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Thousands Gather As Pope Benedict’s Funeral Begins

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Thousands of mourners have gathered in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican for the funeral of ex-Pope Benedict XVI.

The funeral Mass led by Pope Francis gets under way at 09:30 local time (08:30 GMT), reports the BBC.

It is unprecedented in modern times for a living Pope to bury his predecessor.

European royals and thousands of clerics are attending.

Benedict will be buried in a crypt beneath St Peter’s Basilica that holds the tombs of more than ninety of his predecessors.

He died on Saturday aged 95 after many years of illness.

In 2013 he became the first Pope to resign in 600 years, citing old age.

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