From Princess Diana to Abraham Lincoln: Ten Funerals That Shook the World

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By Dominic Gover | December 15, 2013 4:41 AM EST

As the world prepares for Nelson Mandela's funeral on Sunday, we recall the funerals of 10 people whose deaths also triggered international outpourings of grief.

1. Princess Diana
The death and funeral of Britain's 'queen of hearts' in 1997 triggered an unusual national outpouring of grief. A sea of flowers for her funeral was laid by members of the public at the gates of Kensington Palace. Tens of thousands of people lined the route of the funeral cortege, forcing the M1 motorway to close as mo
urners threw flowers at the coffin. At Westminster Abbey, her brother Earl Spencer declaimed the Press and members of the Royal Family to fizzing effect from the pulpit.

Hundreds of floral tributes left outside Kensington Palace (Reuters)

2. Ayrton Senna
Brazil was plunged into mourning by the death of Formula 1 star Ayrton Senna at Imola in 1994. A genuine sporting icon, Senna was raised up to something approaching messiah status by three million mourners who gathered in Sao Paolo for the funeral, plus many millions more watching on television.

Coffin of Aryton Senna Formula 1 star

3. CN Annadurai
A Guinness world record was awarded to the funeral in Chennai of Indian politician C N Annadurai. An estimated 15 million people turned out in 1969 to mourn the leader of the Madras State. A gifted public speaker who made brilliant propaganda films.

C N Annadurai
Crowds gather to pay tribute to C N Annaduri

4. Abraham Lincoln
Following Lincoln's death by an assassin's bullet, the President's body was taken by train to his home state of Illinois from Washington DC. The funeral train became a focal point for a nation's grief, with around seven million people viewing the coffin during 13 stops at different cities.

Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln's funeral train became a focal point for a nation's grief, with around 7 million people viewing his coffin

5. Qin Shi Huang
When the father of China and its first emperor died in 210BC, an entire army was created from terracotta to go with him into the afterlife. Eight thousand soldiers, 130 horses, plus chariots and cavalry formed a tribute worthy for an absolute ruler. His funeral chamber at Mount Li also featured rivers of the metal liquid Mercury. Huang was buried with treasures and also numerous concubines.

An entire army was created from terracotta to go with Qin Shi Huang into the afterlife.
Qin Shi Huang

6. Rudolph Valentino
Screen idol Valentino had audiences swooning in the aisles and when the star of early-era Hollywood died in 1926, nurses wept at his bedside in New York, while at least three women committed suicide. His coffin was draped in gold cloth and demand to see his remains was so strong, that it was rumoured a waxwork double replaced The Great Lover's remains in the coffin during public viewings. His funeral in New York City was attended by 100,000. A second funeral in Hollywood was a private affair.

Rudolph Valentino's crypt (Kafziel at en.wikipedia/Creative Commons)

7. Pope John Paul II
The funeral of Pope JP2 in 2005 was the largest assembly of national heads of state and government ever seen. Four Kings, five queens and 70 leaders were joined by millions watching on television around the world as the pontiff's funeral took place amid full Catholic splendour of St Peter's Basilica, in the Vatican City.

Pope John Paul II
Thousands gather at the Vatican to mourn John Paul II

8. Winston Churchill
The former PM and war leader was granted a rare state funeral upon his death in 1965. More than 320,000 people filed by his coffin while it lay in state. Unusually, the funeral was beamed around the world. Churchill's coffin was transported to its resting place by horse, boat and train - with thousands of mourners lining the route.

Winston Churchill
The funeral of Churchill

9. Joseph Stalin
It's hard to know how much mourning here was genuine and how much of it was done out of fear of the consequences of failing to shed loyal tears for the Red Tsar in 1953. Many mourners were crushed to death as four million comrades packed in to Red Square for the funeral.

Stalin
Many mourners were crushed to death as 4 million comrades gathered at the Red Square

10. Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother
A million people came out to mourn the Queen Mother in 2002, who was popular for her love of horse racing and the odd gin. Westminster Abbey's tenor bell rang 101 times for each year of her life. Soldier turned pop star James Blunt stood on guard duty by her remains while they lay in State. The Queen Mother's funeral was a chance for mourning the nation's granny.

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