LONDON, Sept. 6 -- Celebrities and representatives of several world leaders are among the 2000 mourners who have gathered at Westminster Abbey in London for the funeral of Diana, the princess of Wales. Hillary Rodham Clinton is representing the United States, while Bernadette Chirac, wife of President Jacques Chirac, is representing France, where Diana was killed last Saturday in a high-speed car accident. Suzanne Mubarak, wife of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, is also attending, a gentle reminder that the man with whom Diana died, Dodi al- Fayed, was a prominent Egyptian businessman. Hollywood figures Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Stephen Spielberg, and British film icon Sir Richard Attenborough are also at the Abbey. Former British prime ministers John Major, Margaret Thatcher, Edward Heath and James Callaghan, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger are among the mourners. In contrast to the early-morning crowds thronging the streets of London to pay their respects, the High Streets of Britain are almost deserted as shops remain closed until after the funeral. Many people rose later to attend their local church for their own service or to watch a relay of the funeral from Westminster Abbey. All are expected to observe one minute's silence at about noon (11.00 GMT) when the Abbey service ends. London Transport says buses will stop, and on the underground railway the silence will be observed in booking halls and on platforms. Small shopkeepers and leading supermarkets are closed until the funeral ends.
Banks are closed all day and most sports events have been postponed. Many theaters have canceled Saturday matinees and cinemas will not open until 3.00 p.m. A spokeswoman for the abbey said the thousands of flowers that have been placed around the church will remain for several until they fade, when they will be discarded gradually. ---
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