeral is my first memory of watching television. Black, white and grainy. My parents stood - out of respect?

     
  55.  
    14:21: Funeral flotilla recreated

    Missed the funeral flotilla recreated for the 50th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill's state funeral? Watch the Havengore make the trip from the Tower of London to the Palace of Westminster where a special service took place.

    The Havengore - which carried Winston Churchill's coffin, returns to the the Thames
     
  56.  
    14:16: John Drake

    emails: I was living in Middleburg in Holland on the day of Churchill's funeral. It seemed to me on that day that Holland came to a standstill to honour the great man.

     
  57.  
    14:10: Robin Pyman

    emails: I was at school in Oxford. A large number of us went down to the railway line that ran alongside the Oxford canal at the bottom of our playing fields and stood alongside the track, bowing our heads as the great man's train passed by, taking him to his final resting place. We were all in awe. He was our hero.

     
  58.  
    13:56: Ina Holmen

    emails: My entire elementary school in Canada was brought into the gymnasium where the funeral procession was viewed on an elevated television placed near the stage. I remember it being similar to Remembrance Day with speeches, flags, and dignitaries from veterans groups present.

     
  59.  
    Tweet @BBC_HaveYourSay 13:53: Jan Shoesmith

    @4TBookworm tweets: Amazing to think Churchill's funeral was 50 yrs ago today. it's the first news item I ever remember I was 5 & had measles #Churchill

     
  60.  
    13:44: Westminster Abbey

    Westminster Abbey will host a ceremony from 18:00 GMT, with flowers laid at the green marble stone placed there in memorial to Churchill.

     
  61.  
    13:43: Havengore on the move

    The Havengore is back on the move again.

     
  62.  
    Email talkingpoint@bbc.co.uk 13:35: Send us your comments

    Rosemary Pettit emails: On the day of his funeral I was a know-it-all undergraduate with arrogant ideas, determined not to pay homage to an imperialistic war leader. So I ignored the whole thing but couldn't resist turning on the radio for the occasion. Sharing the top floor of a flat high in Hampstead I was quite unprepared for the fly-past which, like a thunder-clap, roared straight over my head. Suddenly, the superciliousness evaporated, the tension fell away and I felt united with all the good people who had lived and breathed during the war, and were even now gathered by St Pauls and the Thames, round their televisions and all over the world. Thank you RAF for bringing me to my senses.

     
  63.  
    13:24: Havengore comes to rest
    The Havengore outside the Houses of Parliament

    The Havengore comes to rest near the Houses of Parliament, where Churchill served as an MP for 60 years, and a brief service is now being held on board.

     
  64.  
    13:15: John Phillips

    emails: As I watch the re-run of Sir Winston Churchill's funeral I can remember the events quite clearly... Winston Churchill was my 'hero'. My mother, who came from Forest Gate, had endured the Blitz and had always maintained huge respect for "Mr Churchill", had told me countless stories of the war and how he had inspired the nation to victory.... To our disappointment when we got to London, the queues were enormous. However that fact in itself made me realise just how much loved Churchill was and we comforted ourselves with the thought that this had made the enterprise worthwhile.

    We got back around 2 am and the next day, morning school was cancelled so that we could all watch the funeral of the 'Greatest Briton' as Mo Mowlam later called him.

     
  65.  
    13:11: "Sombre and quiet"
    Barry Barnes recalling Churchill's funeral

    Barry Barnes, who witnessed the flotilla in person in 1965 and captured some of the day's images on film, recalls that the mood on the day matched the weather. "It was fairly sombre and very quiet", he tells the BBC.

     
  66.  
    13:07: Watching from the Millennium Bridge
    The Havengore passes under the Millennium Bridge in London

    The crowds may not be of quite the same size as in 1965 but there are new vantage points that weren't available 50 years ago.

     
  67.  
    13:04: Watching the funeral

    Brian Giles emails: Churchill's funeral will always be remembered by me, as on the Thursday before the funeral we had bought our first television from Radio Rentals, it was black and white and I watched the funeral on it with my parents.

     
  68.  
    13:03: Churchill's hearse

    Christopher Meeking emails: My grandfather, Charles Meeking, drove the hearse that took Winston Churchill's casket from the Festival Hall Pier to Waterloo Station as he was the senior driver for Kenyon's Funeral Services in London. My father had a picture from a broadsheet newspaper of the hearse and my grandfather clearly visible through the windscreen - it may well still be in the loft at my mother's house.

     
  69.  
    13:00: Havengore from above
    Havengore passing underneath Blackfriars Bridge

    An aerial shot of the Havengore passing under Blackfriars Bridge.

     
  70.  
    12:56: John Emmerson

    emails: My Dad took me to see the funeral procession, I was 10 years old and we travelled from Warrington down to London on a coach. I fell asleep on the way back and woke up in Wigan!

     
  71.  
    12:54: Michael Smith, Ottawa

    emails: As a 17 year old I had gone to the abbey to pay my respects to Churchill the night prior to the funeral. After a five hour or longer slow walk with what seemed like thousands of other mourners that crossed the Thames twice I finally passed the great man lying in state. To this day I respect Winston Churchill as the greatest Englishman ever and we were lucky to have had him.

     
  72.  
    12:54: The Havengore passes HMS Belfast

    The Havengore passes HMS Belfast, a major military landmark on the Thames. Tourists on board the famous warship wave as the smaller vessel passes by, the BBC's Duncan Kennedy says.

     
  73.  
    12:51: Paul Sayles, Misawa, Japan

    emails: I was living in Dunoon, Scotland at the time and watched the entire event on TV. I think all of my family was moved by the rendering of honours by the crane operators as Sir Winston passed the docks on his way home. I still remember the feeling 50 years on as if it was that day.

     
  74.  
    12:49: On its way
    Havengore

    The Havengore makes its way down the Thames, with those on board including pipers and volunteers reprising the role of pallbearers.

     
  75.  
    12:45: Tower Bridge opens
    Tower Bridge

    Tower Bridge is opening its gate as a mark of respect as the Havengore makes its way down the Thames.

     
  76.  
    12:44:

    emails: I was seven at the time of the funeral, and we had not long had a television. It was switched on for the early part of the ceremony, but, unfortunately, we were in the middle of moving from Cheshire to Shropshire, and had to go house-hunting on that day, it being a Saturday. Consequently, much as I wanted to stay at home and watch the funeral, I couldn't. I've regretted this for fifty years - I am looking forward to seeing the recording later!

     
  77.  
    12:43: 'Lovingly restored' BBC News Channel

    The BBC's Ben Brown says the Havengore has been "loving restored" by its current owner from a stage when "grass had been growing through the deck" a few years ago.

     
  78.  
    12:42: 'Fitting tribute' BBC News Channel
    The Havengore recreating Winston Churchill's funeral cortege

    The BBC's Duncan Kennedy, on board a boat on the Thames, says it was a "fitting tribute" that Churchill's coffin was placed on the front of the Havengore boat and carried down the river because of his role as naval secretary.

     
  79.  
    12:39: Labour NHS debate Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Asked about the internal debate within Labour about health policy and the role of the private sector, shadow minister Steve Reed tells the BBC that the opposition backs "what works". Pressed on this, he says the NHS must be reformed to give more control to the people who use it rather than "privatised".

     
  80.  
    12:29: 'Proud day' Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Asked if it is a "sad day" for his family, Rupert Soames says it quite the contrary. "It is a proud day. It is a triumph he is still remembered," he tells the Daily Politics. "What could be better."

     
  81.  
    12:24: 'In gratitude'
    Message on wreath reading: 'From the nation of today, and the youth of tomorrow - in gratitude'

    Relatives and politicians left messages on wreaths during the service at the Houses of Parliament earlier.

     
  82.  
    12:22: Peter

    emails: I remember, age 11, seeing his funeral on TV. My mum had turned it on. Even then, I knew he was special, but the scale of his funeral made that clear. Now, having read his books, and others, I realise he was a complex and fallible man, who became an extraordinary leader when put under extreme pressure.

     
  83.  
    12:18: 'A great Briton'
    David Cameron at Churchill ceremony

    Earlier, David Cameron paid tribute to "a great leader and a great Briton" after laying a wreath at the feet of the statue of Churchill in Parliament. "He knew that Britain was not just a place on the map but a force in the world, with a destiny to shape events and a duty to stand up for freedom," he said in the shadow of the famous bronze sculpture of Churchill.

     
  84.  
    12:17: 'Great reforming home secretary'

    Rupert Soames, one of Churchill's grandsons, says he was one of the few people in the country who was "cross" on the day of the funeral because, as a five-year old, he was deemed too young to attend. Mr Soames, who remembers sitting on his grandfather's knee during weekends in the country, tells the BBC's Daily Politics that Churchill should be remembered as more than a wartime prime minister - adding that he commissioned the Beveridge Report in the 1940s and was "one of the great reforming home secretaries" before World War One.

     
  85.  
    12:15: Tony Guise

    emails: Although I lived in Aston, Birmingham, I so clearly remember the monochrome coverage from the BBC, as my parents and other family members gathered around our tiny television. I was seven-years old and shall never forget the sense of an historic moment. Never thought that memory would still be with me 50 years later!

     
  86.  
    12:14: Colour-coordinated wreaths
    Leaders of UK political parties with wreaths at Houses of Parliament

    Labour leader Ed Miliband, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron laid appropriately-coloured wreaths during the service at the Houses of Parliament.

     
  87.  
    12:08: John Simpson on Churchill

    The BBC's world affairs editor John Simpson examines how an all-too-human politician became a great wartime prime minister.

    Winston Churchill giving V-for-victory sign
     
  88.  
    12:01: Tories 'rule out post-election deal with UKIP'

    Conservative chairman Grant Shapps has ruled out any post-election deal with UKIP should there be another hung parliament. Speaking at a campaign event, Mr Shapps said May's election was set to be "incredibly close" and his party was solely focused on gaining power in its own right.

     
  89.  
    11:59: Philip Keevill

    emails: 50 years ago today I was in London, paying my respects to Sir Winston Churchill. I'd seen something on the BBC News the evening before and told my Mum I'd like to go. We were living 30 miles from Preston at the time. My Mum didn't hesitate. We went to Preston station, bought tickets for the overnight sleeper train, and headed south. When we came out of Westminster Abbey, the press pounced on us. Apparently we were the last people to be admitted, and we were in that evening's papers!

     
  90.  
    11:57: Wreath leaves Tower of London
    Wreath carried from Tower of London to Havengore

    A wreath is being carried from the Tower of London to the Havengore boat, which will then carry it along the Thames to Westminster.

     
  91.  
    11:52: Sense of destiny
    Celia Sandys

    Churchill's grandaughter Celia Sandys says her grandfather had a "huge sense of his destiny" and was the "man Britain needed at that time".

     
  92.  
    @BBCArchive 11:51: BBC Archive
    Churchill

    tweets: Would Churchill's depression have prevented him becoming PM today? http://bbc.in/1DmUaec #BBCChurchill

     
  93.  
    11:50: Rob Thornton, Bines Green

    emails: Churchill's funeral was one of the few things I remember vividly from my childhood... I was a 13-year old schoolboy at the time... My parents, who had both been involved in the war - my father serving in the Army - watched in silence on TV and I clearly remember the cranes on the river dipping in salute. Their reverence was a very salutary lesson in what being a truly great man really meant and I have never forgotten that.

     
  94.  
    11:48: Professor David Durling

    emails: I grew up in London in the shadow of World War Two, and had a keen sense of gratitude to Churchill. As an 18-year old, I found a place among the wharves near Blackfriars Bridge, and paid my respects as the Havengore sailed past. I found myself entirely alone, and it was a moment never to be forgotten.

     
  95.  
    11:47: Gift of the gab
    Winston Churchill giving a speech in Walthamstow in 1945

    Winston Churchill is known as one of history's greatest orators, and he attributed his legendary speech-making skills to an Irish-born politician who taught him the gift of the gab as a young man, says the BBC's Greg McKevitt.

     
  96.  
    11:44: Commons 'man through and through'

    Commons Speaker John Bercow has been paying tribute to Churchill as a parliamentarian. Speaking at a special commemoration service in Parliament, Mr Bercow said the wartime leader was a House of Commons "man through and through" and had resisted blandishments to join the House of Lords. Churchill, he said, believed that the "cut and thrust of debate and the searing searchlight of scrutiny were vital".

     
  97.  
    11:42: Barbara Lancaster MBE, Leeds

    emails: I still remember my father, who was a staunch Labour man, saying there will never ever be another politician like him in your lifetime.

     
  98.  
    11:37: Boat ceremony BBC News Channel

    The BBC's Ben Brown, at the Tower of London, says in about 30 minutes a wreath made by Royal British Legion - at the poppy factory in Richmond - will be carried to the Havengore, the boat which carried the wartime prime minister's coffin along the Thames 50 years ago. The boat will then set off on the same journey again from the Tower of London to Westminster, and Tower Bridge will be raised at 12:45 GMT as a mark of respect. Once it reaches the waters opposite the Palace of Westminster, there will be special service and wreath laying in the waters.

     
  99.  
    11:33: Havengore in 2015
    The Havengore docked in London

    And here it is in 2015, being prepared ahead of the anniversary events.

     
  100.  
    11:31: Havengore 50 years ago
    Winston Churchill's coffin on a boat - the Havengore - on the Thames on the day of his funeral

    Here's the Havengore 50 years ago.

     

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