Death of Princess Diana of Wales (Lady Di), divorced from Prince Charles, shocks Britain like never before. The tragedy left Princes William and Harry, 15 and 13, respectively, without a mother, and surprised Queen Elizabeth II, who didn’t know how to react. During the week between the accident and his funeral, the country plunged into unprecedented popular pain that shook a monarchy described as insensitive.
August 31: Speeding accident
Diana Spencer and boyfriend, millionaire Egyptian businessman Dodi Al Fayed, He was a hero of press persecution during his summer vacation in the MediterraneanWhen rumors were surfacing that they were getting married.
The couple arrived in Paris on August 30 and had dinner that night at the Ritz Hotel owned by Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al Fayed. They carefully tried to get out in a Mercedes through the back door of the hotel just after midnight.
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Paparazzi chased on motorcycles, The car carrying Diana and Dodi collides at high speed with a pillar in a tunnel near the Seoul BridgeOn the north bank of the Seine River, opposite the Eiffel Tower.
Al Fayed and his driver, Henri Paul, who had high blood alcohol levels, are killed immediately. His bodyguard is seriously injured. one channel documentary Search which premiered this week, shows that Paul was not actually a professional driver, but was the head of safety at the Ritz.,
Rescuers managed to retrieve Princess Diana alive but in critical condition from the deformed bodywork of the Mercedes.
The police had arrested seven photographers that night. Who followed Diana’s car on the streets of Paris but photos of the accident were presented to newspapers for thousands of dollars.
Lady Diana was taken to Pittie-Salpetriere Hospital, where, after two hours of surgery, she died at 4 a.m. from a serious chest injury.
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Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip, Prince Charles and sons William and Harry were at Balmoral Castle, the monarch’s holiday home in Scotland.
The royal family was officially notified but there was a reaction a few hours later. Radio, television and newspapers were banned in Balmorley.,
Diana’s name was dropped from Sunday’s mass prayer that the royal family attended at dawn so as not to further affect Princes William and Harry.
Britain woke up from shock
The United Kingdom woke up in a state of shock on Sunday, 1 September and Thousands of Londoners lay flowers in front of Buckingham Palace and Kensington PalaceDiana’s official residence.
Labor Prime Minister Tony Blair paid public tribute to the deceased, which he described “Princess of the People”,
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while the palace officials He held in-depth discussions with the government on how to deal with the death of the Princess of Waleswho had not been an official member of the monarchy since their divorce.
Against the initial wishes of Queen Elizabeth II and royal advisors, Prince Charles insisted on using royal aircraft to collect the body of his ex-wife in Paris.
Press was the first accused, In the afternoon, Diana’s brother, Earl Charles Spencer, told his home in South Africa that the newspapers had blood on their hands.
The British cried, the royal family was silent
Panicked, British newspapers tried to cover up the damage in the following days, showing adoration for Diana and turning their attention to the monarchy. “She was born a woman. She became our princess. She died a saint.”title daily Mirror,
On 2 September, popular excitement grew and crowds began filling London’s main streets leaving flowers and signing mourning books set up in the royal palaces, by then the only official sign of mourning in the royal family.
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Conflict escalated between Tony Blair’s government and the palace over the organization of the funeral. The royal household was demanding a private funeral because Diana no longer had the title royal highness And there was no right to an official funeral.
On 3 September, all British newspapers carried on their front pages a worthy tribute to the “Queen of Hearts” and reflected public anger at the silence of the royal family, who remained isolated in a Scottish palace.
On 4 September, the front pages of newspapers showed public anger that the British flag was not flown at Buckingham Palace at half-staff and The editorial called on Queen Elizabeth II to return to London to resolve these issues.,
Newspaper Sun Asked on its cover: “Where’s our queen? Where’s our flag?”, According to the newspaper, the flag’s absence was a “brutal insult to Diana’s memory”.
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Under pressure from the government, the royal house explained that the palace flag is only used when the Queen is at Buckingham Palace, flying the monarch’s personal flag, which is never flown at half-staff.
news paper Guardian published a survey in which A quarter of Britons called for the abolition of the monarchy“If they (the royal family) do not heed her injury, they will bury not only Diana, but her future as well on Saturday,” the newspaper warned.
Queen’s voice saved the monarchy
In the end, the royal family left Scotland and returned to London on 5 September., Upon arrival at Buckingham Palace, Elizabeth II and Prince Philip were warmly applauded, visiting the flowers placed in the street and interacting with the mourners, helping to quell the popular mood.
On the same day, Queen Elizabeth delivered an unprecedented televised message in which she paid tribute to her former daughter-in-law. He described the princess as “an extraordinary human being”, he added, “I admired and respected his energy, encouragement and above all, his devotion to his children”,
“This week at Balmoral, we are all trying to help William and Harry recover from the devastating loss they and the rest of us have suffered,” the Queen said. “For my part, I think there are lessons to be learned from his life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to his death.”
He concluded, “May those who died rest in peace and may each of us thank the Lord who made many people happy.”
On 6 September, nearly a million people gathered in London to watch the funeral procession in deep silence, broken only by tears and the ringing of church bells.
The funeral procession leaves Kensington Palace and passes Buckingham, Isabel II bowed down to the sidewalk, a gesture that restored public confidence.
Prince William and Prince Harry walk behind their mother’s coffin from St James’s Palace to Westminster Abbey, in front of more than 2.5 billion spectators worldwide. A bouquet of flowers on the coffin had a card that read “Mami”.
The funeral was attended by 2,000 guests, including Tony Blair, US First Lady Hillary Clinton, tenor Luciano Pavarotti, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and actor Tom Cruise. Elton John adapted his song “candle in the Wind“With a letter that pays tribute to Diana.
“Diana was the essence of compassion, duty, style and beauty”Diana’s brother said in a speech to the royal family. He defined the princess as “an unclassified natural nobility who proved last year that she didn’t need a royal title to create her own special magic.”
for his funeral, Diana’s coffin moved to Althorp House, owned by the Spencer family, Along the way, thousands of people gathered in the streets and threw flowers at the chariot, something really unusual in Britain.
Months later, Elizabeth II dedicated her Christmas message to the British to talk about Diana again: “Joy and sorrow are part of all our lives. This brought me and my family the joy and sorrow of the past months.” The interaction has been very clear. We all feel the shock and pain of Diana’s death.”
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