PANAMA CITY — Dame Margot Fonteyn, the world's leading ballerina for 45 years, was buried Friday alongside her Panamanian husband in a garden cemetery overlooking the Panama Canal.
The British-born Dame Margot died of cancer Thursday at a Panama City hospital. She was 71.
Known for her grace, style and infectious smile, Dame Margot had a legendary partnership with Rudolf Nureyev that dazzled dance lovers for decades.
"When the history of the 20th Century is finally written, Margot Fonteyn will figure among its greatest women," Archbishop Marcos McGrath said in a eulogy.
Dame Margot, he said, was "the world's foremost ballerina, so enjoyed, admired from afar by millions and millions of people, but her personal virtues were so little known."
More than 350 family members, friends and admirers crowded tiny St. Francis of Assisi Church, a Roman Catholic chapel in Panama City. The altar was decked out with baskets full of purple orchids, red roses and white ribbons.
Attending the service was First Lady Ana Mae de Endara, former President Nicolas Ardito Barletta, foreign diplomats and top government officials. Also attending were employees from the ranch at El Higo, 55 miles southwest of Panama City, where Dame Margot and her husband--diplomat Roberto Arias, the son of a Panamanian president--lived for many years.
Dame Margot was cremated according to her wishes.