Privacy and simplicity marked the funeral of President Georges Pompidou on Thursday (4 April). In?
Privacy and simplicity marked the funeral of President Georges Pompidou on Thursday (4 April). In the morning, the President's family and French Government ministers attended Mass at the Parish Church on Saint-Louis Island where the President's son was married and two of his children were baptised.
The coffin bearing the 62-year-old President was taken from the private apartment in Paris where he died on Tuesday (2 April) and driven round the corner to the church. The coffin, draped in a tricolour French flag, was taken into the church by eight pall-bearers in plain blue uniforms. Five minutes later, the President's widow, Mme. Claude Pompidou was escorted into the church for the hour-long service.
The main street of St. Louis Island was cleared by police who erected barriers across all the island entrances. Scores of residents gathered behind the barriers to pay their respects to M. Pompidou, who served as France's President for five years.
Later in the day, M. Pompidou received a simple burial in Orvilliers, the village west of Paris where the President had a week-end home. Again, in Orvilliers, police had taken measures to observe the last wishes of M. Pompidou, who asked that the burial ceremony be kept strictly family affair. The village was cordoned off at dawn, and reporters and photographers were kept away. The route to the village was cleared of traffic as the funeral cortege, headed by a black van carrying the President's body, drove to the country churchyard.
At the Elysee Palace, the official Presidential residence, hundreds of people began signing five books of remembrance which were opened to the public on Thursday morning. The books were placed in the Elysee Lodge, and another one was put inside the Palace for Ambassadors to sign.
SYNOPSIS: Madame Pompidou followed the hearse alone. Her husband was buried in a simple grave -- with only his name and his dates on the head stone. The President had also asked that there be no flowers, but on the day, the grave was decked with floral tributes.