22 Dec 2011

Mourning begins for Havel

2:00 pm on 22 December 2011

Final respects are being paid to former Czech President Vaclav Havel.

An estimated 10,000 people accompanied his coffin on Wednesday to Prague Castle where he lies in state.

The procession through the heart of the medieval Old Town followed a Royal route used by kings and emperors for centuries.

The carriage was the same one that bore the coffin of Tomas Masaryk, Czechoslovakia's first president after it was founded in 1918. He died in 1937.

The coffin was draped in the Czech flag and the gun carriage was drawn by six horses accompanied by soldiers in ceremonial uniform.

The procession marked the start of three official days of mourning for Mr Havel, who died on Sunday aged 75.

He became president of Czechoslovakia in 1989 after the fall of communism. When Slovakia split in 1993, he remained Czech leader until 2003.