On August 31, 1997, the media began spreading the news that Diana, Princess of Wales, had been severely injured in a car crash; by 4:45 am, news reported that Diana had died
While this unfortunate event was happening, the members of the royal family were on their annual summer break at Balmoral Castle, Scotland. At 5:25, they issued the following statement:
“The Queen and Prince Philip are deeply shocked and distressed by this terrible news. Other members of the royal family are being informed of the Princess’s death.”
They believed that this gesture would be enough. However, they made a grave error in their reaction – one that lost them all the public respect at the time, and has taken almost 2 decades to regain.
The Queen’s attitude in times of crisis has always been a calm one. It has helped her in difficult times of her turbulent life, such as her uncle’s abdication, World War II, her father’s early death and her accession to the throne.
However, in this particular situation, it was nothing more than an error. People felt that the royals were insulting Diana, and even newspapers, such as the Daily Express, demanded her presence in London. They said: “Show us You care.”
For the people, Diana was a princess and mother of the future king. Many people believed that she had been poorly treated by the royals and Charles, and their response to her death only made things worse.
Politicians and courtiers sensed the growing resentment of the public, and pushed the royals to take further action. This way, a ceremonial funeral was planned.
The Queen went on television and gave an emotional speech, telling the public how the members of the royal family had been grieving.
However, the most memorable words did not come from the Queen. They came from Diana’s brother, who said that she was “a symbol of selfless humanity” and a “standard bearer for the suffering.”
He also pointed out the irony that the girl who received the name of the Roman goddess of hunting “became the most hunted person of the modern age,” and ended by telling the world her “beauty, both internal and external, will never be extinguished in our minds.”
Twenty years have passes since Diana’s death, and her sons are carrying on her legacy. This year, Diana has been commemorated by a private ceremony at her family estate, Althorp, in a service led by her brother and attended by the prices.