Royal tears in rain for Diana 20 years on
Tributes to mark 20th anniversary of death
PRINCES William and Harry paid tribute to Princess Diana on the 20th anniversary of her death saying “we wish she was still here”.
The two royals visited a memorial garden in Kensington Palace last night.
In scenes reminiscent of 20 years ago, the brothers stopped at a sea of flowers laid by wellwishers at the palace gates.
Prince Harry said we “all lost somebody” on August 31, 1997, when the People’s Princess was killed in a tunnel in Paris.
The brothers were joined on the hour-long tour by William’s wife Kate and head gardener Sean Harkin as they took in the memorial space of white foliage and flowers planted in Diana’s honour.
William and Harry stopped to look at the tributes left by fans.
Sheltering from the heavy rain under an umbrella, William knelt down to look at some of the bouquets then later pointed out a picture to his brother that appeared to make him laugh.
Harry came over to have a look at the picture which had left his older brother in stitches and William said:
“Look at my shades”. The prince glanced at the photograph of Wills and his mother both wearing sunglasses as they sat in the crowds at an unknown event.
The brothers have talked candidly about the loss of their mother in a number of documentaries and interviews this year, and about the scenes they experienced when they came to see the tributes left at Kensington Palace a few days after her death.
William reminisced about that moment and took a second to point out to Harry how far back the flowers had stretched from the gate.
Pointing out where the sea of 1997 tributes had stretched to, he said: “Last time, it was all the way down.”
Noting a large display of photographs, he added: “They’ve put a banner up.”
Sisters Gracie, aged eight, and Maisy Oxby, 10, from Basildon in Essex handed over a bouquet of red blooms to Harry to place at the entrance.
Maisy said: “He took the flowers and asked us who we were and said ‘whereabouts would you like them to go’? I said in the middle under the HRH on a poster.”
Her sister added: “A lady gave us the flowers and she said can you give it to one of the princes.”
The royals yesterday also met representatives from the charities supported by Diana including Great Ormond Street Hospital, the National Aids Trust, The Leprosy Mission, Royal Marsden Hospital and Centrepoint.
Speaking to the charity bosses, Prince Harry said: “I can imagine for a lot of you it was like ‘right here we go, now we’ve got her, we’ve got the thirst, we’ve got the attention, now let’s do something’ then suddenly she’s snapped away – if I can put it (this way), all of us lost somebody.” Diana’s former police protection officer Ken Wharfe said the lads were a living tribute to their mum.
The ex Met Police officer, who also visited the shrine yesterday, said they had helped revitalise the monarchy, just as their mum had wanted to do.
He said the pair have carried on Diana’s favourite charity work and were continually changing the face of the British monarchy, with things like their recent talks on mental health and their own issues dealing with Di’s death during a paparazzi chase with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed.
Ken guarded Diana for five years until 1993 and claimed at the time of Diana’s death the monarchy was “jealous” of her global popularity.
He said: “The problem with Diana in this family is they could not deal with her popularity, they couldn’t cope with it – basically they were jealous.”
He added of Wills and Harry: “They are literally cardboard cut-outs of their mother’s work, and 20 years on we are now speaking about their mother more than ever before.”
The memorial White Garden, a temporary feature created in the palace’s historic sunken garden, surrounds a reflective pool with ornamental grasses weaving through cosmos daisies.
®Ê SOMBRE: William and Harry look at some of the flowers at the palace gates and, right, with Kate
®Ê GRIEVING: The young princes at the spot after the Paris crash