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Pope prays for Princess Margaret's soul

In a telegram of sympathy sent to Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John Paul II prayed for Margaret's soul, recalling the "travails" and "frailty" that marked her last years of life.

"Saddened to learn of the death of her royal highness the Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, I express to Your Majesty and to the royal family my deep sympathy at this time of sorrow," the pope said in the telegram, whose text was released by the Vatican's press office.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, said: "There will be many tributes to your sister so I will just add my own memory of someone of great charm, vivacity and a profound faith in the Lord. Be assured of my own remembrance and prayers. I will be offering Mass for the repose of her soul."

The 71 year old sister of the British Queen, Margaret died peacefully in her sleep in a London hospital on Saturday after a stroke.