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Sixteen years ago today celebrations were taking place right across the UK to mark the 100th birthday of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.

Born on August 4th, 1900, she was the first member of the Royal Family to reach her centenary and was reported to be quietly "very pleased indeed" to be celebrating such a landmark birthday.

Van loads of birthday cards and presents were delivered to Clarence House, the Queen Mother's home in London, including one very special handwritten telegram. It came from her daughter, The Queen, at Buckingham Palace, hand delivered by Her Majesty's personal postman.

Later in the day the "Queen Mum", as she was affectionately known, travelled to Buckingham Palace in a horse-drawn carriage, accompanied by her grandson, Prince Charles. To the cheers of a large crowds, estimated at more than 40,000, she appeared on the palace balcony flanked by her two daughters, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. Soon afterwards they were joined by other members of the Royal Family, including Princes William and Harry.

Elsewhere in the UK, a 21 gun salute was fired from Edinburgh Castle in Scotland, Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland, and Cardiff City Hall. The bells were rung at St Paul's Church in Walden, Hertfordshire, where the Queen Mother was christened almost a century earlier, and bagpipes were played at Glamis Castle, in Scotland, where she spent much of her childhood.

Street parties were held around the country and at "Glorious Goodwood" a horse race was named after the Queen Mother, who famously loved horse racing. In the evening she and her daughters attended a performance by the Kirov Ballet at the Royal Opera House, in Covent Garden.

Sadly her final year brought tragedy for the Queen Mother, when her youngest daughter, Princess Margaret, died aged 71 on February 9th, 2002, after suffering a stroke. Sources close to the Royal Family reported that the Queen Mother, who was increasingly frail and suffering from a persistent cold, took her daughter's death hard. She died in her sleep less than two months later, on March 30th, 2002, at the age of 101.

On Friday April 5th three generations of the Royal Family joined a grand funeral procession carrying the Queen Mother's coffin to Westminster Hall, where she lay in state for four days. Tens of thousands of mourners filed past her coffin to pay their respects before she was finally laid to rest alongside her husband, King George VI, in St George's Chapel, Windsor.

The Queen Mother left her entire estate, estimated at £70m, to the Queen, who was exempt from paying inheritance tax.

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