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Royals and politicians attend Madrid memorial

March 23, 2004
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International royals and politicians gathered in Madrid on Wednesday for a state funeral for the victims of the March 11 terrorist attacks. Prince Charles and Tony Blair, along with Prince Frederik of Denmark and French leader Jacques Chirac were among those who attended the service in the Spanish capital's Almudena Cathedral.

They were among a long list of leaders from all over the world who came to pay their respects. King Juan Carlos and the rest of the Spanish royal family, many visibly moved, reached out to their subjects, offering condolences to the victims' families. And Queen Sofia was one of the many people who wept openly as Archbishop Antonio Rouco Varela led the service. "Great pain has filled your lives and those of your families since that black day," he said. "We have cried, and we have cried together."

So many people were invited to the event that several hundred had to watch the ceremony on a big screen in the square outside. Large monitors were also set up at several locations around the city, so the people of Madrid could participate too.

A terrorist group linked to the Al-Qaida network has meanwhile claimed responsibility for the bombings, in which 190 people were killed and over 1,900 inured.

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Photo: ©
Her hands reaching out to clasp those of members of the congregation, Queen Sofia offered support to relatives of the victims. Later, as the service got underway, she wept openlyPhoto: © PAy
Photo: ©
From statuesque Crown Prince Felipe there was also a solicitous handshake and a comforting touch on the shoulder for one mournerPhoto: © PA

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