Princes pay tribute on eve of Diana anniversary

Reuters
Princes William and Harry paid a quiet tribute to their mother Princess Diana yesterday, a day before the 20th anniversary of her death.
Reuters
AFP

Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Britain's Prince Harry place flowers alongside tributes left by members of the public at one of the entrances of Kensington Palace to mark the coming 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in London on August 30, 2017.

Princes William and Harry paid a quiet tribute to their mother Princess Diana yesterday, a day before the 20th anniversary of her death that has reignited interest in one of the world’s most famous women.

Diana’s sons met representatives of the charities she supported in a public garden at Kensington Palace, their home and where their mother lived until she died in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.

Outside the palace gates supporters of the royal family gathered in the rain to mark the occasion, with many praising Diana’s sons for keeping her in the public memory.

“Everyone remembers where they were the day she died, and when they heard about it,” said 74-year-old Nancy Purinton, on holiday with her husband from the United States. “It was pretty dramatic.”

Sheltering under umbrellas, Harry, William and his wife Kate took a tour of the renamed White Garden, which has been transformed temporarily with white English roses and forget-me-nots planted earlier this year.

The palace’s head gardener who knew Diana from her frequent visits to the spot, usually known as the Sunken Garden, explained the design and pointed out some of the princess’s favorite plants.

The gathering follows weeks of renewed interest in Diana, the first wife of heir-to-the-throne Prince Charles. She has once again become front page news with new revelations about her life and a raft of TV documentaries to mark the anniversary.

Previous anniversaries of her death have passed with little fuss, suggesting that the “People’s Princess”, as she was dubbed by then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair, had perhaps lost some of her allure and relevance.

But with the popular William and Harry coming to the fore, the 20th anniversary has sparked a re-examination of the role Diana played in Britain and the royal family, from her lavish wedding in 1981 to her bitter divorce.

The princes have also been increasingly willing to speak about the trauma of her death and its lasting impact.

Diana’s death in a Paris underpass sparked an outpouring of grief that stunned many Britons, with thousands of mourners descending on the palace to leave flowers and letters to pay tribute to a woman who had become a global fashion icon and charity campaigner.

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