Diana’s death 25 years ago plunged Britain into collective mourning
By Viviana Garcia
London, Aug 31 (EFE).- Twenty-five years ago Wednesday, Britain plunged into a collective mourning after learning of the tragic death of Diana of Wales in a car accident in Paris, while criticizing the coldness of the royal family for staying in Scotland while people mourned their beloved princess.
The gate of Kensington Palace, the former London residence of the princess, is today decorated with a large banner with photos of Diana, flowers, a British flag and also a pink and white floral decoration that reads “Princess Diana.”
These modest memories contrast with the sea of flowers, cards and teddy bears that formed in front of the palace from that fateful Aug. 31, 1997, when the country woke up to the news of the death of Lady Di in an accident, in in which his friend Dodi Al Fayed and driver Henry Paul lost their lives.
The death of Diana of Wales, 36, shocked the United Kingdom and the world. The princess was the permanent cover of the newspapers for her relationship with the son of the then owner of the Harrods department store, Mohamed Al Fayed, as well as for her closeness to the people. She was also known for her humanitarian work and her media campaign in favor of the banning of antipersonnel mines, something that led her to visit Angola in 1997.
For the British, Diana of Wales was the princess who broke the distance that members of the royal family were accustomed to keeping with the public.
Diana approached people, shook hands, visited the “homeless,” while she broke the AIDS stigma of the past eighties by shaking hands with a sick person.
John Loughrey, a member of the Grupo Palacio Kensington association, told EFE on Wednesday that it is important “to keep her legacy alive” and “her memory of her” because she left “many legacies.”
“I can think of landmines” and also “of the warmth to people around the world,” Loughrey said.
While the British mourned Diana’s death 25 years ago at the gates of Kensington or made long lines to sign the condolence books installed in royal residences, Queen Elizabeth II and her family, including Princes William and Harry, remained in the Balmoral Castle in Edinburgh.
The extent of the pain that was seen on the faces of the people and the overwhelming amount of flowers that accumulated in front of the palaces, forced her – advised by then-Prime Minister Tony Blair – to return to London to join the mourning.
It was then that Elizabeth II and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, dressed in black, were seen surprising the country by leaving the gates of Buckingham Palace in London to walk among bouquets of flowers and read the cards that people had deposited there. EFE