Remembering Princess Diana, twenty years after her passing

Princess Diana on Holiday - Iconic File Photos!

Princess Diana died twenty years ago today. She died early on August 31, 1997 at a hospital in Paris. She was still alive when she was pulled out of the backseat of the car driven by Henri Paul, who was most likely loaded when he crashed in the tunnel. Personally, I never understood why William and Harry never made an anti-drunk driving campaign part of their charitable portfolio. The argument, I suppose, is that William and Harry still play “the paparazzi/media are to blame for their mother’s death” card. But one of the biggest what-ifs of that night (for me) was always: if Henri Paul had been 100% sober, would that night have turned out differently?

This has been the Summer of Diana, a reflection on not just Diana’s life but how much her life and her death changed the British monarchy. It’s been a summer of Prince William and Harry “reclaiming” their mother’s memory, perhaps even reclaiming the narrative around Diana. They want her to be remembered as a mother, as a cautionary tale, as a humanitarian. People who knew her best remember a more complicated, enigmatic figure, and the people who watched her from a distance for years remember her altogether differently too. I said in earlier coverage of the Summer of Diana – for better or for worse, in life and in death, Diana still remains the star the British royal family. She eclipses everyone, from her ex-husband to her children. The woman who would have been Diana’s daughter-in-law tries and fails to imitate Diana, but it never works (and it comes across as creepy Diana cosplay).

Anyway, I don’t really have a story here. I just wanted to give everyone a moment to pause and reflect on this day. Plus, I do love looking at old photos of Diana. She really did sparkle. She really understood the power of imagery in the modern age.

Princess Diana Birthday at 56

Princess Diana on Holiday - Iconic File Photos!


Photos courtesy of Backgrid and WENN.

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108 Responses to “Remembering Princess Diana, twenty years after her passing”

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  1. Esmom says:

    I was never really a royal watcher but of course I followed her peripherally like most people. I remember walking into a bookstore and seeing the Vanity Fair from late in her life and gasping at how amazingly beautiful and luminous she looked on the cover and in all the photos. It was like she’d really come into her own, tragically, just before she was gone.

    I also remember that I was out running with my Walkman on when news of her death broke on a station that played only music, it was that big. It’s still shocking to think about. RIP, Diana.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      She looked 15 years younger in those Testino shots. The styling was on point.

      • Esmom says:

        It really was. And I remember thinking, why didn’t she/anyone style her this way sooner?

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        I think she wore a kind of royal uniform and only shed it after she divorced Charles. Her look became SO much more modern then. I sometimes look at photos from the time she was my age (I’ve done it a lot over the years from 25 to 33) and man, her look was so dowdy sometimes, it aged her. I know she was a fashion icon but still.

      • perplexed says:

        Her hair improved after she divorced Charles. She suddenly realized she could get a bob. That it took her that long baffled me a little bit, because the bob is the go-to haircut for shorter hair. That feathery haircut in the mid-80s was weird to me, although at least it was longer. And then the haircut she got when she was 30 or 31 was …I don’t know why her hairdresser is praised for that cut. It looked like a helmet. That’s why I consider her quite beautiful — she was able to wear those haircuts and still her face looked great. On anybody else, not at all.

        I don’t really blame her for the clothes though. She was famous during the 80s. Everything was kind of…big. And people in general seemed more modestly dressed back then when I look at old photos. Even actresses, except for maybe Cher, seemed more covered up. Heck, even Madonna seemed covered up by today’s standards.

    • Megan says:

      We were at a friend’s house and the radio was on. They broke in to say she had beeen in an accident. When we got home, we turned on the TV and their was a special news bulletin about her death.

      We went to the British embassy in DC to sign the condolence book and the wait was somewhere around three hours.

      • Sixer says:

        I was in hospital with a chest drain in for a pleural effusion, just before being diagnosed with lymphoma. It was in the days before personalised screens and TV in hospitals and my mum had brought me in a small portable (black and white!) TV. The nurses all piled in to my room in the middle of the night to get updates.

        I was discharged to wait for chemo etc a day or so later. So it was a very weird week – not being at work and having nothing to do but ponder the twin events of my diagnosis and Diana’s untimely death.

      • vava says:

        Wow, Sixer…… that is quite something!! Glad you made a recovery, I always enjoy reading your posts here at Celebitchy. Hope all is going well for you now.

      • Esmom says:

        Chiming in with vava to say wow and cheers, Sixer. I’m glad you’re here, too.

      • Imqrious2 says:

        So happy for your recovery, Sixer! I always look forward to your posts 😊 Hugs!

      • Sixer says:

        Oops! Wasn’t meant as a poor me post. But thank you guys! Long in the past now.

        Mad thing though, right? I remember being half annoyed with the nurses for having the cheek to wake me up given the state I was in and half as keen as them to obsess over the horrifying news.

      • Sixer says:

        I’m sorry to hear that, flybaby. And yes, I know exactly what you mean.

    • Christin says:

      I thought she looked her best at the very end of her brief life. Even in pap photos that last year, she seemed to be glowing. And I don’t buy into that last summer vacation fling necessarily being the reason.

      • L84Tea says:

        She was tan, her hair was blonder, and she was starting to dress so incredibly chic in her final days. She looked so fabulous.

    • Lisa says:

      I was 8 months pregnant at the time, and having an exceptionally difficult night sleeping. I had spent the night on the couch watching TV when the news broke here in the US overnight, and stayed up all night watching the coverage.

      Still makes me incredibly sad after all these years.

      • BBB1975 says:

        I was pregnant too. The news of the accident was announced, but I couldn’t stay awake long enough to follow the story. I remember asking my husband in the morning if there had been an update on Princess Diana. He said yeah, she passed. I did NOT believe him.

    • ElleC says:

      I was jumping on a trampoline in my friend’s backyard when a shriek came from her house. We ran inside to find her mum sitting on the floor in front of the TV, sobbing.

      Later, my family made the mistake of celebrating my mum’s 40th birthday on the day of Diana’s funeral. We were holidaying in a small town and the streets were deserted. When we finally found a restaurant that was open, the cooks and servers stood huddled around a TV the whole time, and our food came out burned and cold. I remember how it felt like we were committing sacrilege!

    • Sarah says:

      I remember those pics too. I’m a few months younger than Diana. She was just coming into her own, physically for sure, and maybe, finally, living her own life for the first time in her adult life. It was sad, when she died, but both back then and now, I think it is creepy how people wail over strangers.

      What amazes me is how close Kate is to Diana’s age when she died and William, too, and how remarkably unaccomplished they both are, especially when compared to Diana. She really was luminous and did many good deeds in her short life.

  2. sereneeirene says:

    She’s still in our hearts. Never left.

  3. WendyNerd says:

    Diana will still be relevant even if the Monarchy itself crashes and burns. Not because she was a saint, or perfect, because no, she wasn’t. She did some pretty awful things sometimes. But because of what she projected and what she could, in fact, actually do, and did. And boy, she did a LOT in her short life. She had the ability to amplify her effect like no other, whatever her motivations or difficult personal complications. And yes, overall, her effect was positive to the world at large, outside the royal sphere. I actually do think that, whatever her flaws, she did in certain ways leave the world a better place (if only temporarily) than when she entered it. And that’s all anyone can ask of a person. She was Elvis. She was Marilyn Monroe. And she walked through a mine field.

    • LAK says:

      Agreed 100%.

    • bluhare says:

      You are a poet at heart, WendyNerd. Love your comment.

    • wolfpup says:

      It’s 8 am here in Utah. A documentary by Public Broadcasting (PBS) is playing. Charles will never escape this documentary told by her sons and in Diana’s own words, played over and over this week on PBS. This is America’s most trusted news site. Nope – Charles will never escape Diana’s view of the breakdown of their marriage.

      Aside, from the bitterness, I loved her. I wish more flowers were outside Kensington for the boys, just now. It matters – Diana to them! Go Brit’s!

      • wolfpup, I respectfully disagree with you, and I think Diana’s legend is going the way of JFK’s. I followed Diana avidly, as most girls my age, and sighed over her wedding – she sparkled within and without. I remember when on tv I heard the House of Parliament collectively gasp when it was announced that she and Charles were separating – or divorcing. I cried when she died, but the reaction of the British public, with the moaning and groaning later on, made me, and everybody I know, go into shock and then giggles. I have a gimpty eye on her whole make-believe persona. I looked at her wedding procession when she said she saw Camilla – Diana did not see her, she was looking elsewhere.

        I vaguely remember when JFK was assasinated, and telling my mother. My words years later, when my mom repeated over and over what a toddler said, described JFK precisely, since little pitchers have big ears. You can see a little blonde haired girl in a pink wool jacket and matching pants too, in the front row of mourners, pointing at the black horse with no rider and spurs turned around, at his funeral – me. I think Diana will be forgotten, as she was important to people at least forty years of age today and older. She was the beginning of mega celebrity, and is not seen as a part of important history. Just like the Gabor sisters – who?

      • Escaped Convent says:

        Golden Ashley,

        No. Diana is not the Gabor sisters. You had to dig deep into the irrelevant closet to find that.

    • Sixer says:

      I concur.

    • Mermaid says:

      Beautifully said. I still can’t believe she’s gone. She was an inspirational person. I’m not over her death or JFK Jr and Carolyn Bessette’s. It seems like it’s all been downhill from there. We had the Obamas but look what’s currently going on.

      • WendyNerd says:

        *Sigh* Yeah, that can be the downfall of people like Diana… others get complacent, expecting another Diana or Obama or whomever to do the do and we let things slide.

        TBH, I was around six when all these deaths happened. I remember JFK JR and his wife, but for me, Diana was the big blow. Part of that, of course, was perhaps the Disney-fairytale aspect of a REAL PRINCESS (IDGAF that she and the prince weren’t married anymore. If there’s one thing Disney taught me is that aside from the odd Aladdin out, the prince is inconsequential. And if he IS an Aladdin… He’s a liar). Her life seemed very virtuous, adventurous, and glamorous to a child. She did cool things and sparkled both metaphorically and literally so that was what mattered. All I know of JFK JR was that his father was president and that his plane crashed. With the Kennedy’s it was sad, mostly for the family. With Diana, it was like a literal piece of the world was missing.

    • Escondista says:

      I was just thinking about this when I looked at Melania (during the hurricane) or Kate. They seem to use charity events as an opportunity for photos and fashion shows and not an opportunity to connect with those at their most vulnerable. Diana seemed to generally love people and when she participated in charity, it seemed less out of duty or self-interest and more out of genuine care for people in need around the world.
      We need to see that again in our politicians and wealthiest people.

      • WendyNerd says:

        I definitely think that Diana’s charity held true humanity in it, even if it was complicated. There’s the interview where she’s asked why she kept doing the charity work and she went “What else would I do?”

        I really, honestly, truly think that was it with her. It was what she did. It was all she felt she could do, was genuinely good at (accurate. OH SO accurate) and while I definitely think there could be selfish motivations here and there, when it came down to it, that sort of thing was simply WHO SHE WAS and all she completely trusted herself to do perfectly, aside maybe being a mother (except for the part where I’m fairly certain [not speaking from personal experience, but from observation] that even parents not going through a public circus of a divorce or depression issues seem to spend every other second wondering “Okay, how am I screwing up THIS TIME?!”). But yeah, for all of Diana’s faults, she had a lazer-directed understanding of what she could do, and her life and identity seemed to be based on her activism.

        I agree that even with all the people who seem unbelievably privileged these days, there are few left who seem truly good at it. And by that, I mean truly GOOD, as in, doing/being good with their privilege. The Obamas worked their asses off to ascend to great heights, to reach privileged positions despite their decidedly non-privileged origins (and no, I am not, and would never say they’d reached the height of privilege, especially in Michelle’s case, thanks to the racist/sexist garbage fire that is our society), and they directed that to true public service that stands in line with their ideals. So they are good at being privileged. Diana was a master of it (even though, given the fact that her blood and upbringing, per one of Charles’s old quips, was “bluer than his”, you’d think she’d have far greater blinders on). I think Harry could have been good at it (given how, despite everything, his own projects like Invictus are nowhere near being the wet fart Heads Together is) but he has gotten swept up in Whineclone William, unfortunately.

        Oddly enough, VERY oddly enough, it was George Michael, who, yes, had terrible demons, but also supported tons of charities both publicly to bring exposure, and also was funneling millions super, super secretly to good causes to the point where it only came out following his death just how much he gave and how many lives he LITERALLY saved through DL volunteer work and covert donations. He was great at using his privilege. And he’s gone, too.

        Meanwhile, how many of our elected officials practically cream themselves praising Atlas Shrugged? And the Heather Heyers of the world literally get crushed under wheels.

      • Sarah says:

        Yes, Wendy, Diana never looked unsure of herself when doing charity work. She always seemed confident and completely comfortable in her work. I think that kind of work was her “soul’s purpose,” and if she had lived, would have done even more remarkable things than she did in her short life.

    • magnoliarose says:

      I agree so much Wendy. We look for perfect heroes, and they don’t exist. Sometimes people are offended when we discuss her flaws but I think it is much more honest. We shouldn’t deify a person but see them as real and imperfect. Despite their imperfections, they were able to light up the world and change people’s lives.

    • Carisel says:

      Diana, to me, was another JFK as her death was also premature and makes you wonder just what might have been. What more could they have accomplished? Those are the questions that I think about the most.
      IMO, Diana would’ve continued her humanitarian work and used her fame to shed light on issues that needed addressing.
      That last year was her best. She was shining, she threw herself into the issues she cared about, and I will NEVER forget the walk through that minefield.
      It saddens me to think about how much we most likely lost.

    • Perfect description. As you said, she was not a saint, and she had her own demons to deal with, but the world was made better, because she was in it.

  4. Maria says:

    She really did sparkle. Still miss her.

    • Snazzy says:

      Me too. I’m getting teary eyed reading all the comments

    • Alix says:

      Charisma like hers is inborn — you either have it or you don’t. And boy, did she have it.

      I got up at dawn to watch both her wedding and her funeral. The one famous person I can ever, ever believe is really gone. She was by several orders of magnitude a bigger celebrity than anyone on the scene now — a phenomenon, really. RIP.

  5. minx says:

    After news of the accident spread I was watching news after midnight on MSNBC. I can still remember Brian Williams being handed the bulletin from Sky News and saying “Princess Diana has died” and I gasped.

    • Nic919 says:

      It was covered on the main NBC network too because I didn’t have cable at the time but remember that moment when Brian Williams announced it as well.

      Another thing rarely mentioned is that a seatbelt could have prevented this as well. People don’t realize that even low speed impacts can cause serious injury if you aren’t wearing a seatbelt.

      • Molly says:

        I’m a Will and Harry stan, but the seatbelt and drunk driver were nothing compared to the blame I place with the paparazzi. They were relentless and growing her entire royal life. A crash like that was the inevitable conclusion. Maybe not death, but it was WHEN, not IF, something like that was going to happen.

      • Lindsey says:

        Molly – All the more reason to wear a seatbelt. Not that it absolves the paparazzi for their role.

        Although playing Devil’s Advocate I never understood why they felt the need to be so aggressive in fighting off/protecting her from having her from having her photo taken. She is riding in a car. Big deal. If they were trying to lose them why do it in a tunnel? On the other hand why were the paparazzi desperate for poor quality photos of a woman riding in a car? If they were trying to tail them why be so obvious?

      • Jaded says:

        Apparently it was Dodi who was pushing Henri Paul to drive WAYYYY over the speed limit to try and outrun the paps. Maybe he could have outrun them sober but he’d had a good few drinks and lost control of the car. At those speeds I cannot fathom why they didn’t have seatbelts on. I’ve been to the tunnel and it has a precipitous turn at the bottom and a huge support column that he clipped. Still so sad….

    • bluhare says:

      I heard it on CNN and my husband asked if I was OK. It was announced on August 30 here.

      • Imqrious2 says:

        I remember watching it all on CNN, too. I couldn’t turn the set off the whole time. I remember crying, and thinking, I must be a lunatic crying like this, for a woman I never met/knew. During the funeral procession, just seeing the boys, so young, walking behind the coffin, just broke my heart (I lost my mom young, too). But when the camera panned to the flowers on top, with the envelope saying “Mummy”….omg full out “ugly crying”.

        But that was her magic, you felt you *did* know her. She did so much good, and yes, she did leave the world better.

      • bluhare says:

        Oh my god, “mummy” got to me as well.

    • Lorelai says:

      Minx: Me too — and I was so annoyed when it was revealed during Brian Willams’ “lying scandal” a couple of years ago that he lied about that night too. I don’t remember the exact details, but apparently he claimed he’d been at the hospital visiting a dear friend on his death bed, but had to leave because he got called in to report on Diana’s accident.

      I guess he thought that somehow that made it “more dramatic” — as if this was a story that wasn’t horrific enough. Or more likely, I guess, he felt compelled to somehow insert how own personal life into the tragedy. So insane and beyond unprofessional.

      Plus, I was in college then and he was sort of my introduction to actually paying attention to the news on a daily basis, and I always liked and respected him a lot. So it was very disappointing when all of his lies came out.

      Anyway, this is a bit off topic but it still bothers me every time I’m reminded of it. Two young children suddenly lost their mother and he wants us to think he’s noble for coming to the studio to cover what was arguably the story of the decade? The one that put his name on the radar of many Americans? Jesus.

  6. littlemissnaughty says:

    I can’t believe it’s been 20 years, where the hell have those decades gone? Anyway. It’s really incredible how much of an impact she had on not only the BRF but also the modern age of media and so many causes she supported. If there is one thing that makes me feel for the Queen a tiny bit, it’s that nobody could’ve ever seen her coming. Not this, not her charisma, not her issues, not her ability to use the media like the BRF couldn’t dream of.

    I find little tidbits coming from people who knew her for years so interesting. Mary Greenwell did a “Diana” tutorial on Lisa Eldridge’s youtube channel a while back and talked a little bit about her. She said that it was crazy how men fell over themselves in her presence because she was so sexy. …. That’s not a word you hear all that often to describe her.

    • Sushi says:

      I was in a department store (David Jones Melbourne) with my son and saw everyone crowded around television sets. Then saw the announcers wearing black and oH! my god, Diana was dead.
      She really is a star in a real sense.

  7. Aerohead21 says:

    Royal families were either in history books or fairy tales when she died. It was so shocking to me that it literally changed my orbit and I realized royalty still existed. I was only 17 I think and totally was self-absorbed. I look back now and wonder what game the royal family was trying to play by forcing that relationship. Not that Camilla and an affair was the right one at the time, but damn…poor Charles and Diana. All of that could have been avoided if they would have just given Charles more time. He’s a man for God’s sake. He could have had babies another 10 years later.

    • LV487 says:

      Then he should have acted like one. If Charles wasn’t ready to marry, don’t, no one held a gun to his head. Blaming his father made him look like a wimp…more so than usual. I hope August has been a very long month for Charles, but then, I’m just petty that way.

  8. booRadley says:

    I remember everything. I was too young when she became Princess Di, but my mom loved her, everything about her, so I grew up with her, my mom who is not into gossip rags, used to follow everything Princess Di did, she was the living embodiment of #lifegoals #howtobeagoodpersongoals. I grew up knowing in my heart of heart that I would marry Prince William one day, and Di would love me.
    The day she died was my 14th birthday party, we were all hanging out, after dinner and cake, and my aunt burst in through the door around 7, late as always, ranting and raving for us to turn on the news.
    and that was it, we all fell silent and watched any news channel we could well into the wee hours of the morning. IT WAS SURREAL!!! and my first experience with the newly emerging 24hrs news cycle. I’ll never forget it. I can honestly say that following Di’s death and watching the Princes mourn is what started my obsession with celebrities, and following sites like this.

  9. Apple says:

    Diana will be remember 100 yrs from now she made mistakes and no she wasn’t perfect nobody is that’s why god die for all our sins. i live in America their nobody in currently royal family that’s get much attention as her except of her descendent, i don’t know why people dislike Kate,William so much monarchy aren’t like they used to be they have no power and technically nobody’s needs one in this day and age. yes their history, but sad too say some people don’t care about history anymore. Royalty too me represents god like, will i thought Now i see them as dress up.

    • SoulSPA says:

      Members of royal families do not have political power but they are still part of history in making or history books. Before the existence of constitutional monarchies, major royal figures ruled countries, empires, were responsible literally for the lives of many, many people. In their own countries and elsewhere.
      Nowadays when monarchies are mostly symbolic figures with no real/perceived political powers, they do still care roles with symbolic, cultural and nation unifying factors. What they can do is to raise awareness about societal issues affecting vulnerable people, cultural, environmental issues and participate in charity and support their people through joy and tragedy. They have major platforms to carry these roles, and the comfort of knowing that they will never ever have to care for their own welfare, health care, food and other bills and the like, and never have to care for holding jobs in competitive markets.
      So in reference to the comment as why people dislike Kate and William: they do the 1% or less to keep up with the appearances. They do more than 100% to live the highest possible standards of living with the highest protection possible. As William is the second in line, there is a lot of attention on him and his wife. This is how it is. And notwithstanding their prominent positions in the BRF, one by birth and his spouse by extension, they do nearly nothing worthy of their status. That’s why one I for one, and others too, do not like them. They do not deserve to be liked or respected. History will tell how they will be remembered.

      • Apple says:

        I understand everything you said but today’s generations instagram,Facebook,Twitter, don’t care and they probably know that. The world has change so much frow what it used to be so have the royals, with all their baggage from charles and diana fake fairytale too ann messy scandal and rude attitude too andrew child molestation “et cetera. I am saying the older royals have a past too that history shouldn’t forget about. will and kate like the perks who wouldn’t, if diana and charles was happily married i am certainly sure they would’ve done the exact same things as will and kate and enjoying all the perks.

  10. Stephanie says:

    Ugh I really do miss her.

  11. Christin says:

    I guess you had to be there to fully understand the sparkle effect. Looking at photos takes me back to that time, yet I understand if younger ones just see a smiling woman with dated fashions and hairstyles.

    In 20 more years, fewer will remember, as always happens. She’ll be George’s grandmother who died in a car crash.

  12. Tan says:

    William’s face, specially lips and lower parts are so much like Diana. If he had some hair, he would look a ditto copy of her.

    • Imqrious2 says:

      When he was younger, with hair, he did! Google young/teen-aged William.

      • GiBee says:

        Yup, recently saw a picture of him from 1997/8 where he had his chin tucked down and was looking straight ahead and my God, it was exactly like photos of her (with her faux-deer-in-the-headlights thing).

        I don’t believe in bashing a bloke for balding, hardly his fault, BUT I did see a recent photo of him where he was the spitting image of … Prince Philip. Not Charles. Philip. Poor guy.

      • Kate says:

        Philip was very attractive in his youth. Far more so than William or Harry at their peaks.

        Those Windsor genes are strong.

    • Olive says:

      His eyes too, and some mannerisms – seen several photos of him doing the chin-down, looking-up thing she always did.

      I don’t see much of her in Harry’s looks, he’s got Charles’ eyes and a lot of similarities with Philip. Except of course he’s got her magnetic charisma. Too bad the heir didn’t get that!

  13. Aang says:

    I spent that summer in Europe and when my mom picked me up from the airport, where I had just landed on a flight from Paris, she said “Princess Diana was in a car crash.” It must have happened while I was on the plane. I was too young to really follow her but I remember saying, “I’m sure it’s no big deal, people that famous don’t just die in car crashes.” I can’t believe it’s been 20 years.

    • greenmonster says:

      I was 18 back then but I had the same reaction as you. It was sunday morning and my stepfather told me that Princess Diana had died in a car crash. I just said “Nah, that’s not true.” Because I couldn’t believe for a few moments, that someone so famous could die in a car crash.
      We went on a 5-day trip with my class the next day and Diana was a huge topic. On our way back home we heard that Mother Teresa had passed away as well.

  14. Tinkerbell says:

    I was working at a news station the night she died. I will never forget it because as the news feeds were coming down it didn’t sound that serious. Suddenly she was dead, and our whole newscast had to change in 1 hour. I was in such a panic. I should have been more prepared, but I couldn’t conceptualize her dying.

  15. Merritt says:

    I woke up to the news that she had died. I remember feeling sorry for William and Harry since William is only a few months older than me.

    • Lady D says:

      My son was 9 at the time. It was far too easy to imagine the grief those boys were in. Personally, I was glad the Queen kept them out of sight.

  16. Layla Beans says:

    I’d just walked in from my summer job, heading back to university the next week. My mom was sitting on the couch looking stunned. I said “what’s going on?” and she said “Diana and Dodi have been in a car accident and Dodi is dead.” We stayed glued to the TV and in Canada, the CBC flipped straight over to the BBC and we watched the BBC make the official announcement live. I will never forget it. She was one of a kind, as was the outpouring of grief over the days after her passing.

    • Citresse says:

      Yes, I remember well the TV coverage. The best I think was BBC and then CNN. CNN had excellent commentary from the foreign correspondents. I got shivers up my spine when the announcement of her death arrived though when you review the coverage on YouTube, it really was suspected by certain correspondents, she would die.

  17. grabbyhands says:

    I’m not a royals watcher now and I wasn’t then either, but her death broke my heart,

    And I think it is because despite the royals thing, the wealth, the glamour, she DID seem to just be trying to live a life most of us take for granted. Trying to bounce back after a painful (to say the least) divorce, wanting to find someone who made you happy and who returned your feelings, wanting to be a parent raising happy, normal kids. To have all that snatched away just as it seemed to be coming together was cruel.

    I remember staying up to watch her funeral and being blown away by it all. That hearse going through the throngs of people and all you heard was weeping. And the boys-god, that gutted me. I lost my mother when I was in my early twenties. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for them to deal with that so publicly, and when they were so young.

  18. Cerys says:

    I think everyone will remember where they were when they heard the news about Diana. It’s hard to find the right words to describe the huge emotional reaction people had at the time.
    She was a troubled individual in her private life and she was allegedly difficult at times but she had star quality and a real empathy with ordinary people. There has never been a royal like her and I doubt there ever will be again.

    • LAK says:

      Actually, there have been royals equally beloved. We tend to look at our own times and imagine nothing as significant has happened before.

      Google Princess Charlotte of Wales.

      • nic919 says:

        That’s true. The death of Princess Charlotte in childbirth was huge at the time and mourning lasted for a long time. Her death also changed the course of history because it set up the race for the unmarried children of George III to stop fooling around with mistresses be legitimately married. Queen Victoria is the result.

  19. Maria says:

    Her sister Sarah said she always put her seatbelt on. She didn’t that night. Maybe that would have saved her.

    • whatever says:

      One report (I can’t remember which one) stated the seat belts in the back of the car were jammed/not working. If true, that explains why she wasn’t wearing one and why it was out of character for her not to wear one.

  20. homeslice says:

    Sad day. Still remember it very clearly even twenty years later. She was one of kind!

  21. Bex says:

    I remember when she got married. I was a girl guide. We were on summer camp and all went to sit on hay bales in a barn to watch it on a little black and white tv.
    The time after she died was the last months I lived in the UK and my last memories of living there are to do with the awful grief that the whole country felt. I drove a lot for business at the time with the radio on and whenever I hear a song that would have been on the radio then it makes me sad. I heard Elton John’s Candle in the Wind today and it took me right back to those weeks.

  22. heather says:

    Queen of our Hearts! She was absolutely luminous.

    I LOVED the two part documentary that was called The Story of Diana, shown on (I believe) ABC in August. If you have not seen it, I highly recommend it.

  23. Michelle says:

    I remember everything. The dating, the wedding, the kids, the divorce, and her death. I remember being at the beach when the crash happened and I went to bed late and could not sleep all night because I kept thinking about her. When I woke early the next morning, I saw the sad news. I didn’t leave the house for two days because I was just shocked by the news. I have been watching all the documentaries about her these passed couple of months and my 17 year old daughter cannot comprehend the magnitude of her death. I told her that no one was like her, and probably no one will ever have the impact and popularity that she did. She was truly one of a kind. I wish I had the chance to see her in person.

  24. HK9 says:

    I’ve always liked Diana-her strengths her faults-everything. The day she died, my best friend called me and said turn on the tv, Princess Diana is dead. Hit me like a ton of bricks. I live in a large city and the next day, the city was QUIET. Even if people didn’t mention it, the grief was palpable-which was weird because it’s not as if we’d met her.

    What I’ve always admired about her was that even though she went through some rough stuff publicly, she was usually able to get herself ‘all the way together’ and do her duty (and look fabulous doing it). When she cracked & got tearful, people forgave her because most of us know what it’s like having a hard time but having to push through life, because life doesn’t stop for you.

    I’ll always feel sad that we never got to see what the next chapter of her life would have been. She’ll not be forgotten.

  25. What's Inside says:

    What ever happened to the paparazzi who were chasing her?

  26. topcat says:

    l think we won’t forget her because we had empathy for her- in a way, we could think she had the same problems, desires and made the same mistakes that ordinary people make. She was like us and yet she was a princess. And she had that thing- the “it” factor, she was truly compelling.

    • Sarah says:

      Besides from her work ethic and empathy, i agree, she had that “it” like very few people do. I cant think of anyone now in the public eye who has”it.” Maybe Bill Clinton amd Barack? Both have charisma, clinton more, though.

  27. The Original Mia says:

    She was the fairytale princess. I grew up following her life and it still saddens me to this day that she was robbed of her future. Age has shown her and the rest in a different life, but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for Diana.

  28. aenflex says:

    Loved her, frailty and messiness and everything else.

  29. Karleena says:

    In 1985 I was visiting a friend in London and he suggested we go to Buckingham Palace and watch for celebrities as there was an event that night. Bob Geldof was there, it was during the era of those big fundraising concerts for Africa etc. We waited for hours and around 2 am a silver Jaguar pulled out of the gates and a radiant woman waved to us as she went by. We were so stunned we just stared at her! It was Diana. Even though it was so late at night and after a big social event, she saw the two of us looking like urchins I am sure, and waved to us. I’ll never forget it.

  30. Lulu2 says:

    I was 11 when this happened , and it’s one of those memories I can call back clear as day. The funeral too, I remember sitting with my mum and little brother the three of us in an armchair watching the procession , and the tightness Of my mums arms around us both. For me being a similar age it was Will and Harry walking behind that hit the hardest, I just couldn’t understand how they were able to do it.

  31. Joannie says:

    I was driving my parents back from Broadlands one afternoon when Charles and Diana pulled out in front of me. Charles was driving his little sports car. She was a striking woman but not beautiful like some of the models we see on magazine covers with the perfect features. Somehow she was more attractive to me because of her imperfections. I think Kate is just as attractive but for some reason plays it safe. Maybe because she’s more grounded as a person or she’s being held back because they dont want another Diana fiasco. JMO.

  32. DavidBowie says:

    I was on a train headed to Princeton, NJ when I heard the news she had died. My friend and I were just coming back from the U.S. Open and it was almost midnight. The atmosphere in our compartment was almost electric (no other way to describe it) as the news traveled from row to row then silence as we all processed the news.

    • Tina says:

      It’s a very strange feeling, hearing the news in such a public place, isn’t it. I was watching 24h news in 2011 and it was announced that Amy Winehouse had died. My husband was at the cricket at Lord’s and I texted him immediately and he told his friend, and he said later that you could hear and feel the news radiating around the ground. Quite surreal.

  33. Cee says:

    I was 10 years old. All I remember is my mum crying. She was big enough for an upper class house wife all the way in Buenos Aires to be crying over her death.

    • Olive says:

      I was 10 too and here in America I remember waking up and going to see what my parents were watching on TV, and it was a reporter announcing her death. Probably the first death of a public figure that registered with me.

  34. DiamondGirl says:

    I’m the same age as Diana, and all of my friends and I were getting married and having kids during the 80s like she was (a little later since we went to college). We all adored her. I’ve never before or since seen someone with her sparkle and charisma.

    I can still see the words “Princess Diana has died” scrolling along the bottom of the screen on CNN – they had been covering the accident for awhile by then and there was talk that she had a broken arm but then boom!

    Some people are too much for this world. They light it up and shine but then leave. Remaining forever young, beautiful, and radiant.

    P.S. Charles and Camilla – I send my best wishes for you to live long lives in which you slowly rot into shriveled crones while the Queen outlives you.

  35. Alexandria says:

    I surprised myself by being affected by her passing. It was a shocking end after all. I was 13 and in secondary one, it seemed so unreal because she was supposed to grow old. I went to the British embassy in Singapore with my sister to sign the condolence book and that was it. But it was during the funeral when Elton was singing that I choked. I don’t even know why. But I knew the world lost someone special.

  36. L84Tea says:

    I cannot help but always think, especially today, that although she never got a chance to see it, she got the ultimate revenge on the RF after the way they all treated her. Twenty years later and she still outshines them all.

  37. A says:

    “The woman who would have been Diana’s daughter-in-law tries and fails to imitate Diana, but it never works” Tbh, I have a lot of opinions on Kate, but this was never the impression I got from her. I always thought that the RF “approved” of her precisely because she isn’t going to be like Diana, and doesn’t want to be like Diana.

    • Olive says:

      Also, “would have been Diana’s daughter-in-law”? I think she IS Diana’s daughter-in-law still, even though she’s dead.

    • nic919 says:

      I don’t think the Queen approved so much as she accepted what William wanted, having endured the mess of the Charles and Diana marriage. She did question her work ethic though, so it’s not like she thought Kate was the best option. (and she has since been proven correct in questioning Kate’s work ethic).
      And the same applies with Harry and Meghan. If Harry wants to marry her then it is going to happen at least in terms of the Queen providing consent.

  38. Kylie says:

    I’ve never seen Kate trying to imitate Diana. On the contrary. She seems to go out of her way to avoid the comparison, so I don’t know why the author thinks she has tried and failed. She’s never tried to, in the first place. Maybe wishful thinking?

  39. MyLittlePony says:

    I was six when Charles and Diana married, and I’ll never forget seeing her in that glass carriage and walking down the aisle at St Paul’s in the (!) dress and the (!) tiara. I grew up at a farm and absolutely everyone dropped whatever they were doing and gathered to watch the wedding which was simply unheard of. The six year old me saw a true princess for the first time in her life on that day. I had just returned to uni for the new term when my best friend rang and told me the news in the morning following her death – it’s been twenty years but I remember the moment as clearly as it had been yesterday. Diana had many flaws yet she did simply amazing work for her charities, and I truly respect her for that. I wonder what it must have been like meeting her in real life with all that charisma and ability to outshine absolutely everything and everyone…