Princess Diana aura still cap­ti­vates, 20 years on

The Korea Times - - PEOPLE -

LON­DON (AFP) — Can­dles and flow­ers are al­ready build­ing up at the gates of Princess Diana’s for­mer Lon­don res­i­dence to mark 20 years since her death, which un­leashed an un­prece­dented out­pour­ing of grief in Bri­tain.

“She was this ray of light in a fairly grey world,” Prince William said of his mother Diana, princess of Wales, whose death two decades ago on Thurs­day shocked the world.

“I still feel that love, I still feel that warmth 20 years on,” her el­dest son said in a new doc­u­men­tary mark­ing the an­niver­sary.

“If I can be even a frac­tion of what she was, I’ll be proud.”

The life of Diana — a shy, teenage aris­to­crat who sud­denly be­came the world’s most fa­mous wo­man — and her tragic death at 36 still cap­ti­vates mil­lions across the globe.

Two decades on, her sons William and Prince Harry only now feel able to talk pub­licly about her death, a seis­mic event which con­tin­ues to res­onate in the monar­chy and Bri­tish so­ci­ety.

Diana died in a car crash in Paris in the early hours of Aug. 31, 1997, along with Dodi Fayed, her wealthy Egyp­tian film pro­ducer boyfriend of two months, and a drink-im­paired, speed­ing driver Henri Paul, who was try­ing to evade pa­parazzi.

The 10th an­niver­sary of her death was marked with a me­mo­rial ser­vice and a char­ity con­cert at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium in Lon­don.

The pass­ing of an­other decade has al­lowed for greater per­spec­tive, and this an­niver­sary has been more re­flec­tive, marked by William, 35, and Harry, 32, open­ing up about their mother’s life, and death.

No pub­lic events are planned for Thurs­day, but on Wed­nes­day, the brothers will walk around the gar­den which has been es­pe­cially cre­ated in her mem­ory at Kens­ing­ton Palace, her Lon­don home.

They will meet with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from char­i­ties she sup­ported.

Flow­ers at the gates

Can­dles, bou­quets of flow­ers and pic­tures from well-wish­ers are al­ready build­ing up at the palace gates, while hard­core Diana fans have turned up with a cake bear­ing her pic­ture.

But the scene is noth­ing like the sea of flow­ers laid in the week be­tween her death and her fu­neral: an out­pour­ing of na­tional grief that com­men­ta­tors are still grap­pling with.

William and Harry have spo­ken of strug­gling to com­pre­hend the “alien” tide of pub­lic mourn­ing from peo­ple who did not know their mother, at a time when they, aged 15 and 12, could not process their loss.

Bri­tain, the na­tion of the stiff up­per lip, was now wail­ing and hurl­ing flow­ers at a hearse.

A pub­lic that had lapped up ev­ery twist and turn in the life of their fairy­tale princess was cry­ing for their lost icon, killed in the chase for the next day’s pic­tures.

Diana mar­ried Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, in 1981, but their mar­riage col­lapsed un­der the strains of pub­lic duty and their in­com­pat­i­bil­ity.

Reuters-Yon­hap

A pic­ture of late Princess Diana is dis­played at the bottom of the Lib­erty Flame mon­u­ment at the Place de l’Alma, above the un­der­pass where the Princess of Wales, was killed in a car ac­ci­dent on Aug. 31, 1997, in Paris, France, Tues­day.

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