History Uncut: Tony Blair Reacts to Diana's Death 1997

History Uncut: Tony Blair Reacts to Diana's Death 1997


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History Uncut The History Channel: Recently elected British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks solemnly to the press about the death of the Princess of Wales, Diana Spencer. The Princess had been killed in a car accident in Paris, the result of a high-speed chase. Photographers on motorbikes were in pursuit of the Princess and her entourage. This video clip is courtesy of The History Channel.


Tony Blair

[As in The Mail on Sunday today. Copied in its entirety with links to The Mail, and information at the foot of the page for purchase of the book.]

Revealed:

New book uncovers the brutal endgame that led Brown to unseat Blair

On Friday, May 5, 2006, Gordon Brown was scheduled to give an interview on the Today programme on Radio 4. Tony Blair was weak following a disastrous reshuffle and poor local election results.

Blair had plucked the crown from Brown after John Smith’s death in 1994 here was the Chancellor’s opportunity finally to pull the trigger and claim what he believed was rightfully his.

As one Downing Street aide told me: “Gordon could have killed Tony on that Friday.”

News filtered into No10 of a grid of Brownite sympathisers lined up to go to the media and declare that, at the very least, the bad results indicated that Blair needed to set a date for the handover.

Ed Balls, then Economic Secretary to the Treasury and a dedicated foe of the Prime Minister, was believed to be pulling the strings.

“We’d had a lot of indications that there was an operation being put in place,” says Hilary Armstrong, then Chief Whip. Only its ferocity and manner were unknown.

In front of the Today microphone, at 8.10am, Brown said: “We have got to renew ourselves…it must start now,” and he described the events of the previous two weeks as a “warning shot for the Government”.

In these critical minutes, he had the power to fire the shot that would have finished off a wounded Prime Minister. Brown pulled back. He could not find the words.

No10 learned of Brown’s inner circle going “completely mad” with him for pulling back from the coup de grace, and for not sticking to the script they thought they had agreed with him: to call in the strongest terms for an urgent transition.

Ed Balls reportedly screamed at his boss: “You bottled it!”

Balls loathed Blair, regarding him as “a moron”. His increasingly assertive role at the Treasury struck some as echoing the 1963 film The Servant, in which the butler, played by Dirk Bogarde, progressively takes over as the dominant force from the owner of the house, James Fox.

No 10 agreed that Brown had indeed missed his opportunity.

“Had Gordon talked about Margaret Thatcher staying on too long on the Today programme, it could have been fatal,” a source says.

They felt that their initial suspicions of a plot were confirmed when a string of pro-Brown supporters went on the airwaves and discussed how bad the local election results were and the need for a transition.

No 10 had not been notified about their plans.

Brown utterly denied any involvement and still does. One long-standing Brownite, speaking off the record, admitted the extent of Brown’s complicity: “It was always going to happen, from the moment Tony Blair came back to power in the 2005 General Election and carried on exactly as before.

“They only waited for the ideal moment. ‘I’ve put up with this for a year,’ Gordon said, ‘but no longer.’ We all said, ‘Give him his ten years,’ but Gordon was getting so upset that Tony wasn’t consulting him and that he wasn’t giving him a date.

“Gordon’s great fear was that he would go on until 2008.”

Brown’s camp, says the source, was deeply involved: “They’d been planning something like the coup from day one after the General Election.

“They knew that if they got into year two with no move from Gordon, they would have to promote it – provoke it would be a better word.

“His position on the coup would have been ‘I won’t stand in your way, but you can’t, you mustn’t implicate me or show I instigated anything.’

‘You’ve appointed that f****** Milburn!’

The failed May coup was the culmination of events that had begun gathering pace in early 2005 as the Prime Minister planned his strategy for the coming General Election.

Blair knew then that the “Brown problem” would have to be dealt with once and for all.

He started giving out signals that he was serious about moving the Chancellor, possibly to the Foreign Office.

“I’m going to drive my public service agenda and not let myself be blackmailed or blocked any more by the bloody Treasury,” he would say.

One close aide would often ask Blair, “Are you really up for this?” to which he replied, “I’m going to take no more s*** from over the road, I’m going to do it.”

Blair had further concerns about Brown, and they were personal. “He was worried about Gordon’s character and personality, the dark side of his nature, his paranoia and his inability to collaborate.”

By mid-March, the talk was that Blair was determined to move Brown from the Treasury after the Election – if he thought he had the necessary political capital.

However, with polling day – May 5 – fast approaching it became obvious the Election campaign wasn’t working. Brown, who had always been seen as campaign co-ordinator, was furious that Blair had selected former Health Secretary Alan Milburn to spearhead it.

The Chancellor’s team interpreted the move as the Prime Minister saying: “I’m going to run this Election campaign with my own man at the helm and I’m going to win it, take the spoils and then I’ll be able to dictate terms to Gordon.

“Then I’ll be able to do the things I want in the third term or be powerful enough to sack him if he won’t let me.” They had it spot-on.

Brown did not react well. “You’ve appointed that f****** Milburn!” he raged at the Prime Minister.

“Why’s Milburn coming back? Is it about cooking the manifesto against me? This is symptomatic of the way you behave.”

The Treasury moved into a policy of non-co-operation. “Their attitude was, ‘You’re on your own and you can p*** off,'” says one No10 aide.

Throughout February, Brown came to the General Election strategy group but would sit sullenly, apart from the periodic interjection of a highly critical comment.

One wag dubbed it “the group of death”. Reports began to appear that the Chancellor was sulking.

Eventually Alastair Campbell, who was advising on the Election, visited Brown and persuaded him to rejoin the campaign.

Brown had conditions: Milburn would vanish into the wings there was to be a cast-iron guarantee that Brown would remain Chancellor in the third term and he would have a major role over not only appointments but also policy until such time as he took over.

Many of Blair’s loyalists were angry that Brown was back and thought the Prime Minister had panicked needlessly. “All of those working on the ‘third-term plan’ instantaneously realised that Gordon was going to be the Chancellor. All our work was dead.”

Labour won with a reduced majority, squashing once and for all Blair’s hopes of doing anything to Brown against his will.

However, he was adamant that this would be a Blairite government. The “dual” leadership of the preceding weeks was now over.

Brown had expected to be consulted fully in the subsequent reshuffle and considered it part of the “deal” of his returning to the front line. But Blair had decided that instead he was going to move in on the Treasury appointments.

“Isn’t it at last time to sack Dawn Primarolo?” he asked. Brown reacted to protect her.

“Is my team all you’re going to talk to me about? I thought you said you’d consult me over the whole Government. You promised me,” he said indignantly.

“Gordon, it’s got to be my reshuffle,” Blair responded. ‘I am the Prime Minister.”

The Treasury very quickly got the message that the Chancellor was not going to be involved at all. “Their response was, ‘You bastards.’

“We were straight back to where we were. ‘We can’t ever trust you and we won’t trust you again,’ kind of territory,” says an official.

One No10 insider recalls: “From the Monday following the General Election, the usual state of war with the Treasury resumed.”

Cash for honours … an attempted coup?

The Blair camp saw further dark machinations in the way some party members handled the cash-for-honours row.

On March 15, 2006, Jack Dromey, Labour Party treasurer, released a statement expressing his concern about Labour’s funding, and its possible links to the granting of honours.

He announced that he had “commenced an inquiry into the securing of loans in secret by the Labour Party in 2005”.

News of his statement hit Blair’s office in mid-afternoon, when all hands were being deployed to coax MPs into voting yes on the Education Bill.

Blair was clear that “it was a deliberate attempt to destabilise his position at the very moment that he’d won the education vote, in the full knowledge that the PLP did not like the bill,” says one confidant.

“Jack Dromey chose the very day the Prime Minister was at his most vulnerable, with large numbers voting against the Government,” says another close colleague.

Was Brown involved? Jack Dromey denies this completely. The partisans in No10, however, convinced themselves otherwise.

The linchpin in their mind was Dromey’s wife, Harriet Harman, who was � per cent behind Gordon” and, they believed, still smarting from her dismissal from the Department of Social Security in 1998.

No 10 heard that she had been at the Treasury that very afternoon, as had Dromey.

A story reached Blair a few days later of a plan to remove him from office by effectively bankrupting the party and encouraging donors to say they would be prepared to give money to get it back into the black only if Brown was leader.

Blair himself never accused Brown of complicity but did tell him how outrageous he thought the timing of Dromey’s comments was. “Well, nothing to do with me,” was reportedly Brown’s reply. “Then again,” sighs one No10 aide, “it’s never anything to do with him, is it?”

Blair emerged from one meeting with Brown during this period saying: “We didn’t get down to any substance: all he would say is, “When are you going to F off out of here?'”

In a meeting of Blair’s “senior management team” at Chequers on April 13, 2006, the Prime Minister’s future was discussed.

Some pushed Blair to say broadly when he was going to go but the PrimeMinister saw the risks of naming a precise date.

“If we were in a rational world, dealing with rational people, the plan would work,” he said. But “if you say July, they will try to get you back to April, then to January.”

However, with regard to Brown, Blair told his team that he had “agreed a date with him which was the summer of 2007.”

Clearly, he was not going to be held to this date if he deemed he could keep going productively for longer. What would happen after May/June 2007, no one really knew.

‘If you don’t do what I ask, there’ll be big trouble’

At the end of August 2006, the Prime Minister gave a newspaper interview in which he again refused to give a date for his departure.

The media interpreted this as a defiant snub to his detractors and those elements of the Parliamentary Labour Party already unhappy with Blair regarded it as pouring fuel on the fire.

Birmingham MP Sion Simon began soliciting support for a letter to Blair, asking him to step down.

The Brownites tried to make out that the involvement of Simon and fellow 2001 MP Chris Bryant showed that even loyal Blairites were in revolt. The MPs themselves insisted they were “acting independently”.

The Prime Minister spoke to his closest friends on the phone. “If they want me to go, that’s it,” he said to them. The advice he received was unanimous: “Do nothing, fight on.”

The Blair camp fought back. David Miliband went on the Today programme to say: “The conventional wisdom is that the Prime Minister sees himself carrying on for about another 12 months.

“It seems to me that the conventional wisdom is reasonable.”

MP Karen Buck was asked to organise a letter in support of this position.

The other prong of the fightback was covert and involved telling journalists that this was Brown’s coup.

On the morning of Wednesday, September 6, Blair and Brown met in Downing Street for almost two hours.

Although Brown had received the assurance from Blair earlier in the year that the Prime Minister would go in the summer of 2007, he did not believe it.

He now thought he had Blair on the run and, according to reports of the meeting, demanded “bankable” public pledges on both Blair’s departure date and that he would have a “clear run at the leadership”.

Blair replied: “I can’t do that. I can’t stop people standing.”

Further demands by Brown were that Blair rein in his “outriders” Stephen Byers and Milburn: Brown was fed up having his policies rubbished by the duo. “I can’t stop them speaking,” said Blair.

Brown also pushed for a period of “joint premiership” in the run-up to the succession.

Brown’s stance was described to the media by the Blair camp, strictly off the record, as “blackmail”.

According to one Blair ally, the meeting broke up with Brown saying: “If you don’t do what I ask, then there’ll be big trouble.”

A dazed Blair went off to the Parliamentary Committee on anti-Semitism, where he saw Iain Duncan Smith.

“I suppose you’re laughing your head off about all of this, aren’t you?” he said.

The former Conservative leader’s response touched and surprised him. “I know only too well what can go on,” he said.

Blair saw Brown again at 2pm. The meeting was steadier than earlier.

Blair repeated that he would be gone next summer and they began to explore ways of pulling back from the brink. A party in meltdown served neither.

They agreed to work more closely together and to make statements confirming their positions: Brown’s loyalty and Blair’s departure within the year.

As Brown departed from No10, his grin was snapped by photographers. It was widely criticised at the time as a smirk.

Hopes of a Miliband challenge fade

Despite their new understanding, over Christmas 2006 Blair finally decided he wanted to see an alternative candidate put up against Brown.

“It lasted from the beginning of the year until the point he realised no serious candidate was going to stand,” says one well-placed insider.

To Blair, the key was ensuring that New Labour would be left in safe hands.

When Brown, and those around him, began talking about a “clean break” strategy, he became very agitated about protecting his legacy.

The only candidate with a serious prospect of beating Brown was the Environment Secretary, David Miliband.

“There was a period when several of us thought it was possible for David to win,” says a Blair ally.

Miliband, older brother of Brown adviser Ed, did not rule out standing. He and Blair had several conversations together but managed to avoid arousing suspicion.

All the while he was talking to Miliband, the Prime Minister never put pressure on him to stand.

“Tony was adamant that he wasn’t going to make someone run: if someone was going to do it, they had to want to do it.”

Blair was ambivalent to the end, but in his heart of hearts, he knew that it had to be Brown, because his hold on every part of the party made his victory the only likely outcome.

He also felt he owed it to him. On April 22, 2007, Miliband ended months of speculation. He announced that he would not be running for the leadership, but would be supporting Gordon Brown.

© 2007 Anthony Seldon, Peter Snowdon and Daniel Collings

Blair Unbound by Anthony Seldon, Peter Snowdon and Daniel Collings is published by Simon and Schuster on October 31, rrp £14.99. To order your copy at £14.99 with free p&p call The Review Bookstore on 0845 606 4213.


Adam Boulton wife: Prince Philip’s furious phone call over Diana funeral - ‘F*** off!'

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Princes William and Harry were told 'not to cry' at Diana's funeral

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Adam Boulton, 60, has been married to Anji Hunter, 64, since 2006. Adam is Sky News&rsquo political editor, while Anji is a PR advisor who worked for Tony Blair. She was a close advisor of the then-prime minster when Princess Diana died in 1997 in a horrific car accident in Paris, leaving behind her two sons Prince William and Prince Harry.

Related articles

The media scrutiny around Diana had been intense during her life, and after her death, there was a sense behind palace walls that her sons needed protecting.

However, such was the public outpouring of grief at the loss of the &lsquoPeople&rsquos Princess&rsquo, that the young brothers were exposed to the prying eyes of the world.

Debates raged in Buckingham Palace about whether the boys should walk behind the coffin in the public funeral procession.

In his 2008 book, Tony&rsquos Ten Years: Memoirs of the Blair Administration, Adam wrote about the tensions overheard by his wife Anji Hunter

Adam Boulton wife: The media scrutiny around Diana had been intense during her life (Image: Getty)

He wrote: &ldquoThe events of that week in September 1997 were very sad, but as the spinners from Downing Street came to Buckingham Palace and started to kick around what roles Harry and William should play in the funeral, the Queen had relished the moment when Philip had bellowed over the speakerphone from Balmoral: &lsquoF*** off!&rsquo

&ldquo&rsquoWe are talking about two boys who have lost their mother&rsquo.&rdquo

Anji recalled the moment she heard the furious exchange in a 2017 Channel 5 documentary on Diana&rsquos funeral, 7 Days.

She said: &ldquoI can remember &ndash it sends a tingle up my back.

Adam Boulton wife: Adam Boulton, 60, has been married to Anji Hunter, 64, since 2006 (Image: Getty)

Adam Boulton wife: Debates raged in Buckingham Palace about whether the boys should walk behind the coffin (Image: Getty)

&ldquoWe were all talking about how William and Harry should be involved, and suddenly came Prince Philip&rsquos voice.

&ldquoWe hadn&rsquot heard from him before, but he was really anguished.&rdquo

The two youngsters eventually did end up walking behind the coffin, a sight which is still a talking point today.

Adam Boulton wife: The funeral procession (Image: Getty)

In the same Channel 5 documentary, Prince William, who was 15 at the time, said walking behind his mother&rsquos coffin was &ldquoone of the hardest things I&rsquove ever done&rdquo.

He said he recalled using his fringe as a &ldquosafety blanket&rdquo during the &ldquovery long, lonely walk&rdquo.

Adam Bouton will participate in Pointless Celebrities alongside Owen Jones, Paris Lees, Kay Burley, Carole Malone, Quentin Letts, Amol Rajan and Victoria Derbyshire.

The episode will air at 6.20pm on BBC on Saturday, September 21.


Contents

Events preceding the crash Edit

On Saturday, 30 August 1997, Diana left Sardinia on a private jet and arrived in Paris with Egyptian film producer Dodi Fayed, the son of businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed. [8] [9] They had stopped there en route to London, having spent the preceding nine days together on board Mohamed's yacht Jonikal on the French and Italian Riviera. [10] They had intended to stay there for the night. Mohamed was and remains the owner of the Hôtel Ritz Paris and resided in an apartment on Rue Arsène Houssaye, a short distance from the hotel, just off the Avenue des Champs Elysées. [11]

Henri Paul, the deputy head of security at the Ritz, had been instructed to drive the hired black 1994 Mercedes-Benz W140 in order to elude the paparazzi [12] a decoy vehicle left the Ritz first from the main entrance on Place Vendôme, attracting a throng of photographers. Diana and Fayed then departed from the hotel's rear entrance, [13] Rue Cambon, at around 00:20 on 31 August CEST (22:20 on 30 August UTC), heading for the apartment in Rue Arsène Houssaye. They did this to avoid the nearly thirty photographers waiting in front of the hotel. [13] Diana and Fayed were the rear passengers Trevor Rees-Jones, a member of the Fayed family's personal protection team, was in the (right) front passenger seat. [14] The occupants were not wearing seat belts. [a] After leaving the Rue Cambon and crossing the Place de la Concorde, they drove along Cours la Reine and Cours Albert 1er – the embankment road along the right bank of the River Seine – into the Place de l'Alma underpass. [15]

The crash Edit

At 00:23, Paul lost control of the vehicle at the entrance to the Pont de l'Alma tunnel. The car struck the right-hand wall and then swerved to the left of the two-lane carriageway before it collided head-on with the thirteenth pillar that supported the roof. [16] The car was travelling at an estimated speed of 105 km/h (65 mph) [17] – over twice the tunnel's 50 km/h (31 mph) speed limit. It then spun and hit the stone wall of the tunnel backwards, finally coming to a stop. The impact caused substantial damage, particularly to the front half of the vehicle, as there was no guard rail between the pillars to prevent this. [18] Witnesses arriving shortly after the crash reported smoke. [19] Witnesses also reported that photographers on motorcycles "swarmed the Mercedes sedan before it entered the tunnel." [20]

Aftermath Edit

With the four occupants still in the wrecked car, the photographers, who had been driving slower and were some distance behind the Mercedes, reached the scene. Some rushed to help, tried to open the doors and help the victims, while some of them took pictures. [21] Police arrived on scene around ten minutes after the crash at 00:30 [21] and an ambulance was on site five minutes later, according to witnesses. [22] France Info radio reported that one photographer was beaten by witnesses who were horrified by the scene. [20] Five of the photographers were arrested directly. [19] Later, two others were detained and around twenty rolls of film were taken directly from the photographers. [20] Police also impounded their vehicles afterwards. [20] Firemen also arrived at the scene to help remove the victims. [23]

Still conscious, Rees-Jones had suffered multiple serious facial injuries and a head contusion. [24] The front occupants' airbags had functioned normally. [25] Diana, who had been sitting in the right rear passenger seat, was also still conscious. [21] Critically injured, Diana was reported to murmur repeatedly, "Oh my God," and after the photographers and other helpers were pushed away by police, "Leave me alone." [26] In June 2007, the Channel 4 documentary Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel claimed that the first person to touch Diana was off-duty physician Frederic Mailliez, [27] who chanced upon the scene. Mailliez reported that Diana had no visible injuries but was in shock. [28] After being removed from the car at 01:00, she went into cardiac arrest and, following external cardiopulmonary resuscitation, her heart started beating again. [29] Diana was moved to the SAMU ambulance at 01:18, left the scene at 01:41 and arrived at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital at 02:06. [30]

Fayed had been sitting in the left rear passenger seat and was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. [31] Paul was also pronounced dead on removal from the wreckage. [21] Both were taken directly to the Institut Médico-Légal (IML), the Paris mortuary, not to a hospital. [32] Paul was later found to have a blood alcohol level of 1.75 grams per litre of blood, which is about 3.5 times the legal limit in France [24] (equivalent to about 2.2 times the legal limit in Canada, the UK, and the US).

Despite attempts to save her life, Diana's injuries were too extensive and resuscitation attempts, including internal cardiac massage, were unsuccessful: her heart had been displaced to the right side of the chest, which tore the pulmonary vein and the pericardium. Diana later died at the hospital at approximately 04:00. [33] [34] Anesthesiologist Bruno Riou announced her death at 06:00 at a news conference held at the hospital. [19] [35]

Later that morning, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin and Interior Minister Jean-Pierre Chevènement visited the hospital. [36] At around 17:00, Diana's former husband, Charles, Prince of Wales, and her two older sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, arrived in Paris. [37] The group visited the hospital along with French President Jacques Chirac and thanked the doctors for trying to save her life. [38] Prince Charles accompanied Diana's body to the UK later the same day. [39] They landed in RAF Northolt and a bearer party from the Queen's Colour Squadron transferred her coffin, which was draped with the royal standard with an ermine border, to a hearse. Her remains were finally taken to the Hammersmith and Fulham mortuary in London for a post-mortem examination later that day. [40]

Initial media reports stated Diana's car had collided with the pillar at 190 km/h (120 mph), and that the speedometer's needle had jammed at that position [24] it was later announced that the car's speed upon collision was 95–110 km/h (59–68 mph), about twice as fast as the speed limit of 50 km/h (31 mph). In 1999, a French investigation concluded the Mercedes had come into contact with another vehicle (a white Fiat Uno) in the tunnel. [41] The driver of the Fiat was never conclusively traced, although many believed the driver was Le Van Thanh. The specific vehicle was not identified. [42] [41]

It was remarked by Robin Cook, the British Foreign Secretary, that if the crash had been caused in part by being hounded by paparazzi, it would be "doubly tragic." [13] Diana's younger brother, Earl Spencer, also blamed tabloid media for her death. [43] An eighteen-month French judicial investigation concluded in 1999 that the crash was caused by Paul, who lost control at high speed while intoxicated. [44]

Members of the public were invited to sign a book of condolence at St James's Palace. [45] A book of condolence was also set up by the British embassy in the US. [46] All 11,000 light bulbs at Harrods department store, owned by Mohamed Al-Fayed, were turned off and not switched on again until after the funeral. [45] Throughout the night, members of the Women's Royal Voluntary Service and the Salvation Army provided support for people queuing along the Mall. [47] More than one million bouquets were left at her London residence, Kensington Palace, [48] while at her family's estate of Althorp the public was asked to stop bringing flowers as the volume of both visitors and flowers in the surrounding roads was said to be causing a threat to public safety. [49]

By 10 September, the pile of flowers outside Kensington Gardens was 5 feet (1.5 m) deep in places and the bottom layer had started to compost. [50] The people were quiet, queuing patiently to sign the book and leave their gifts. There were a few minor incidents. Fabio Piras, an Italian tourist, was given a one-week prison sentence on 10 September for having taken a teddy bear from the pile when the sentence was later reduced to a £100 fine, Piras was punched in the face by a member of the public when he left the court. [51] The next day two Slovakian tourists—Maria Rigolova, a 54-year-old secondary school teacher, and Agnesa Sihelska, a 50-year-old communications technician—were each given a 28-day prison sentence for having taken eleven teddy bears and a number of flowers from the pile outside the palace. [52] This was reduced to a fine of £200 each. [53] Fresh flowers, teddy bears, and bottles of champagne were later donated and distributed among the sick, the elderly and children. Cards, personal messages and poems were collected and given to the Princess's family. [54]

Early on, it was uncertain if Diana would receive a ceremonial funeral, since she had lost the status of Her Royal Highness following her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996. [55]

Diana's death was met with extraordinary public expressions of grief, and her funeral at Westminster Abbey on 6 September drew an estimated 3 million mourners and onlookers in London. [56] [57] Outside the Abbey and in Hyde Park crowds watched and listened to proceedings on large outdoor screens and speakers as guests filed in, including representatives of the many charities of which Diana was patron. Attendees included US First Lady Hillary Clinton and French First Lady Bernadette Chirac, as well as celebrities including Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti and two friends of Diana, George Michael and Elton John. [26] [58] John performed a rewritten version of his song "Candle in the Wind" that was dedicated to her, known as "Goodbye England's Rose" or "Candle in the Wind 1997" [59] the single became the best-selling single since UK and US singles charts began in the 1950s, with total sales exceeding 33 million units. [60] Protocol was disregarded when the guests applauded the speech by Earl Spencer, who strongly criticised the press and indirectly criticised the Royal Family for their treatment of her. [61] The funeral is estimated to have been watched by 31.5 million viewers in Britain. Precise calculation of the worldwide audience is not possible, but it was estimated to be around 2.5 billion. [62] The ceremony was broadcast to 200 countries and in 44 languages. [63]

After the end of the ceremony, Diana's coffin was driven to Althorp in a Daimler hearse. [64] Mourners cast flowers at the funeral procession for almost the entire length of its journey and vehicles even stopped on the opposite carriageway of the M1 motorway as the cars passed. [65]

In a private ceremony, Diana was buried on an island in the middle of a lake called The Oval, which is part of the Pleasure Garden at Althorp. [66] In her coffin, she wears a black Catherine Walker dress and black tights, and is holding a rosary in her hands. The rosary had been a gift from Mother Teresa of Calcutta, a confidante of Diana, who had died the day before her funeral. A visitors' centre is open during summer months, with an exhibition about Diana and a walk around the lake. All profits are donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. [67]

Royal family Edit

Queen Elizabeth II expressed her dismay at Diana's death when she found out. [68] Prince Charles woke his sons before dawn to share the news. [69] Upon announcement of the Princess's death, the website of the Royal Family temporarily removed all its content and replaced it with a black background, displaying a picture of Diana accompanied by her name, dates of birth and death. An online book of condolence was also made available on the website for the public to post their personal tributes. [70] On Sunday morning after Diana's death, the Queen, Princes Charles, William and Harry all wore black to church services at Crathie Kirk near Balmoral Castle. [71] The royal family later issued a statement, saying Charles, William and Harry were "taking strength from" and "deeply touched" by and "enormously grateful" for the public support. [72] [73] Princes Andrew and Edward met the mourners outside Kensington Palace as a precautionary measure to test the public mood, [72] and Edward visited St James's Palace to sign the book of condolences. [74] On their way from Crathie Kirk to Balmoral, the Queen, Prince Philip, Charles, William and Harry viewed the floral tributes and messages left by the public. [72] [75]

Charles and his sons returned to London on Friday, 5 September. [76] They made an unannounced visit to see the floral tributes left outside Kensington Palace. [72] [77] The Queen, who returned to London from Balmoral accompanied by Prince Philip, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret, agreed to a television broadcast to the nation. [78] [74] She viewed the floral tributes in front of Buckingham Palace and visited the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace, where Diana's body was remaining, and met crowds that were in line to sign the books of condolence. [72] [79] Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, and her former sister-in-law, Sarah, Duchess of York also visited St James's Palace. [73]

The Royal Family was criticised for a rigid adherence to protocol, and their efforts to protect the privacy of Diana's grieving sons was interpreted as a lack of compassion. [80] In particular, the refusal of Buckingham Palace to fly the Royal Standard at half-mast provoked angry headlines in newspapers. [80] [81] "Where is our Queen? Where is her Flag?" asked The Sun. [78] The Palace's stance was one of royal protocol: no flag could fly over Buckingham Palace, as the Royal Standard is only flown when the Queen is in residence, and the Queen was then in Scotland. The Royal Standard never flies at half-mast as it is the Sovereign's flag and there is never an interregnum or vacancy in the monarchy, as the new monarch immediately succeeds his or her predecessor. Finally, as a compromise, the Union Flag was flown at half-mast as the Queen left for Westminster Abbey on the day of the funeral. [78] This set a precedent, and Buckingham Palace has subsequently flown the Union Flag when the Queen is not in residence. [82]

A rift between Prince Charles and the Queen's private secretary, Sir Robert Fellowes (Diana's brother-in-law), was reported in the media over what the nature of the Princess' funeral should be, with Charles demanding a public funeral and Fellowes supporting the Queen's idea of a private one. [83] The Palace later issued a statement denying such rumours. [83] Discussions were also held with the Spencer family and the British royal family as to whether Diana's HRH style needed to be restored posthumously, but Diana's family decided that it would be against Diana's wishes and no formal offer was made. [84] The funeral committee at Buckingham Palace wanted William and Harry to have a bigger role in their mother's funeral, but faced opposition from Prince Philip, who reportedly stated "They've just lost their mother. You're talking about them as if they are commodities." [72] Prince Harry said in 2017 that the death of his mother caused severe depression and grief. [85] William was 15 and Harry was 12 when Diana died. [86]

Politicians Edit

British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that he "felt utterly devastated by the death of the Princess." [55] [87] US President Bill Clinton said that he and his wife, Hillary Clinton, were "profoundly saddened" when they found out about her death. [19] Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary-General said that her death "has robbed the world of a consistent and committed voice for the improvement of the lives of suffering children worldwide." [71] In Australia, the Deputy Prime Minister, Tim Fischer, condemned the paparazzi for their overzealous coverage of Diana. [88] Russian President Boris Yeltsin praised Diana's charity work in a statement saying, "All know of Princess Diana's big contribution to charitable work, and not only in Great Britain". [89] [90] Among other politicians who sent messages of condolences were Australian Prime Minister John Howard, South African President Nelson Mandela, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, New Zealand Prime Minister Jim Bolger, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. [89] The Australian House of Representatives and the New Zealand House of Representatives also passed parliamentary motions of condolence. [91] [92] The Government of Canada, as well as individual provinces in the country, set up online and in-person books of condolences in their parliament buildings and memorial services were held across the country. [93]

Following her death, delegates at an international conference in Oslo to ban landmines paid their tributes to Diana, who was an avid campaigner for banning the explosive devices. [94] The Ottawa Treaty, which created an international ban on the use of anti-personnel landmines, was adopted in Oslo, in September 1997 and signed by 122 States in Ottawa on 3 December 1997. [95] Diana's work on the landmines issue has been described as influential in the signing of the treaty. [96]

Public Edit

In London, thousands of people carried bouquets and stood outside Buckingham Palace after the news of her death. [71] People started bringing flowers within an hour after the news was shared. [68] The BBC flew its flags at half-mast. [71] Both radio and television aired the British national anthem, "God Save the Queen," in response to Diana's death, as is precedent for the death of a member of the Royal Family. [68] An elegy was published by Ted Hughes to mark the Princess's death. [97] Sporting events in the UK were rearranged, with demands for Scotland's Football Association chief executive to resign due to their delayed response to re-schedule Scotland's World Cup qualifier. [98]

People in the US were shocked at her death. [99] In San Francisco, around 14,000 people marched through the city in a procession on 5 September to pay tribute to Diana, honouring her for her work on behalf of AIDS patients. [100] In Los Angeles, more than 2,500 people transformed a baseball field into a candle-lit altar in a memorial service prepared by an AIDS organisation. [100] In Paris, thousands of people visited the site of the crash and the hospital where Diana died, leaving bouquets, candles and messages. [101] People brought flowers and also attempted to visit the Hotel Ritz, as well. [101] On the eve of the funeral, 300 members of the British community in Paris took part in a service of commemoration. [100] Landmine victims in Angola and Bosnia landmine victims also honoured Diana with separate services, pointing out how her efforts had helped raise awareness about the damage caused by landmines. [100] In Bosnia, a landmine survivor, Jasminko Bjelic, who had met Diana only three weeks earlier, said, "She was our friend." [71] In Egypt, the homeland of Dodi Fayed, people visited the British embassy in Cairo to pay their tributes and sign a book of condolences. [102] Following her death many celebrities including actors and singers blamed the paparazzi and condemned their reckless behavior. [103] [104]

Mother Teresa, who met the Princess a few months before her death, expressed her sorrow and prayers were held at the Missionaries of Charity for Diana. [89] The Bishop of Bradford David Smith and the Bradford Council of Mosques held prayers for the Princess by the Christian and Muslim communities, respectively. [105] Jonathan Sacks led prayers by the Jewish community at the Western Marble Arch Synagogue, and Cardinal Basil Hume presided over the Roman Catholic requiem mass held at Westminster Cathedral. [105]

Social and economical impact Edit

During the four weeks following her funeral, the suicide rate in England and Wales rose by 17% and cases of deliberate self-harm by 44.3% compared with the average for that period in the four previous years. Researchers suggest that this was caused by the "identification" effect, as the greatest increase in suicides was by people most similar to Diana: women aged 25 to 44, whose suicide rate increased by over 45%. [106] Another research showed that 50% of Britons and 27% of Americans were deeply affected by her death as if someone they knew had died. It also concluded that in general women were more affected than men in both of the countries. [107] The same research showed that Diana's "charitable endeavors" and "ability to identify with ordinary people" were among the main factors that caused her to be admired and respected by the people. [107] In the weeks after her death counselling services reported an increase in the number of phone calls by the people who were seeking help due to grief or distress. [108]

Diana's death mostly affected people who were already vulnerable and could identify with her as "a public figure perceived as psychologically troubled but who seemed to have made a constructive adjustment". [109] Another research described Diana's death and funeral as traumatic stressors with psychological impacts that could "be equated with traditional stressors identified in the trauma research literature". [110] In the days after her funeral, an increase in the number of inappropriate hospital admissions was observed, whereas the number of admissions for traumatic injuries decreased for at least three months, showing a possible change in people's driving habits. [111] [112] Her death was also associated with "30% reduction in calls to the police and a 28% drop in public order offences", yet despite its effect on increasing depression and traumatic stress, no significant increase was observed in the number of psychiatric emergencies in Edinburgh. [113]

The national grieving for Diana had economic effects. In the short term, the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) estimated that retail sales dropped 1% that week. Traffic congestion in central London as crowds went to the palaces to pay homage likewise adversely affected productivity, and the CEBR estimated that would cost businesses £200 million, or a total loss of 0.1% of gross domestic product for the third quarter of 1997. However, in the long run the CEBR expected that to be offset by increased tourism and memorabilia sales. [114]

Reception Edit

Some criticised the reaction to Diana's death at the time as being "hysterical" and "irrational". As early as 1998, philosopher Anthony O'Hear identified the mourning as a defining point in the "sentimentalisation of Britain", a media-fuelled phenomenon where image and reality become blurred. [115] Oasis bandleader Noel Gallagher responded to the reaction with, "The woman's dead. Shut up. Get over it". [116] These criticisms were repeated on the tenth anniversary of the crash, when journalist Jonathan Freedland of The Guardian expressed the opinion that, "It has become an embarrassing memory, like a mawkish, self-pitying teenage entry in a diary . we cringe to think about it." In 2010, Theodore Dalrymple suggested "sentimentality, both spontaneous and generated by the exaggerated attention of the media, that was necessary to turn the death of the princess into an event of such magnitude thus served a political purpose, one that was inherently dishonest in a way that parallels the dishonesty that lies behind much sentimentality itself". [117]

The reactions following Diana's death were subject to criticism by Christopher Hitchens. His 1998 documentary Princess Diana: The Mourning After accused the British media of playing an essential role in creating a national, unchallengeable, and at times hysterical cult of personality surrounding Diana, whereas previously they had been extremely critical of her and the monarchy after she had separated and divorced from Charles, and was having an affair with Dodi Fayed. Hitchens claimed the public were behaving irrationally and that many appeared to not even know why they were mourning. He also scrutinised the level of censorship against criticism of Diana and the monarchy but was accused, in a review by The Independent, of exaggerating on this point. [118] Private Eye ' s sales dropped by one third after it ran a cover titled "Media to Blame", which attempted to criticise the instant switch in the media and the public's opinion of Diana after her death from critical to complimentary. [119]

Hitchens's views were later supported by Jonathan Freedland of The Guardian, who also questioned the reason behind the "outburst of mass hysteria" following Diana's death and described it as "an episode when the British public lost its characteristic cool and engaged in seven days of bogus sentimentality, whipped up by the media, and whose flimsiness was demonstrated when it vanished as quickly as it had appeared". [120] Comparing Diana's funeral to that of Winston Churchill, Peter Hitchens noted the "difference in the self-discipline of the people and their attitudes" at the two historical events, with them being more restrained at Churchill's funeral but "un-English" at Diana's. [121]

Some cultural analysts disagreed. Sociologist Deborah Steinberg pointed out that many Britons associated Diana not with the Royal Family but with social change and a more liberal society: "I don't think it was hysteria, the loss of a public figure can be a touchstone for other issues." [122] Carol Wallace of People magazine said that the fascination with Diana's death had to do with "the fairy tale failing to end happily – twice, first when she got divorced and now that she died." [123]

Reflecting back on the event in a 2021 docuseries, Diana's son Prince Harry said that he was surprised by the extent to which the public reacted to his mother's death. Referencing the day of her funeral, he said "I'm just walking along and doing what was expected of me, showing the one-tenth of the emotion that everybody else was showing. This was my mum, you never even met her." [124]


The Complicated Truth About the Royal Family's Reaction to Princess Diana's Death

Kensington Palace has belonged to Britain's royal family for 400 years, and has its share of ghosts. Most palpably, however, it remains imbued with the spirit of one of the most famous figures of the 20th century&mdashan essence that will linger at least as long as the descendants of the late Princess of Wales continue to make her former home their own. Or for so long as there are people around to remember her, to contribute pieces to the not altogether solved puzzle that is her story.

It's been 23 years since Princess Diana was killed in a car crash at only 36 years old, leaving behind a complex legacy that represents different things to different members of a family that had no choice but to carry on and put up a strong front in her wake.

To many, any reservation of feeling was seen as disrespectful, an affront to Diana, who in life was dubbed "the People's Princess" because of the effortless way she connected with a country that often found the royals lacking in substance and relatability, even as she struggled to find solid footing in the family she had married into and then, in their eyes, crossed in myriad ways.

At the time, the queen's unemotional&mdashor at least inadequately emotional&mdashbehavior in the days immediately following Diana's death was one of the rare charges against the monarch that actually stuck in the court of public opinion. There has always been a faction that's fed up with the royals, and the family will forever have its critics, but that time in 1997 remains one of Queen Elizabeth II's few serious fumbles in the now 68 years she's been on the throne.

"SHOW US YOU CARE," screamed one of the tabloid headlines.

But while domestic morale is her stock in trade, the queen did have more important things to think about right away when her private secretary called her at Balmoral Castle in Scotland in the middle of the night to inform her about the crash in Paris. The queen was in such disbelief that she mused out loud, "'Someone must have greased the brakes,'" royal biographer Ingrid Seward reported in her 2015 book The Queen's Speech: An Intimate Portrait of the Queen in Her Own Words.

Diana was pronounced dead at 3 a.m., British Summer Time, on Aug. 31, 1997. Prince Charles, also at Balmoral with sons Prince William and Prince Harry, was told at 4:30 a.m. by the queen's private secretary (and Diana's brother-in-law) Robert Fellowes&mdashfollowing Fellowes' call to Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital for an update&mdashthat the princess had succumbed to her injuries.

"He was absolutely distraught. He fell apart," Tina Brown, author of The Diana Chronicles, said in the 2017 TV documentary Diana: 7 Days That Shook the Windsors. "He knew, instantly, that this was going to be a terrible thing, that. he will be blamed, that they will be blamed, for the death of Diana."

"They," meaning the royal family.

The National Grid reported a record power surge, caused by the turning-on of televisions and, simultaneously, electric kettles, to make consolatory cups of tea. Broadcasters played the British national anthem every hour. And almost immediately, the waiting began for the royal family to release a statement&mdashas well as their surely imminent return to Buckingham Palace.

But Scotland was where the queen remained, with Diana's sons, while London erupted in grief.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed reporters that morning from his home constituency in County Durham, saying he was "utterly devastated," like the rest of the country. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Princess Diana's family, in particular her two sons, the two boys," he said, clasping and unclasping his hands together in front of him.

"Our hearts go out to them. We are today a nation, in Britain, in a state of shock, in mourning, in grief that is so deeply painful for us." Blair paused. "She was a wonderful, and a warm, human being. Though her own life was often sadly touched by tragedy, she touched the lives of so many others, in Britain, throughout the world, with joy and with comfort. How many times should we remember her, in how many different ways? With the sick, the dying, with the children, with the needy&mdashwhen with just a look, or a gesture that spoke so much more than words, she would reveal to all of us the depth of her compassion and her humanity.

"You know how difficult things were for her from time to time, I'm sure we could only guess at, but the people everywhere&mdashnot just here in Britain, everywhere&mdashthey kept faith with Princess Diana. They liked her, they loved her, they regarded her as one of the people. She was the 'People's Princess.' And that's how she will stay, how she will remain, in our hearts and in our memories, forever."

In hindsight, it was a surprisingly emotional and personal public display from the leader of a nation that, as astutely or comically pointed out by many Brits themselves, isn't known for its outward warmth. Blair had only been prime minister for four months, and all eyes were on how he would handle his first major crisis.

Behind the walls at Balmoral, meanwhile, Charles and the queen had decided not to break the news to William and Harry until they woke up in the morning.

Charles, who was almost 13 years Diana's senior and who had only been alone with her a handful of times when they married on July 29, 1981, was caught in a precarious predicament when it came to mourning the death of his ex-wife.

They had been officially separated since 1992 (the queen's "annus horribilis") and their divorce had just been finalized in 1996. In the process, Diana remained the Princess of Wales, but was no longer Her Royal Highness she maintained her residence at Kensington Palace and access to the royal airplane and rooms at St. James's Palace for entertaining, while Charles resided primarily at Highgrove, his Gloucester estate (Clarence House didn't become his official London residence until 2003). They agreed on equal access to the children.

Meanwhile, Charles immediately wanted to take the royal aircraft to Paris to claim Diana's body. The queen initially said no, according to Diana: 7 Days That Shook the Windsors Charles convinced her it was the right thing to do. Harry wanted to go with him, but his father didn't think the 12-year-old should have to bear the ordeal.

"One of the hardest things for a parent to have to do is tell your children that your other parent has died. How you deal with that, I don't know," Prince Harry reflected in the 2017 BBC documentary Diana, 7 Days, another of the numerous specials and retrospectives that marked the 20th anniversary of Diana's death that year, but one of few made with the cooperation of her immediate family. "But he was there for us. He was the one out of two left. And he tried to do his best and to make sure that we were protected and looked after. But he was going through the same grieving process as well."

Harry and William accompanied the queen to church that Sunday morning, as routine dictated, and under the royal family's direction there was no mention of Diana during the service.

Charles went to Paris with Diana's sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Baroness Jane Fellowes. On their way back to the airport, following the hearse carrying Diana's casket, Charles reportedly said in the car to Michael Jay, the British ambassador to France, "It all seems unreal."

Charles' instincts of how Diana should be treated in death were spot-on, but it wasn't long before the royals' stock took a dive in the devastated public's eye, as it became clear that the queen wasn't rushing back to London. Instead, she and Prince Philip were trying to keep William and Harry occupied. Visitors such as Mabel Anderson, Charles' long-retired nanny the boys' former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke and Princess Anne, who had brought her children, then-19-year-old Peter and 16-year-old Zara Phillips, also rushed to Balmoral to support the princes.

"At the time, you know, my grandmother wanted to protect her two grandsons, and my father as well," Prince William, who would later propose to Kate Middleton with his mother's sapphire and diamond engagement ring, also remembered in the BBC film. "Our grandmother deliberately removed the newspapers, and things like that, so there was nothing in the house at all. So we didn't know what was going on."

Not long before she died, William had argued with Diana after paparazzi photos were published of her and Dodi Fayed frolicking on the Al Fayed family's yacht. The 15-year-old, who had vacationed with his mother and brother at Dodi's St. Tropez home, wasn't a fan. He reportedly hadn't been interested in getting to know his father's longtime paramour, Camilla Parker Bowles, at the time, either.

In retrospect William was thankful to have had "the privacy to mourn, to collect our thoughts, and to just have that space away from everybody." When they eventually returned to England, father and sons made the unprecedented move of flying together, usually a no-no for two future kings, but the queen approved the unorthodox travel arrangements. Regarding the queen, William said, "She felt very torn between being the grandmother to William and Harry, and her queen role. And I think she&mdasheveryone&mdashwas surprised and taken aback by the scale of what happened and the nature of how quickly it all happened."

But the fissures that had been forming since even before Charles and Diana's separation were about to bust wide open.

"This is not the time for recriminations, but for sadness," Diana's brother, Earl Charles Spencer, said in a televised statement from his home in South Africa&mdashwhere Diana had even briefly contemplated moving to follow through with her plan (revealed to a Daily Mail reporter in a phone conversation hours before her death) to retreat from public life.

"However," Spencer continued, "I would say I always believed the press would kill her in the end." No less than every editor and publisher who'd profited from ill-gotten photos of Diana "has blood on his hands today."

"She had a very tetchy relationship with the media," her onetime press secretary Jane Atkinson told Vanity Fair in 2013. "There was a lot of mistrust about the information they received from her, and a lot of rivalry for stories."

Diana had mainly been trying to keep them off the scent, ultimately to no avail, of her romance with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, whom she started dating in September 1995 and was said to still be in love with when she also seemed to be on the verge of getting engaged to Dodi Fayed&mdashwhen really she'd only been dating the Harrods heir for six weeks and wasn't particularly serious about the flashy billionaire's son, according to people close to her.

Before they fatefully ended up at the Ritz in Paris on Aug. 30, Dodi took her to another of his family's properties&mdashthe former Windsor villa in the Bois de Boulogne. But Diana was in no mood to commune with the spirit of the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson.

"I think one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the fact that the people that chased her, into the tunnel, were the same people that were taking photographs of her while she was still dying in the backseat of the car," Prince Harry also grimly observed in Diana, 7 Days.

He was a couple weeks shy of his 13th birthday when his mother died, and in recent years he has opened up to an unprecedented extent about the anger issues he suffered as a result of the trauma (he rather understandably scuffled with the paparazzi when he was 20 on one of the many occasions they swarmed him outside a nightclub), and how they went unaddressed for over a decade until he sought counseling.

After she died, any animosity that the press or the people (some of whom had lost their illusions once Diana confirmed that Charles wasn't the only one who strayed in their marriage) ever felt toward Diana in the last couple years of her life went out the window, instantly replaced by antagonism toward the royal family over their chilly response to the tragedy.

With bouquets and makeshift tributes carpeting the grass outside Kensington Palace and people visibly weeping in the streets&mdashwhile the Royal Standard flag at Buckingham Palace remained stubbornly absent (it's not usually raised to any height, including half-mast, when the queen isn't there)&mdashthere was no love lost for the absent family.

The backlash was felt in Balmoral, so on Thursday, Sept. 4, the queen dispatched her press officer to publicly defend the family in a televised statement, to let the people know that they were "hurt" by suggestions that they were "indifferent" to the nation's sorrow. The priority was caring for William and Harry, the statement insisted.

At the same time, the queen relented with regard to the flag, allowing the Union Jack to fly, not just at half-mast, but at Buckingham Palace for the first time ever. Charles' younger brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, were asked to go to Buckingham Palace and visibly walk by the increasingly impatient crowd milling outside.

That evening, William and Harry, with their father and grandparents, ventured outside the Balmoral gates for the first time all week to see the pile of flowers and messages left outside.

The family finally returned to London on Friday, Sept. 5, the day before the funeral and a day earlier than planned&mdashand the monarch proceeded to level with her subjects as best as she could in her first live broadcast in 50 years.

"Since last Sunday's dreadful news, we have seen throughout Britain and around the world an overwhelming expression of sadness at Diana's death," Queen Elizabeth II, dressed in black, said in a national televised address from Buckingham Palace. "We have all been trying in our different ways to cope. It is not easy to express a sense of loss, since the initial shock is often succeeded by a mixture of other feelings&mdashdisbelief, incomprehension, anger and concern for those who remain. We have all felt those emotions in these last few days. So what I say to you now, as your queen and as a grandmother, I say from my heart."

The royal continued, "First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her&mdashfor her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys. This week at Balmoral, we have all been trying to help William and Harry come to terms with the devastating loss that they and the rest of us have suffered.

"No one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of others who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her."

The queen remained perfectly composed, but tenderness could be heard in her otherwise measured tone.

She also expressed appreciation on behalf of their entire family for the outpouring of support, and said she hoped the following day would be one of togetherness as the nation united in spirit to pay its respects to the people's beloved princess.

Neither son initially wanted to walk behind his mother's casket in the funeral procession to Westminster Abbey, but their grandfather Prince Philip&mdashwho, like his wife, also had a complicated relationship with Diana when she was alive&mdashencouraged it.

"If you don't walk, you may regret it later," he told William, according to Sally Bedell Smith's 2017 biography Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life. "I think you should do it. If I walk, will you walk with me?"

William and Harry solemnly joined Philip, their father and their uncle Charles in the procession as it passed St. James's Palace, making for one of the most memorable news images of all time.

"I don't think any child should be asked to do that under any circumstances. I don't think it would happen today," Prince Harry told Newsweek in 2017. But he also said in Diana, 7 Days that he was "glad" to have done it, whether it was right or wrong.

"But I have to say," William added, "when it becomes that personal as walking behind your mother's funeral cortege, it goes to another level of duty."

Charles Spencer told BBC Radio 4 in 2017 that he had objected strongly to the idea of his nephews taking that long, public walk, calling it a "very bizarre and cruel" thing to be asked to do. "Eventually I was lied to and told they wanted to do it, which of course they didn't but I didn't realize that," he said.

"It was truly horrifying, actually," he further recalled. "We would walk a hundred yards and hear people sobbing and then walk round a corner and somebody wailing and shouting out messages of love to Diana or William and Harry, and it was a very, very tricky time."

Also on that day, Spencer memorably seized the opportunity to unload in no uncertain terms on the forces that, from his perspective, had unofficially collaborated to wring the life out of his sister.

In the eulogy he delivered at Westminster Abbey, Spencer said, "It is a tribute to her level-headedness and strength that despite the most bizarre life imaginable after her childhood, she remained intact, true to herself. I don't think she ever understood why her genuinely good intentions were sneered at by the media, why there appeared to be a permanent quest on their behalf to bring her down. It is baffling.

"My own and only explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum. It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this: a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age. She would want us today to pledge ourselves to protecting her beloved boys, William and Harry, from a similar fate and I do this here, Diana, on your behalf. We will not allow them to suffer the anguish that used regularly to drive you to tearful despair."

The Spencers would respect royal tradition, he continued, but Diana's "blood family" would "do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men, so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition, but can sing openly as you planned."

Spencer told BBC Radio 4 that somebody he knew very well asked the queen what she thought of his speech and she had replied, "'He had every right to say whatever he felt. It was his sister's funeral.' So that's all." (Tina Brown speculated in The Diana Chronicles that Spencer was trying to exorcise his own guilt, knowing Diana had been mad at him when she died for not giving her a cottage at Althorp&mdashthe Spencer family homestead where she was eventually buried&mdashduring her most embattled times.)

The queen's public words about Diana were sincere, as a private letter to her aide Lady Henriette Abel Smith&mdashmade public in 2017&mdashthat she wrote after the funeral seems to confirm. "It was indeed dreadfully sad, and she is a huge loss to the country," the queen wrote. "But the public reaction to her death, and the service in the Abbey, seem to have united people round the world in a rather inspiring way. William and Harry have been so brave and I am very proud of them." She was replying to a message from Smith, adding, "I think your letter was one of the first I opened&mdashemotions are still so mixed up but we have all been through a very bad experience!"

After the funeral, which was reportedly watched by an estimated 2 billion people around the globe, Charles and his boys sought privacy at Highgrove House, and the Prince of Wales made no appearances for two weeks.

In the meantime, the natural progression of Charles and Camilla's relationship, then only recently out in the open despite being no secret beforehand, was delayed for months by Diana's death. Charles admitted a year later, according to Bedell Smith, that, while deeply upset himself, he was startled by the public outpouring of grief, saying, "I felt an alien in my own country."

That was one of those famous stiff upper royal lips talking. But Charles has always been known as a more demonstrably sensitive sort than either of his parents, and when he returned to the public eye two weeks after the funeral, his response to a well-wisher who told him to "keep [his] chin up" was to say, "That's very kind of you, but I feel like crying." As images of him as a doting single father began to emerge in the ensuing months, the public's impression of Charles&mdashalways the villain when it came to his dysfunctional relationship with Diana&mdashsteadily became more favorable.

At the same time, a schism formed between Charles' camp and the rest of his family, according to Bedell Smith, in that the Prince of Wales' deputy private secretary at the time, Mark Bolland, was quietly making sure that reporters heard that the queen hadn't want to send the royal plane for Diana's remains, or give her a public funeral.

The queen's press office issued a rebuttal statement denying she had ever opposed her son on those plans. A Palace source told the Daily Telegraph, "This is not a game where one member of the royal family gets more credit than the other." Mother and son's relationship wouldn't thaw out for awhile, due to her tacit disapproval of Camilla&mdashcommunicated in instances such as the queen and Philip skipping the 50th birthday party Camilla threw for Charles at Highgrove in November 1998.

But on a more expansive front, the world seemed to be warming to Charles. As part of his overall mission to mend fences with his public, Charles and the other Charles, Diana's brother, also seemingly buried the hatchet during a trip the Prince of Wales took to South Africa with Harry in November 1997, when Spencer stood up and applauded his ex-brother-in-law's remarks during a state banquet hosted by Nelson Mandela, their first time seeing each other since the funeral.

"The bonds between our peoples, of which I have spoken, demonstrated themselves most clearly after the tragic and untimely death of Diana," Prince Charles said in his address. "I would like to take this opportunity to convey my sons' and my own gratitude to all those South Africans who took the time and trouble to express there condolences."

After the event, Earl Spencer said in a statement, "I have an understanding relationship with the Prince of Wales. My family is united in doing everything we can to help in the raising of William and Harry."

Queen Elizabeth II, now 94 and the longest-reigning British monarch ever, remains the most popular member of the royal family&mdashbut there was a lot to unpack after the days when outwardly it looked as if she might be taking Princess Diana's death in stride.

Helen Mirren won an Oscar for her portrayal as the conflicted royal in Peter Morgan's 2006 film The Queen, and then added a Tony to her trove for playing QE2 again on Broadway in The Audience, about the queen's interactions with a dozen British prime ministers over the years.

Heaven knows what the queen really thinks.

"I've met the queen on a couple of occasions&mdashusually, quite public occasions with a lot of other people there&mdashand she has always been incredibly gracious, but she never mentions my playing her," Mirren told Playbill in 2015. "I think that's absolutely appropriate.

"The royal family&mdashand the queen, in particular&mdashhave always very liberal because we come from a country that has free speech. There have been films mocking them and suggesting they were Nazis and abusing them in all kinds of different ways, and, through it all, they have never said a word. They just let that happen. They don't defend themselves. They don't say anything. In a sense, it's not their role to critique that particular world. Likewise, it applies to a film that I know was appreciated by the people around the queen&mdashbut the queen herself would never say anything."

In The Queen, Prime Mister Tony Blair (played by Michael Sheen) calls the queen at Balmoral and asks her if she doesn't think that an immediate return to London would be in the people's best interest.

"I doubt there is anyone who knows the British people more than I do, Mr. Blair, nor who has greater faith in their wisdom and judgement," Mirren's queen replies. "And it is my belief that they will any moment reject this. this 'mood,' which is being stirred up by the press, in favor of a period of restrained grief, and sober, private mourning. That's the way we do things in this country, quietly, with dignity. That's what the rest of the world has always admired us for."

Count just how wrong the queen was on that occasion as another way in which Diana forever changed what it meant to be a royal.


Princess Diana: Did She Know She Was Going to Die?

Christopher Andersen's new book discusses life after Diana's death.

June 5, 2007— -- In his latest book on the Princess of Wales Christopher Andersen takes an in-depth look at how Diana's death affected the Royal family. The best-selling author previously wrote a book about Diana's life and death. Now, he discusses the many times Diana predicted her own death and why she feared for Camilla's life, too. Andersen even deals with the public pressure William and Harry faced following their mother's death. Here, an excerpt.

Chapter One

He took a few steps toward the body, gasped, then reeled back as if struck by an unseen hand. Beatrice Humbert, the diminutive head nurse at Paris's Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, began to reach out to steady Prince Charles but stopped herself as he regained his composure.

"He was absolutely white," she recalled, "as if he could not believe what he was seeing."Humbert understood too well. Ever since Princess Diana had been brought in from the operating room where surgeons had tried in vain to save her, nearly everyone who walked into the second-floor room with its bright, freshly painted robin's egg blue walls struggled to keep from fainting.

"It was just too much to take in," Humbert said, "too much, too much""Charles was "crushed," said another nurse on the scene, Jeanne Lecorcher. "I had always thought of him and all the royals as very cold and unfeeling, and like everyone else I knew that he really loved Camilla. So I was very impressed by how emotional the Prince became. Very impressed."

No one was more surprised by this reaction than Charles. He thought he had had ample time to rebound from the initial shock. After all, it had been thirteen hours since he was awakened at Balmoral Castle in Scotland with the shocking news that his ex-wife had been injured and her lover, Dodi Fayed, killed in a Paris car crash. The first person Charles called was not the Queen, who was also at Balmoral enjoying the summer holiday with her children and grandchildren, but his longtime mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles. As she had done so many times over the years, Camilla reassured Charles that all would be fine. Diana was a young woman, Camilla pointed out, and they both agreed that she was in the best physical shape of her life whatever her injuries, she was bound to pull through.

But she didn't. "My God, Charles," Camilla said, weeping, when he called back with the terrible news. "The boys!" She then grabbed a pack of cigarettes off the nightstand, lit up, and puffed away nervously as her lover sobbed over the phone. It was to be expected that Charles would be devastated over the loss of his sons' mother. They agreed that it would do no good to wake William and Harry now best to let them get their last good night's sleep before hearing the news.

Charles and Camilla were also weeping for another, less selfless reason. "My darling,' Charles asked her through his tears, "what is going to happen to us now?"In the nearly five years since then-Prime Minister John Major announced before the House of Commons that the Prince and Princess of Wales were officially separating, the public had shown signs of finally warming to the long-despised Camilla. Just a few weeks earlier, in the wake of a highly publicized fiftieth birthday party Charles threw for Camilla, surveys showed that 68 percent of Britons thought it was time for the couple to marry.

With Diana and her new Egyptian-born boyfriend grabbing headlines that summer, Charles was more confident than ever that the tide was about to turn in Camilla's favor. On September 13, Camilla was to keep up the momentum by cohosting a celebrity-packed charity ball to benefit the National Osteoporosis Society. It was to be their debut as a couple at a major public event.

The ball was immediately canceled on news of Diana's death, as were the couple's plans to vacation at Balmoral in late September. In a single stroke, the chances of their ever marrying were obliterated. "If Charles intended at some future time to marry the woman who has been his mistress for twenty-five years," the Daily Mail wasted no time editorializing, "he knows, and Camilla knows, that this must now be put off to a date so far in the distance that some of their circle are actually using the word 'forever.'"

Once again Camilla, who finally divorced her husband Andrew Parker Bowles in 1995, had become the most hated woman in the realm. After all, it was Camilla who had destroyed the Prince of Wales's marriage and driven the much-admired Diana to suicidal despair. 'They've got to blame someone," Camilla told one of her neighbors in Wiltshire, where she lived at Raymill, a converted mill house. "That someone is going to be me, I'm afraid."

Raymill, which Camilla had purchased for $1.3 million after her divorce, was conveniently situated just sixteen miles from Highgrove, the Prince's country residence outside of London. "If Camilla's car is seen near Highgrove for the next six months," said veteran journalist Judy Wade, "it could be the end of them. The public simply won't tolerate it." Toward that end, Charles and Camilla made a pact not to be seen together in public for the foreseeable future.

Camilla would indeed be held accountable for ruining Diana's marriage and causing the Princess untold heartache. But blame for the crash would initially -- and falsely -- be laid at the feet of overzealous paparazzi who pursued Dodi and Diana into the Alma Tunnel.Camilla was not entirely convinced. "Are they certain it was just an accident, Charles?" Camilla asked him point-blank. "Could it have been intentional?""Whatever are you talking about?" Charles shot back. "Those bloody reporters are responsible."

While Camilla would never raise the issue again, Dodi's father was determined to. The flamboyant tycoon Mohamed Al Fayed, who counted among his trophy properties Harrods Department Store in London and Paris's Ritz Hotel, had long been at odds with Britain's establishment. The moment he received word of the crash at his palatial country house in Oxted, Surrey, Al Fayed echoed Camilla's sentiments: "Accident? Do you really think it was an accident?"

In the Arab world, this theory soon gained traction. Predictably, Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi wasted no time pointing a finger at both the English and the French for "arranging" the accident. But even respected journalists like Anis Mansour cried conspiracy. "The British intelligence service killed them," Mansour wrote. "They could not have let the mother of the future king marry a Muslim Arab."

Diana herself would have found it hard to believe. As a longtime thorn in the side of the monarchy and more recently the world's most visible crusader against the deployment of land mines, the Princess had made enemies of entire governments—including, it was suggested, her own. She had always numbered among her sworn enemies the faceless "Men in Gray" who wielded immense power behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace. But even more troubling, Diana had been warned that there were also rogue elements inside Britain's domestic and ¬foreign intelligence agencies—MI5 and MI6—who deeply resented the idea of a future king's mother being romantically involved with a Muslim.

In 1995, after dismissing her royal bodyguards, Diana was driving alone through London behind the wheel of her green Audi convertible when she approached a traffic when she approached a traffic light. She put her foot on the brake, but nothing happened. Frantic, she kept slamming the brakes as the car rolled into the intersection. Unharmed, she jumped out of the car and took a cab back to Kensington Palace. Then she dashed off a note to her friends Elsa Bowker, Lucia Flecha de Lima, Simone Simmons, and Lady Annabel Goldsmith. "he brakes of my car have been tampered with," Diana wrote. "If something does happen to me it will be MI5 or MI6."

Just ten months before she arrived in Paris with Dodi, Diana predicted the circumstances surrounding her own demise with uncanny accuracy—in writing. "I am sitting here at my desk today in October," she wrote, "longing for someone to hug me and encourage me to keep strong and hold my head high. This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous. My husband is planning an accident in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for Charles to marry."

Incredibly, the woman Diana believed Charles was ready to commit murder for—the woman Scotland Yard would later confirm Diana identified in the letter—was not Camilla Parker Bowles. At the time, Diana was reportedly convinced that her husband had fallen in love with and intended to marry someone much younger and more attractive than Camilla—someone who had not only grown extremely close to Charles, but to William and Harry as well: the boys' nanny, Alexandra "Tiggy" Legge-Bourke. To accomplish this, Diana believed there was a conspiracy to remove both Charles's wife and his mistress from the scene. "Camilla is in danger," Diana told her lawyer, Lord Mishcon. 'They are going to have to get rid of us both."

In her October 1996 letter, Diana decried what she viewed as sixteen years of mistreatment at the hands of the Men in Gray. "I have been battered, bruised, and abused mentally by a system for years now," she wrote,""but I feel no resentment, I carry no hatred. I am strong inside and maybe that is a problem for my enemies."The Princess made it clear how she felt about her ex-husband. "Thank you Charles," Diana went on, "for putting me through such hell and for giving me the opportunity to learn from the cruel things you have done to me. I have gone forward fast and have cried more than anyone will ever know. The anguish nearly killed me, but my inner strength has never let me down. . . ."

Diana signed the letter, put it in an envelope, and sealed it before handing it to her butler and confidant, Paul Burrell. "I want you to keep it," she told him, "just in case."A few months later, Diana would offer a different scenario for her demise. "One day I'm going to go up in a helicopter," she said, "and it'll just blow up. The MI6 will do away with me." (Diana was convinced that MI6 had already done away with her devoted Royal Protection officer Barry Mannakee when it was suspected he might be having an affair with the Princess. He was killed in 1987, when a Ford Fiesta swerved from a side street and struck his Suzuki motorcycle. "It [the affair] was all found out" Diana told her voice coach Peter Settelen in 1992, "and he was chucked out. And then he was killed. And I think he was bumped off. But there we are. I don'twe'll never know. He was the greatest fella I've ever had.")

This sad day in Paris, Mohamed Al Fayed knew nothing of Diana's prescient letter. Yet there was no doubt in his mind that Dodi and the Princess had been targets of an assassination plot. Flying his Sikorsky S-76 to Paris, Al Fayed arrived at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital at 3:50 on the morning of August 31 and was told his son had already been taken to the morgue. Ten minutes later, Diana was pronounced dead. On Al Fayed's orders, Diana's belongings were gathered up and shipped back to Surrey with Dodi's.Even as Al Fayed's helicopter whisked Dodi's body off to be buried before sunset in accordance with Islamic law, Diana, whose son would someday head the Church of England, was given the last rites by the only cleric on duty at the hospital--a Roman Catholic priest.

In another odd twist, British Consul-General Keith Moss would give the nod for Diana's body to be "partially embalmed" -- preserved from the waist up. The process was ostensibly done for cosmetic purposes. Given the lack of adequate air-conditioning inside the hospital and the nature of the Princess's injuries, French embalmer Jean Monceau told Moss that the body would soon be in no condition for viewing by the family unless action was taken. "It seemed," Moss later said, "the right thing to do under the circumstances."

Charles had, in fact, taken a keen interest in his ex-wife's appearance even before he left for Paris. At one point, he called Nurse Humbert at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital to tell her the Princess "would want to look her best" for the dignitaries coming to pay their respects that day.Whether or not Charles's intentions were entirely innocent, the go-ahead for a partial embalming -- made with the full approval of St. James's Palace -- would add fuel to the conspiracy bonfires. The procedure makes a full autopsy impossible, since the formaldehyde used in embalming corrupts many toxicological tests. Specifically, it would be impossible to determine if, as was widely rumored, Diana may have been pregnant at the time of her death.

"We did nothing wrong," insisted Dominique Lecomte, one of the pathologists who did the embalming. But because of the procedure, Lecomte and fellow forensic pathologist Andre Lienhart were only able to confirm Diana's injuries instead of performing a full autopsy.Since Prince Charles had seemed genuinely concerned about helping the Princess maintain her glamorous look even in death ("He was so sweet, he surprised me"), Nurse Humbert thought nothing of it when, over the phone from Balmoral, he asked if Diana was wearing her favorite gold earrings."But there was only one earring, on her left ear, Your Highness," she replied. "We cannot find the other." (The missing earring would eventually be found—eight weeks later, when forensics experts dug it out of the dashboard of the black Mercedes S280 in which she had been riding.)"And there was no other jewelry—no bracelets? No necklaces?""No, Your Highness. No jewelry at all."

In asking the question—albeit in a far more diplomatic manner—Charles was eliciting the same information the Queen had already sought. Earlier that day, the Queen had placed her first call to Paris, but not to ask for medical details or about what might have caused the accident. She wanted to know if any of the major pieces of state jewelry that Diana sometimes traveled with were in her possession. "Where are the jewels?" an official from the British Consul's office had demanded of Humbert. "Madame," he repeated, "the Queen is worried about the jewelry. We must find the jewelry quickly! The Queen wants to know, 'Where are the jewels?'"'The Queen had every right to ask that question," Charles told Camilla, still holed up at her home in Wiltshire. Diana still possessed several pieces of jewelry that belonged to the Crown, as well as Windsor pieces he had given her over the years, worth millions. "We can't"" Charles said, making a none-too-subtle reference to the Fayeds, "have them fall into the wrong hands."

The Prince reported his findings to the Queen. Indeed, there were no items of Windsor jewelry on Diana at the time of her death—no rings, no necklaces, no bracelets. He then hugged his grief-stricken sons before leaving to board the Queen's Flight BAe 146 that would take him to Paris along with Diana's Spencer sisters Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.

It was not a trip the Queen had wanted her son to make. Her Majesty had once been fond of Diana tellingly, the Queen's warmly worded letters of encouragement to her daughter-in-law were invariably signed "Mama." But in recent years, the Queen had come to regard Diana more and more as a reckless, self-centered threat to the monarchy. Since the Queen had stripped the Princess of her royal status when the divorce was finalized the previous year, Diana had no official rank, no status. Therefore Her Majesty deemed it "inappropriate" for any member of the Royal Family to make the trip to claim the body. "The Spencers are her family, Charles," she told him. "They should be the ones to bring Diana back."

But Charles, who had spent years waging a public relations war against the media-savvy Diana, overruled the monarch. Appreciating full well the intensity of his countrymen's feelings toward Diana, Charles ignored his mother's objections and went ahead with plans to accompany the Princess's body back to England. "We must show Diana the respect she is due," he told his mother. "If we don't we will all be terribly sorry, I'm afraid."

By way of damage control, Charles would be taking along only one senior member of his staff: his deputy private secretary and media Svengali, Mark Bolland. A former director of Britain's Press Complaints Commission who maintained warm relations with most of Fleet Street's most powerful editors, Bolland had been hired the year before to boost Charles's standing in the public eye. An equally important part of Bolland's job was to remake Camilla's image."The press has been terribly cruel to her," Charles told his new spin doctor at a meeting in August 1996. 'I want you to make people see Mrs. Parker Bowles through my eyes, let them see the marvelous woman I see. Once they do, I know they will love her the way I love her." To accomplish his daunting assignment, Bolland hatched a top-secret plan that would be known behind the walls of St. James's Palace as "Operation PB" (Operation Parker Bowles).

Behind the scenes, Camilla had played a key role in implementing Operation Parker Bowles. Just three months earlier, in late May 1997, she had asked Bolland to arrange a secret lunch at Highgrove with Prime Minister Tony Blair's chief image consultant, Peter Mandelson. With Camilla, Charles, and Bolland in attendance, Mandelson mapped out a strategy for the Prince of Wales to win back the hearts and minds of his people—and for Camilla to make herself acceptable to them as Diana's replacement.Within an hour of Diana's death, Charles was on the phone with Bolland again -- this time seeking advice on how to steer public opinion his way in the wake of the tragedy. Although Diana rightly viewed St. James's as "the enemy camp" where Charles's minions actively plotted against her, Bolland was now among those urging the Prince to make a public display of respect for the dead Princess."Diana was right about one thing," said a former junior staff member at St. James's Palace, "everyone around Prince Charles hated her. The rest of the world may have seen her as a saint, but at St. James's the Princess was thought of as scheming, selfish -- a borderline psychotic. It was considered disloyal to say anything remotely nice about her."

Now, as the royal jet took off across the English Channel, Charles phoned Camilla for the words of comfort and support he would never get from his mother. His voice broke on several occasions during the conversation, and at one point he pulled a handkerchief from his breast pocket to wipe his eyes. Once he finished the conversation by telling Camilla how much he loved her, Charles huddled with Bolland in the rear of the aircraft to hammer out a public relations strategy for the day. It was, without doubt, going to be an emotionally taxing journey for the Prince of Wales. But the two men agreed it was also going to be a pivotal time in the monarchy's history—a defining moment in which Charles might win the hearts of his countrymen and, in the process, their blessing to marry Camilla.

Once the plane touched down in Paris, Charles and Diana's sisters were whisked in a silver Jaguar limousine to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, where French President Jacques Chirac waited outside to greet them. Then they made their way through the maze of narrow corridors to Diana's small room on the second floor.In the hours since learning of Diana's death, Charles had steeled himself for the sight of her lifeless body lying beneath a crisp white hospital sheet. Instead, Charles was, he would later confess, "completely unprepared" for the grim tableau that awaited him. Diana was already lying in her coffin, clad in a black shawl-collared cocktail dress and matching pumps borrowed from Sylvia Jay, wife of Britain's ambassador to France, Sir Michael Jay. The Princess's hair and makeup had been done to resemble a recent photo of her in Paris Match, and in one hand she held one of her most treasured possessions -- the rosary Mother Teresa had given her just two months earlier.

The lid of the bizarre-looking gray metal casket, which had a window in it so that the deceased's face could be viewed by French customs officials at the airport, was propped open. The smell of fresh paint and formaldehyde mingled with the scent of roses and lilies—roses from the Chiracs and lilies from Charles. Oddly, no one else had sent flowers to the hospital.

Struggling to keep from fainting, Charles gasped when Diana's hair rustled in the breeze from the air-conditioning. Then he turned to comfort Diana's sisters, who by now had both dissolved in tears. The trio of mourners sat on chairs that had been brought into the room, hung their heads, and followed a newly arrived Anglican priest in reciting the Lord's Prayer.

When they were done, Charles made a point of meeting with the doctors and nurses who had treated Diana. He thanked them all in flawless French but appeared to grow tongue-tied when he met the two cardiovascular surgeons who had worked frantically to revive Diana by massaging her heart. "Congratulations!" he blurted out to the confused-looking physicians, who might well have interpreted the remark as sarcasm. Startled at his mistake, Charles hastily assured the medical team that he realized they had done all they could. While he chatted with hospital staffers in a room down the hall, Charles was spared the sight of pallbearers from a funeral home jostling Diana as they struggled to lift the gray metal coffin and place it in a large oak casket for the flight to England.

Once back on the plane bound for Northolt Air Base in North London, members of Diana's staff who had come to Paris to assist with the transfer of her body were shocked to see Mark Bolland, a general in Charles's media war of attrition with the Princess. "I wondered," one recalled, "what on earth he was doing on the plane."

Throughout the brief flight, Charles was on the phone to Camilla, this time sobbing to her about the "bloody awful" sight of Diana lying in her coffin. "It was so shocking seeing her like that," he said. 'It was so . . . final." He allowed that the corpse looked beautiful, but then fixated on the fact that Diana was not wearing her favorite gold earrings. "The nurse told me that when they brought her in, she was only wearing one earring . . . ," Charles told Camilla, his voice trailing off. "They never found the other earring. It's sad, really. . . . That she only had the one earring . . ."

Prime Minister Tony Blair was among the dignitaries waiting on the tarmac when the RAF jet bearing Diana's body in the cargo hold arrived back on British soil. The coffin, covered in the harps and lions of the red, white, purple, and gold royal standard, was then lifted out of the belly of the plane by an RAF honor guard and slowly walked to a waiting hearse.

While Charles headed back to Balmoral to be with his sons, the hearse drove to the Hammersmith and Fulham Mortuary in West London for a second postmortem by John Burton, who was then Coroner of the Queen's Household, and his deputy Michael Burgess -- this one conducted according to British law. Diana's personal physician was also there to observe. "I have to attend an autopsy now" he told Diana's sisters, "and it's not going to be easy."

The results of the second autopsy would again raise eyebrows among conspiracy theorists. After they were shown the top-secret English autopsy report, Dominique Lecomte and Andre Lienhar -- the French pathologists who had done the partial embalming of Diana in Paris—wrote a memo critical of the coroner's findings. A decade later, the potentially explosive memo and the autopsy report -- either or both of which might prove a cover-up -- remained under lock and key.

Neither Charles nor the Queen would ever question the circumstances surrounding the crash itself, why ninety minutes had passed before the ambulance carrying Diana arrived at a hospital just 3.8 miles from the crash site, or what either of the autopsies may have revealed. "It is not in their nature to ask difficult questions," a longtime courtier conceded. "They are simply not interested in much more than horses, dogs, and foxhunting. They prefer to keep their heads buried in the sand."

Such was the case in the days leading up to Diana's funeral. Even as a sea of flowers lapped at the palace gates and hundreds of thousands of mourners poured into central London, the Queen refused to interrupt her holiday at Balmoral. Nor would she agree to fly the flag over Buckingham Palace at half-mast, something traditionally done only on the occasion of the sovereign's death. "We did not fly the flag at half-staff for Sir Winston Churchill," she huffed. "We are certainly not going to fly it at half-staff for her."The public's growing resentment was echoed on the front pages of Britain's newspapers. let the flag fly at half mast, trumpeted the Daily Mail. The Mirror pleaded speak to us ma'am -- your people are suffering, while the Sun simply asked where is the queen when the country needs her? where is her flag? and the Daily Express demanded show us you care.

Polls showed that 66 percent of Britons now believed the monarchy was doomed. Fifty-eight percent wanted William, not Charles, to be their next King. "The monarchy must bow its head," warned constitutional expert Anthony Barrett, "or it will be broken."

Britons might have felt even more strongly had they known that the Queen had nixed initial plans to have Diana buried on the grounds of Windsor Castle (as Dr. John Burton, Coroner to the Queen, had been led to believe) and was even resisting Charles's plea for a large public funeral. Her Majesty wanted the Spencers to go ahead with their original plans for a small private service. Again Elizabeth pointed out that, despite her phenomenal popularity, Diana did not qualify for either a state funeral or a royal one. There was simply no precedent for it.

"The Firm," as the Royal Family called itself, seemed oblivious to the people's pain the public's anger over the monarch's icy indifference was mounting with each passing day. Prime Minister Blair urged Charles to pressure his mother into returning to London immediately to deal with the growing hostility toward the Crown. But how? "She simply will not budge," Charles complained at one point to Camilla. "I don't know what else I can do to make her understand."

Ironically, behind the scenes, Camilla -- now unquestionably the most reviled woman in the land -- played a role similar to Tony Blair's. Charles had always been reluctant to defy his mother, and now, in a series of intense phone conversations, it was Camilla who gave her prince some much-needed backbone. She urged him to give the Queen an ultimatum: either she would return to London and address the people on television -- or he would. "The Queen must be made to understand," she told him bluntly. "You must do this, Charles. The monarchy may come down if you don't." Camilla was not alone in this assessment.

At long last the Queen grudgingly relented on all fronts. She approved plans for a televised public service at Westminster Abbey befitting the young woman Britons now called their "Queen of Hearts." She would return to London and order that the flag over Buckingham Palace be lowered to half-mast. And she would address her people. The Queen's televised speech, in which she paid tribute to Diana "as an exceptional and gifted human being," was the performance of a lifetime. When it was over, Charles phoned Camilla yet again and asked what she thought.

Excerpted from "After Diana" by Christopher Andersen. Copyright 2007 Christopher Andersen. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion. Available wherever books are sold.


What Prince Charles Did Right After Princess Diana's Death

Newsweek published this story under the headline of "Spinning After Diana" on September 22, 1997, after the death of Princess Diana. In light of the upcoming 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's death and a recent interview with her brother that went viral, Newsweek is republishing the story.

What exactly happened in the royal household after the death of the Princess of Wales? According to Jon Snow, a respected British television journalist, Prince Charles got into a furious row with the queen's private secretary, Sir Robert Fellowes. The two men disagreed over arrangements for receiving the princess's body on its return from Paris and on the way her funeral was to be conducted. Charles, Snow says, told Fellowes to "impale himself on his own flagstaff." (That is denied both by the prince's office at St. James's Palace and by other sources close to him, but by now the phrase has entered British folklore.) Charles, says Snow, turned for help to Prime Minister Tony Blair.

True? Snow's story was denied immediately and strenuously by both Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street. But it wouldn't harm either Blair or the prince if Britons thought it was true. Charles could do worse than hitch his star to the most popular prime minister in decades, while a kinship with Charles might convince those who distrust thoroughly modern Tony that the P.M. is a traditionalist at heart.

Item for noncynics: Blair and the prince have seen eye to eye for years on policies concerning unemployment and the inner cities. Item for cynics: Peter Mandelson, minister without portfolio and Blair's spin doctor in chief, is an old friend of Tom Shebbeare, president of The Prince's Trust.

This much is plain: with or without Mandelson's help, the prince's inner circle has wised up to the new world. "They've discovered the art of spin doctoring," says one political source, "and they're treating it like a new toy." Just what we need.


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Recently elected british prime minister tony blair speaks solemnly to the press about the death of the princess of wales, diana spencer. Princess diana shared a surprising trait with tony blair, according to the former diana was famously dubbed 'the people's princess' by the former prime minister shortly after her death in 1997. Bit.ly/zveuiy tony blair paying tribute to diana, princess of wales after her death. In his new autobiography, blair writes that diana's relationship was creating some consternation. Tony blair says he was always on guard against princess diana's wildness of emotions. in blair's a journey, he discusses his meeting with diana a month before her tragic death in a 1997 car crash. History uncut the history channel: As the public grieved they wanted the royal family to. 10:18:46uk prime minister tony blair on sunday (31/8) expressed his sadness and shock at the death overnight of diana. Tony blair reveals that he feared for princess diana in the wake of her divorce from prince charles. Tony blair sits down for an exclusive interview with abc's christiane amanpour. Bit.ly/zveuiy tony blair paying tribute to diana, princess of wales after her death. In the documentary, william and harry also open up about their late mother. Tony blair diana on wn network delivers the latest videos and editable pages for news & events, including entertainment, music, sports, science and more, sign up and share your playlists.

Tony blair gave a brief statement about princess diana's the morning of her death. Phone conversations between tony blair and bill clinton, in which they talk about the death of diana died in a car crash on aug. In his new autobiography, blair writes that diana's relationship was creating some consternation. In the days after the princess died, blair was widely praised for saving the royal family from their own supposed obsession with protocol. Tony blair says princess diana was the first 'human' royal.

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Princess diana's funeral earl spencer's speach.

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The last time they met was in july. Tony blair confided in former us president bill clinton over his grief of princess diana's death, it has been revealed. Tony blair opens up about his first conversation with the queen after princess diana's death. 07.02.2020 · tony blair's bizarre claim about princess diana exposed princess diana shared a surprising trait with tony blair, according to the former prime minister in his unearthed memoir. Tony blair opens up about his first conversation with the queen after princess diana's death.

Princess Diana Documentary Traces Aftermath Of Fatal Paris . from img.huffingtonpost.com 10:18:46uk prime minister tony blair on sunday (31/8) expressed his sadness and shock at the death overnight of diana. Tony blair confided in former us president bill clinton over his grief of princess diana's death, it has been revealed. Tony blair sits down for an exclusive interview with abc's christiane amanpour. Tony blair opens up about his first conversation with the queen after princess diana's death. In the days after the princess died, blair was widely praised for saving the royal family from their own supposed obsession with protocol. Tony blair opens up about his first conversation with the queen after princess diana's death. 10:18:46 uk prime minister tony blair on sunday (31/8) expressed his sadness and shock at the death overnight of diana As the public grieved they wanted the royal family to.

In the days after the princess died, blair was widely praised for saving the royal family from their own supposed obsession with protocol.

Recently elected british prime minister tony blair speaks solemnly to the press about the death of the princess of wales, diana spencer. In his new autobiography, blair writes that diana's relationship was creating some consternation. As the public grieved they wanted the royal family to. In the documentary, william and harry also open up about their late mother. Diana was pronounced dead in the early morning hours. Tony blair says he was always on guard against princess diana's wildness of emotions. in blair's a journey, he discusses his meeting with diana a month before her tragic death in a 1997 car crash. Tony blair opens up about his first conversation with the queen after princess diana's death. The princess had been killed. This article is more than 10 years old. Bit.ly/zveuiy tony blair paying tribute to diana, princess of wales after her death. Tony and cherie blair at diana's funeral. Fakat blair, ''her erkek gibi, güzel bir prensese duyduğu hayranlığın'' yanısıra. Former british prime minister tony blair has revealed that he worried for princess diana after she.

Tony blair says he was always on guard against princess diana's wildness of emotions. in blair's a journey, he discusses his meeting with diana a month before her tragic death in a 1997 car crash. Tony blair opens up about his first conversation with the queen after princess diana's death. Tony blair gave a brief statement about princess diana's the morning of her death. Tony blair opens up about his first conversation with the queen after princess diana's death. When diana, the 'people's princess' died, tony blair felt a duty to 'protect the monarchy from itself'.

Royals conspired to slaughter diana and dodi. Bit.ly/zveuiy tony blair paying tribute to diana, princess of wales after her death. Former british prime minister tony blair says his successor gordon brown was a blair said he was a sucker for princess diana but there was an emotional wildness to her which made. Tony blair says princess diana was the first 'human' royal. Tony blair says he was always on guard against princess diana's wildness of emotions. in blair's a journey, he discusses his meeting with diana a month before her tragic death in a 1997 car crash.

On the day princess diana died, tony blair, who had been prime minister for less than three months, made this emotional announcement outside church in his constituency. In the days after the princess died, blair was widely praised for saving the royal family from their own supposed obsession with protocol. Tony blair says princess diana was the first 'human' royal. The last time they met was in july. Tony blair reveals that he feared for princess diana in the wake of her divorce from prince charles.

Diana was pronounced dead in the early morning hours. The princess had been killed. This article is more than 10 years old. As the public grieved they wanted the royal family to. When diana, the 'people's princess' died, tony blair felt a duty to 'protect the monarchy from itself'.

Tony and cherie blair at diana's funeral. Tony blair sits down for an exclusive interview with abc's christiane amanpour. Tony blair reveals that he feared for princess diana in the wake of her divorce from prince charles. In the days after the princess died, blair was widely praised for saving the royal family from their own supposed obsession with protocol. Tony blair opens up about his first conversation with the queen after princess diana's death.

Source: cdn.images.express.co.uk

The last time they met was in july. Tony blair confided in former us president bill clinton over his grief of princess diana's death, it has been revealed. 07.02.2020 · tony blair's bizarre claim about princess diana exposed princess diana shared a surprising trait with tony blair, according to the former prime minister in his unearthed memoir. Former british prime minister tony blair has spoken candidly about princess diana's death in a blair took office months before the princess died in a car crash in a paris, france tunnel in 1997 and. Tony blair opens up about his first conversation with the queen after princess diana's death.

Tony blair opens up about his first conversation with the queen after princess diana's death. Tony blair diana on wn network delivers the latest videos and editable pages for news & events, including entertainment, music, sports, science and more, sign up and share your playlists. Bit.ly/zveuiy tony blair paying tribute to diana, princess of wales after her death. In his new autobiography, blair writes that diana's relationship was creating some consternation. In the documentary, william and harry also open up about their late mother.

In the days after the princess died, blair was widely praised for saving the royal family from their own supposed obsession with protocol. Tony blair says he was always on guard against princess diana's wildness of emotions. in blair's a journey, he discusses his meeting with diana a month before her tragic death in a 1997 car crash. Royals conspired to slaughter diana and dodi. The princess had been killed. Tony blair gave a brief statement about princess diana's the morning of her death.

As the public grieved they wanted the royal family to. The last time they met was in july. Princess diana shared a surprising trait with tony blair, according to the former diana was famously dubbed 'the people's princess' by the former prime minister shortly after her death in 1997. Tony blair sits down for an exclusive interview with abc's christiane amanpour. History uncut the history channel:

Tony blair gave a brief statement about princess diana's the morning of her death.

The princess had been killed.

Source: i2-prod.irishmirror.ie

Tony blair reveals that he feared for princess diana in the wake of her divorce from prince charles.

Tony blair gave a brief statement about princess diana's the morning of her death.

Tony blair gave a brief statement about princess diana's the morning of her death.

In the days after the princess died, blair was widely praised for saving the royal family from their own supposed obsession with protocol.

Princess diana was the first member of the royal family who appeared to behave like a normal updated july 16, 2020 6:41 pm.

Source: static.standard.co.uk

On the day princess diana died, tony blair, who had been prime minister for less than three months, made this emotional announcement outside church in his constituency.

Former british prime minister tony blair has revealed that he worried for princess diana after she.

On the day princess diana died, tony blair, who had been prime minister for less than three months, made this emotional announcement outside church in his constituency.

Source: cdn.images.express.co.uk

Phone conversations between tony blair and bill clinton, in which they talk about the death of diana died in a car crash on aug.

/> Source: static1.purepeople.com

10:18:46uk prime minister tony blair on sunday (31/8) expressed his sadness and shock at the death overnight of diana.

Former british prime minister tony blair has revealed that he worried for princess diana after she.

Tony blair gave a brief statement about princess diana's the morning of her death.

Tony blair diana on wn network delivers the latest videos and editable pages for news & events, including entertainment, music, sports, science and more, sign up and share your playlists.

Source: berniejmitchell.com

In the documentary, william and harry also open up about their late mother.

On the day princess diana died, tony blair, who had been prime minister for less than three months, made this emotional announcement outside church in his constituency.

When diana, the 'people's princess' died, tony blair felt a duty to 'protect the monarchy from itself'.

Former british prime minister tony blair has spoken candidly about princess diana's death in a blair took office months before the princess died in a car crash in a paris, france tunnel in 1997 and.

In the documentary, william and harry also open up about their late mother.

This article is more than 10 years old.

Bit.ly/zveuiy tony blair paying tribute to diana, princess of wales after her death.

Source: i0.heartyhosting.com

Tony blair sits down for an exclusive interview with abc's christiane amanpour.


History Uncut: Tony Blair Reacts to Diana's Death 1997 - HISTORY

On the morning Diana's death was reported, few could have guessed the extraordinary momentum that the mourning for her would generate. By the time of her funeral it had reached fever pitch, with thousands lining the funeral route.

A sea of flowers was laid in front of Kensington Palace, strangers embraced, snaking queues formed in front of books of condolence, businesses closed as a mark of respect.

Her passing roughly coincided with a seemingly broader shift in British sentiments, marked by the end of 18 years of Conservative government a few months earlier. In his recent History of Modern Britain, writer and broadcaster Andrew Marr noted the "perceived shift towards a more compassionate, more informal and more image-conscious Britain".

Had this princess unlocked something in the psyche of the nation, typically painted as private, stoic and emotionally detached? Or was this just a twitch of our otherwise rigid upper lip?

After her death on 31 August 1997, the newspapers were telling us the nation's streets were stained with our tears (Evening Standard) and that Diana had brought an intensely personal language of pain and love into the "buttoned-up discourse of civic life" (Independent).

Even the death of an idolised war leader like Winston Churchill could not compare to the type of grief that accompanied Diana's death, says psychologist Dr Christina McVey.

"A huge number of people took to the streets in 1965 for Winston Churchill's funeral but that was to pay their respects in silence, so there's a qualitative difference.

"People related to Princess Diana as a 'feeling' person. The public perception was she was prepared to publicly hug her children, be tearful and vulnerable."

This, Dr McVey says, legitimised people's own emotions and behaviour.

Dr Simon Critchley, one of many academics who studied Diana after her death, believes she became "some sort of universal lightning rod for people's sense of hurt, wrong and pain".

On half a dozen occasions since 1997 the country has appeared united in grief. The reactions to the Soham murders, to that of Sarah Payne, and to the abduction of Madeleine McCann have borne similarities to the loss of Diana.

And yet there had been public outpourings of grief before Diana, such as the murder of James Bulger.

While it is difficult to prove changes in the nation's mental state, there was concrete evidence that some of society's most vulnerable members were affected by the death of Diana.

Research by the Centre for Suicide Research in Oxford showed self-harm had risen by 44% (65% in women) in the week after the princess's death. One woman tried to take an overdose. Her case notes explained she shared her birthday with the day of Diana's death.

Another patient's case notes said the media coverage of Diana's funeral had amplified the grief for her brother who had also died in a road accident.

The same researchers showed suicides in England and Wales increased by 17% in the month following Diana's funeral. Among women aged 25 to 44, this was as high as 45%.

This could be explained by an "identification" factor - the kind of people who most identified with the princess were most affected by her death, consultant psychiatrist Raj Persaud suggests.

He says it was possible that women close to her in age who identified with her relationship and psychological difficulties became more pessimistic about their own ability to conquer similar problems.

However he points out that any widely reported death or suicide of a public figure can cause the suicide rate to rise.

But there is no strong evidence to suggest Diana influenced the way we handle our emotions in the longer term, Dr Persaud suggests.

"There is some recent research that throughout the Western world people are becoming more extrovert - a trend going on since the 1960s.

"Extrovert people are more open about their emotions. We are becoming more open, but Princess Diana would not have been the cause of that," he explains.

Documentary maker Colin Luke questions the premise that we were ever united in grief. The public response was in fact much more complex, he says - a conclusion he reached after sending eight film makers to mingle with the crowds of mourners before Diana's funeral.

"Documentaries tell different truths. There was a great mix of emotions. There were people mourning her death, people drunk on Friday, lots of tourists thinking here's a big event and we want to watch it.

"There were those who identified with Diana, gay people, people with problems in their lives and a considerable number were mourning her because they were mourning someone in their own lives.

"They had lost someone close to them but found it difficult to mourn. With it being a group activity, that made it easier."

The film, the Princess's People, which was eventually shown on the first anniversary of her death, painted a very different picture from the one in our memories and our newspapers, and caused a huge furore.

Reflecting on the film now, Colin Luke says: "While the film was shocking in its day, it became the prevailing attitude. Those newspapers who tried to tell us we were all mourning, were the ones who got it wrong."

Any pollster or psychologist would find it hard to gauge in concrete terms any change in British emotion. We may have more daytime television shows full of emotional outbursts, be prone to wearing charity wristbands and spill out our feelings in blogs and social networks, but there is much that remains the same.

Below is a selection of your comments.

Diana was a wonderful woman and I'm sure deserved the public reaction to her death. But, let's face it people, it's been 10 years! Can we please let her rest in peace and value her memory less publicly.
Tracy K, Torfaen

The response of many people on that day 10 years ago should not be ridiculed. Diana had become very much part of people's lives and as such her death was felt just as keenly as if it had been a close family member. The public had watched the marriage and celebrated, witnessed the birth of her two sons and congratulated, stood in awe as she dazzled every day folks with her humour, cried with sympathy at her ability to comfort the terminally ill. This is what made her special and this is what people remember her for. Ultimately we all felt saddened that her two beloved boys had lost both their mother and their friend. The continuation of the many lines of enquiry and accusations surrounding her death did little in the way of allowing her sons to come to terms with this tragedy in a personal way. She will never be forgotten and every time Williams smiles or Harry laughs in front of the camera, she is there.
Shelly Willoughby, Northumberland

Over the top does not begin to cover it. I think I knew of only one person other than myself who did not think this was a reason for mass hysteria and at least a week off work due to bereavement. Did not know her, did not like what I saw of her. God, can we please let this go, getting very fed up of hearing about her.
Jacqui, Dundee

Many of us really DIDN'T get caught up in the lunacy of those days - we recognised it for the small scale private tragedy it was, but felt the death of one private individual, wealthy and privileged beyond the dreams of most, at the hands of her boyfriend's drunk chauffeur was nothing more than a passing ripple in the oceans of our own busy lives.
Richard, London

Ye gods! At the time, I felt like the only sane person in Bedlam. I was surprised and saddened at her untimely demise, but I watched the increasing Di-death-mania with incredulity. I still don't understand how so many people got so swept up by the death of someone they had never met. People are strange.
Rik Alewijnse, UK

Good god, are we still wailing over this? Ask the same idiots who cry over this how many dead British soldiers have been shipped back from Iraq.
Sean Evans, Cardiff, Wales

I had the misfortune to be in London at the time. The place was full of serial weepers. Dreadful.
Ian, York

Was I the only one who was profoundly unmoved by the death of Diana? I did feel sorry for her family, especially her boys, but on a personal level I never felt touched by her life, so was not touched by her death.
Alistair Walker, Chatham

I couldn't have given two hoots about Diana. The public outpouring and excessive press was embarrassing and for a couple of months I felt ashamed to be British. I felt the effect in that people called me callous for not sharing in the grief and I was close to being shunned for not wanting to get involved in the mourning of a woman I never knew personally and didn't have any interest in publicly.
Guy Broster, Cockermouth

I was sorry for the way the poor little cat died hounded by the press and a degree of sorrow was understandable then. However, it is 10 years since she died and the time has surely come to bury the dead and move on.
Iain, Leighton buzzard

She was an iconic figurehead. She would have, if circumstances had been different brought the monarchy into a new era. Even though I have the greatest of respect for the royals, they do need to come out to show their humanitarian side.
David Ward, Weston-super-Mare, UK

What a load of rubbish. Hardly anyone I know was affected by this. I remember heading back to work on the Monday and the only person in the office upset was a young PA. She was horrified that I said I had had a good weekend with friends. I can't recall anyone mentioning it much since and certainly not being upset. It's all media hype and a few stupid people focusing on a figure they never met. Just give the whole thing a rest will you and do some proper journalism.
Jeff Webb, St Albans


The Complicated Truth About the Royal Family's Reaction to Princess Diana's Death

Getty Images Melissa Herwitt/E! Illustration

Kensington Palace has belonged to Britain's royal family for 400 years, and has its share of ghosts.

Most palpably, however, it remains imbued with the spirit of one of the most famous figures of the 20th century—an essence that will linger at least as long as the descendants of the late Princess of Wales continue to make her former home their own. Or for so long as there are people around to remember her, to contribute pieces to the not altogether solved puzzle that is her story.

And starting next year on July 1, what would have been her 60th birthday, a statue of Princess Diana will stand sentry in the palace's Sunken Garden.

It's been 23 years since Diana was killed in a car crash at only 36 years old, leaving behind a complex legacy that represents different things to different members of a family that had no choice but to carry on and put up a strong front in her wake.

To many, any reservation of feeling was seen as disrespectful, an affront to Diana, who in life was dubbed "the People's Princess" because of the effortless way she connected with a country that often found the royals lacking in substance and relatability, even as she struggled to find solid footing in the family she had married into and then, in their eyes, crossed in myriad ways.

At the time, the queen's unemotional—or at least inadequately emotional—behavior in the days immediately following Diana's death was one of the rare charges against the monarch that actually stuck in the court of public opinion. There has always been a faction that's fed up with the royals, and the family will forever have its critics, but that time in 1997 remains one of Queen Elizabeth II's few serious fumbles in the now 68 years she's been on the throne.

"SHOW US YOU CARE," screamed one of the tabloid headlines.

But while domestic morale is her stock in trade, the queen did have more important things to think about right away when her private secretary called her at Balmoral Castle in Scotland in the middle of the night to inform her about the crash in Paris. The queen was in such disbelief that she mused out loud, "'Someone must have greased the brakes,'" royal biographer Ingrid Seward reported in her 2015 book The Queen's Speech: An Intimate Portrait of the Queen in Her Own Words.

Diana was pronounced dead at 3 a.m., British Summer Time, on Aug. 31, 1997. Prince Charles, also at Balmoral with sons Prince William and Prince Harry, was told at 4:30 a.m. by the queen's private secretary (and Diana's brother-in-law) Robert Fellowes—following Fellowes' call to Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital for an update—that the princess had succumbed to her injuries.

"He was absolutely distraught. He fell apart," Tina Brown, author of The Diana Chronicles, said in the 2017 TV documentary Diana: 7 Days That Shook the Windsors. "He knew, instantly, that this was going to be a terrible thing, that. he will be blamed, that they will be blamed, for the death of Diana."

"They," meaning the royal family.

The National Grid reported a record power surge, caused by the turning-on of televisions and, simultaneously, electric kettles, to make consolatory cups of tea. Broadcasters played the British national anthem every hour. And almost immediately, the waiting began for the royal family to release a statement—as well as their surely imminent return to Buckingham Palace.

But Scotland was where the queen remained, with Diana's sons, while London erupted in grief.

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British Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed reporters that morning from his home constituency in County Durham, saying he was "utterly devastated," like the rest of the country. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Princess Diana's family, in particular her two sons, the two boys," he said, clasping and unclasping his hands together in front of him.

"Our hearts go out to them. We are today a nation, in Britain, in a state of shock, in mourning, in grief that is so deeply painful for us." Blair paused. "She was a wonderful, and a warm, human being. Though her own life was often sadly touched by tragedy, she touched the lives of so many others, in Britain, throughout the world, with joy and with comfort. How many times should we remember her, in how many different ways? With the sick, the dying, with the children, with the needy—when with just a look, or a gesture that spoke so much more than words, she would reveal to all of us the depth of her compassion and her humanity.

"You know how difficult things were for her from time to time, I'm sure we could only guess at, but the people everywhere—not just here in Britain, everywhere—they kept faith with Princess Diana. They liked her, they loved her, they regarded her as one of the people. She was the 'People's Princess.' And that's how she will stay, how she will remain, in our hearts and in our memories, forever."

In hindsight, it was a surprisingly emotional and personal public display from the leader of a nation that, as astutely or comically pointed out by many Brits themselves, isn't known for its outward warmth. Blair had only been prime minister for four months, and all eyes were on how he would handle his first major crisis.

Behind the walls at Balmoral, meanwhile, Charles and the queen had decided not to break the news to William and Harry until they woke up in the morning.

Charles, who was almost 13 years Diana's senior and who had only been alone with her a handful of times when they married on July 29, 1981, was caught in a precarious predicament when it came to mourning the death of his ex-wife.

They had been officially separated since 1992 (the queen's "annus horribilis") and their divorce had just been finalized in 1996. In the process, Diana remained the Princess of Wales, but was no longer Her Royal Highness she maintained her residence at Kensington Palace and access to the royal airplane and rooms at St. James's Palace for entertaining, while Charles resided primarily at Highgrove, his Gloucester estate (Clarence House didn't become his official London residence until 2003). They agreed on equal access to the children.

Meanwhile, Charles immediately wanted to take the royal aircraft to Paris to claim Diana's body. The queen initially said no, according to Diana: 7 Days That Shook the Windsors Charles convinced her it was the right thing to do. Harry wanted to go with him, but his father didn't think the 12-year-old should have to bear the ordeal.

"One of the hardest things for a parent to have to do is tell your children that your other parent has died. How you deal with that, I don't know," Prince Harry reflected in the 2017 BBC documentary Diana, 7 Days, another of the numerous specials and retrospectives that marked the 20th anniversary of Diana's death that year, but one of few made with the cooperation of her immediate family. "But he was there for us. He was the one out of two left. And he tried to do his best and to make sure that we were protected and looked after. But he was going through the same grieving process as well."

Harry and William accompanied the queen to church that Sunday morning, as routine dictated, and under the royal family's direction there was no mention of Diana during the service.

Charles went to Paris with Diana's sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Baroness Jane Fellowes. On their way back to the airport, following the hearse carrying Diana's casket, Charles reportedly said in the car to Michael Jay, the British ambassador to France, "It all seems unreal."

Charles' instincts of how Diana should be treated in death were spot-on, but it wasn't long before the royals' stock took a dive in the devastated public's eye, as it became clear that the queen wasn't rushing back to London. Instead, she and Prince Philip were trying to keep William and Harry occupied. Visitors such as Mabel Anderson, Charles' long-retired nanny the boys' former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke and Princess Anne, who had brought her children, then-19-year-old Peter and 16-year-old Zara Phillips, also rushed to Balmoral to support the princes.

"At the time, you know, my grandmother wanted to protect her two grandsons, and my father as well," Prince William, who would later propose to Kate Middleton with his mother's sapphire and diamond engagement ring, also remembered in the BBC film. "Our grandmother deliberately removed the newspapers, and things like that, so there was nothing in the house at all. So we didn't know what was going on."

Not long before she died, William had argued with Diana after paparazzi photos were published of her and Dodi Fayed frolicking on the Al Fayed family's yacht. The 15-year-old, who had vacationed with his mother and brother at Dodi's St. Tropez home, wasn't a fan. He reportedly hadn't been interested in getting to know his father's longtime paramour, Camilla Parker Bowles, at the time, either.

In retrospect William was thankful to have had "the privacy to mourn, to collect our thoughts, and to just have that space away from everybody." When they eventually returned to England, father and sons made the unprecedented move of flying together, usually a no-no for two future kings, but the queen approved the unorthodox travel arrangements. Regarding the queen, William said, "She felt very torn between being the grandmother to William and Harry, and her queen role. And I think she—everyone—was surprised and taken aback by the scale of what happened and the nature of how quickly it all happened."

But the fissures that had been forming since even before Charles and Diana's separation were about to bust wide open.

"This is not the time for recriminations, but for sadness," Diana's brother, Earl Charles Spencer, said in a televised statement from his home in South Africa—where Diana had even briefly contemplated moving to follow through with her plan (revealed to a Daily Mail reporter in a phone conversation hours before her death) to retreat from public life.

"However," Spencer continued, "I would say I always believed the press would kill her in the end." No less than every editor and publisher whoɽ profited from ill-gotten photos of Diana "has blood on his hands today."

"She had a very tetchy relationship with the media," her onetime press secretary Jane Atkinson told Vanity Fair in 2013. "There was a lot of mistrust about the information they received from her, and a lot of rivalry for stories."

Diana had mainly been trying to keep them off the scent, ultimately to no avail, of her romance with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, whom she started dating in September 1995 and was said to still be in love with when she also seemed to be on the verge of getting engaged to Dodi Fayedwhen really sheɽ only been dating the Harrods heir for six weeks and wasn't particularly serious about the flashy billionaire's son, according to people close to her.

Before they fatefully ended up at the Ritz in Paris on Aug. 30, Dodi took her to another of his family's properties—the former Windsor villa in the Bois de Boulogne. But Diana was in no mood to commune with the spirit of the twice-divorced Wallis Simpson.

"I think one of the hardest things to come to terms with is the fact that the people that chased her, into the tunnel, were the same people that were taking photographs of her while she was still dying in the backseat of the car," Prince Harry also grimly observed in Diana, 7 Days.

He was a couple weeks shy of his 13th birthday when his mother died, and in recent years he has opened up to an unprecedented extent about the anger issues he suffered as a result of the trauma (he rather understandably scuffled with the paparazzi when he was 20 on one of the many occasions they swarmed him outside a nightclub), and how they went unaddressed for over a decade until he sought counseling.

After she died, any animosity that the press or the people (some of whom had lost their illusions once Diana confirmed that Charles wasn't the only one who strayed in their marriage) ever felt toward Diana in the last couple years of her life went out the window, instantly replaced by antagonism toward the royal family over their chilly response to the tragedy.

With bouquets and makeshift tributes carpeting the grass outside Kensington Palace and people visibly weeping in the streets—while the Royal Standard flag at Buckingham Palace remained stubbornly absent (it's not usually raised to any height, including half-mast, when the queen isn't there)—there was no love lost for the absent family.

The backlash was felt in Balmoral, so on Thursday, Sept. 4, the queen dispatched her press officer to publicly defend the family in a televised statement, to let the people know that they were "hurt" by suggestions that they were "indifferent" to the nation's sorrow. The priority was caring for William and Harry, the statement insisted.

At the same time, the queen relented with regard to the flag, allowing the Union Jack to fly, not just at half-mast, but at Buckingham Palace for the first time ever. Charles' younger brothers, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, were asked to go to Buckingham Palace and visibly walk by the increasingly impatient crowd milling outside.

That evening, William and Harry, with their father and grandparents, ventured outside the Balmoral gates for the first time all week to see the pile of flowers and messages left outside.

The family finally returned to London on Friday, Sept. 5, the day before the funeral and a day earlier than planned—and the monarch proceeded to level with her subjects as best as she could in her first live broadcast in 50 years.

"Since last Sunday's dreadful news, we have seen throughout Britain and around the world an overwhelming expression of sadness at Diana's death," Queen Elizabeth II, dressed in black, said in a national televised address from Buckingham Palace. "We have all been trying in our different ways to cope. It is not easy to express a sense of loss, since the initial shock is often succeeded by a mixture of other feelings—disbelief, incomprehension, anger and concern for those who remain. We have all felt those emotions in these last few days. So what I say to you now, as your queen and as a grandmother, I say from my heart."

The royal continued, "First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her—for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys. This week at Balmoral, we have all been trying to help William and Harry come to terms with the devastating loss that they and the rest of us have suffered.

"No one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of others who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her."

The queen remained perfectly composed, but tenderness could be heard in her otherwise measured tone.

She also expressed appreciation on behalf of their entire family for the outpouring of support, and said she hoped the following day would be one of togetherness as the nation united in spirit to pay its respects to the people's beloved princess.

Neither son initially wanted to walk behind his mother's casket in the funeral procession to Westminster Abbey, but their grandfather Prince Philipwho, like his wife, also had a complicated relationship with Diana when she was alive—encouraged it.

"If you don't walk, you may regret it later," he told William, according to Sally Bedell Smith's 2017 biography Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life. "I think you should do it. If I walk, will you walk with me?"

William and Harry solemnly joined Philip, their father and their uncle Charles in the procession as it passed St. James's Palace, making for one of the most memorable news images of all time.

"I don't think any child should be asked to do that under any circumstances. I don't think it would happen today," Prince Harry told Newsweek in 2017. But he also said in Diana, 7 Days that he was "glad" to have done it, whether it was right or wrong.

"But I have to say," William added, "when it becomes that personal as walking behind your mother's funeral cortege, it goes to another level of duty."

Charles Spencer told BBC Radio 4 in 2017 that he had objected strongly to the idea of his nephews taking that long, public walk, calling it a "very bizarre and cruel" thing to be asked to do. "Eventually I was lied to and told they wanted to do it, which of course they didn't but I didn't realize that," he said.

"It was truly horrifying, actually," he further recalled. "We would walk a hundred yards and hear people sobbing and then walk round a corner and somebody wailing and shouting out messages of love to Diana or William and Harry, and it was a very, very tricky time."

Also on that day, Spencer memorably seized the opportunity to unload in no uncertain terms on the forces that, from his perspective, had unofficially collaborated to wring the life out of his sister.

In the eulogy he delivered at Westminster Abbey, Spencer said, "It is a tribute to her level-headedness and strength that despite the most bizarre life imaginable after her childhood, she remained intact, true to herself. I don't think she ever understood why her genuinely good intentions were sneered at by the media, why there appeared to be a permanent quest on their behalf to bring her down. It is baffling.

"My own and only explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum. It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this: a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age. She would want us today to pledge ourselves to protecting her beloved boys, William and Harry, from a similar fate and I do this here, Diana, on your behalf. We will not allow them to suffer the anguish that used regularly to drive you to tearful despair."

The Spencers would respect royal tradition, he continued, but Diana's "blood family" would "do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men, so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition, but can sing openly as you planned."

Spencer told BBC Radio 4 that somebody he knew very well asked the queen what she thought of his speech and she had replied, "'He had every right to say whatever he felt. It was his sister's funeral.' So that's all." (Tina Brown speculated in The Diana Chronicles that Spencer was trying to exorcise his own guilt, knowing Diana had been mad at him when she died for not giving her a cottage at Althorp—the Spencer family homestead where she was eventually buried—during her most embattled times.)

The queen's public words about Diana were sincere, as a private letter to her aide Lady Henriette Abel Smith—made public in 2017—that she wrote after the funeral seems to confirm. "It was indeed dreadfully sad, and she is a huge loss to the country," the queen wrote. "But the public reaction to her death, and the service in the Abbey, seem to have united people round the world in a rather inspiring way. William and Harry have been so brave and I am very proud of them." She was replying to a message from Smith, adding, "I think your letter was one of the first I opened—emotions are still so mixed up but we have all been through a very bad experience!"

After the funeral, which was reportedly watched by an estimated 2 billion people around the globe, Charles and his boys sought privacy at Highgrove House, and the Prince of Wales made no appearances for two weeks.

In the meantime, the natural progression of Charles and Camilla's relationship, then only recently out in the open despite being no secret beforehand, was delayed for months by Diana's death. Charles admitted a year later, according to Bedell Smith, that, while deeply upset himself, he was startled by the public outpouring of grief, saying, "I felt an alien in my own country."

That was one of those famous stiff upper royal lips talking. But Charles has always been known as a more demonstrably sensitive sort than either of his parents, and when he returned to the public eye two weeks after the funeral, his response to a well-wisher who told him to "keep [his] chin up" was to say, "That's very kind of you, but I feel like crying." As images of him as a doting single father began to emerge in the ensuing months, the public's impression of Charles—always the villain when it came to his dysfunctional relationship with Diana—steadily became more favorable.

At the same time, a schism formed between Charles' camp and the rest of his family, according to Bedell Smith, in that the Prince of Wales' deputy private secretary at the time, Mark Bolland, was quietly making sure that reporters heard that the queen hadn't want to send the royal plane for Diana's remains, or give her a public funeral.

The queen's press office issued a rebuttal statement denying she had ever opposed her son on those plans. A Palace source told the Daily Telegraph, "This is not a game where one member of the royal family gets more credit than the other." Mother and son's relationship wouldn't thaw out for awhile, due to her tacit disapproval of Camilla—communicated in instances such as the queen and Philip skipping the 50th birthday party Camilla threw for Charles at Highgrove in November 1998.

But on a more expansive front, the world seemed to be warming to Charles. As part of his overall mission to mend fences with his public, Charles and the other Charles, Diana's brother, also seemingly buried the hatchet during a trip the Prince of Wales took to South Africa with Harry in November 1997, when Spencer stood up and applauded his ex-brother-in-law's remarks during a state banquet hosted by Nelson Mandela, their first time seeing each other since the funeral.

"The bonds between our peoples, of which I have spoken, demonstrated themselves most clearly after the tragic and untimely death of Diana," Prince Charles said in his address. "I would like to take this opportunity to convey my sons' and my own gratitude to all those South Africans who took the time and trouble to express there condolences."

After the event, Earl Spencer said in a statement, "I have an understanding relationship with the Prince of Wales. My family is united in doing everything we can to help in the raising of William and Harry."

Queen Elizabeth II, now 94 and the longest-reigning British monarch ever, remains the most popular member of the royal family—but there was a lot to unpack after the days when outwardly it looked as if she might be taking Princess Diana's death in stride.

Helen Mirren won an Oscar for her portrayal as the conflicted royal in Peter Morgan's 2006 film The Queen, and then added a Tony to her trove for playing QE2 again on Broadway in The Audience, about the queen's interactions with a dozen British prime ministers over the years.

Heaven knows what the queen really thinks.

"I've met the queen on a couple of occasions—usually, quite public occasions with a lot of other people there—and she has always been incredibly gracious, but she never mentions my playing her," Mirren told Playbill in 2015. "I think that's absolutely appropriate.

"The royal family—and the queen, in particular—have always very liberal because we come from a country that has free speech. There have been films mocking them and suggesting they were Nazis and abusing them in all kinds of different ways, and, through it all, they have never said a word. They just let that happen. They don't defend themselves. They don't say anything. In a sense, it's not their role to critique that particular world. Likewise, it applies to a film that I know was appreciated by the people around the queen—but the queen herself would never say anything."

In The Queen, Prime Mister Tony Blair (played by Michael Sheen) calls the queen at Balmoral and asks her if she doesn't think that an immediate return to London would be in the people's best interest.

"I doubt there is anyone who knows the British people more than I do, Mr. Blair, nor who has greater faith in their wisdom and judgement," Mirren's queen replies. "And it is my belief that they will any moment reject this. this 'mood,' which is being stirred up by the press, in favor of a period of restrained grief, and sober, private mourning. That's the way we do things in this country, quietly, with dignity. That's what the rest of the world has always admired us for."

Count just how wrong the queen was on that occasion as another way in which Diana forever changed what it meant to be a royal.


Watch the video: UK - Prime Minister Tony Blair Reaction To The Death Of Princess Diana, Italy - Paparazzo Massimo Se