Judith Harker from Liphook was 11 and living on Guernsey when she met the Queen during a walkabout in 1978.

Speaking before the Westminster Abbey service began, Judith, 55, said: “I’m getting emotional already. I was all right until I saw Prince George. My mum died when I was nine and I was at her funeral, and he is the same age.

“I was surprised Princess Charlotte was there as well, as she’s only seven, but I imagine she’s very feisty and was saying ‘If George goes, I want to go’. Hats off to them – they’ve all been so stoic and they’ve not had the time to grieve or anything.

“I wrote in the book of condolence on my birthday, so it’s one I will remember. I just think she was a wonderful woman. She gave up so much of her own life and there was no privacy. She was always beautiful and that smile lit everybody up. She was such an inspiration, and there was her faith. She never gave up right until the end, and even then she still had that radiant smile.”

Judith believed it was vital to make an effort to go out to see the funeral, which she watched at The Living Room Cinema in Liphook.

She said: “It’s easy to stay at home in your pyjamas but that’s not showing much respect. I’ve friends who went to London but I knew I couldn’t stand for that length of time.

“I think it’s great that the cinema’s done this because I’d have been at home on my own otherwise. They’ve changed the channel for us from Sky to BBC and I’m doing my bit by going out to see it here. It’s like I’ve gone to be at the funeral.

“I just think it’s important we take the time to stop and watch it because she gave up so much of her time. It’s a chance to say thank you.”