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Desmond Tutu’s body lies in state in his old cathedral

Tutu's coffin in St George's Cathedral

Tutu’s pine coffin will lie in state in the cathedral for two days

The body of the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu has arrived at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town where it will lie in state for two days.

Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who helped end apartheid in South Africa, died on Sunday aged 90.

His official state funeral will be held on 1 January after the lying-in-state period, allowing mourners to file past his body and say their final goodbyes.

Large crowds are expected to visit the cathedral over the next two days.

The lying in state period had to be extended to two days, “for fear there might be a stampede,” a local priest told AFP news agency.

Priests burnt incense as Tutu’s simple wooden coffin was carried into the cathedral.

Tutu’s widow Leah walked slowly behind as the coffin entered his former parish.

Tutu's coffin in St George's Cathedral

Tutu’s coffin was carried into his old parish cathedral by six priests

Members of the public will be able to pay their respects to the much-revered churchman, a driving force in the struggle to abolish the apartheid system enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991.

Memorial services will be held across South Africa while an intimate night of remembrance with his close friends will take place later.

After Saturday’s funeral, Tutu’s remains will be cremated and his ashes then placed in the cathedral, where he preached for many years.

The cathedral’s bells have been ringing for 10 minutes every day at noon since his death.

It will be a simple funeral in line with his wishes.

“He wanted no ostentatiousness or lavish spending,” his foundation said, adding that he even “asked that the coffin be the cheapest available”.