"Diana, Princess of Wales. The full tragic story since her death in the car crash in Paris. A LondonNet News Feature
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DEATH OF THE PRINCESS
Funeral: Millions Crowd London Streets | Bouquets hit the Million Mark | Elton to Light New Candle | Queen Fights Back | Elton John to Sing at Funeral | Brother Bans Press | 6 Million Expected at Di's Funeral | Royals Under Fire | Charges for Paparazzi Pack | Di's Funeral set for Saturday | Wesminster Abbey Ceremony | Speeding Chauffeur was over the alcohol limit | Charles with children | Early Reactions | Who's to Blame?
The immediate aftermath:
Funeral: Millions Crowd London Streets
AN ESTIMATED total crowd of some three million people are believed to have paid their last respects in person to Diana, Princess of Wales today.
Crowds lined the central London streets to watch in near total silence as the cortege carrying Diana's body snaked its way to and from Westminster Abbey.
At Hyde Park, over a million mourners turned up to watch the service on huge TV screens while around two million waited their turn on the pavements of the capital.
The total figure of three million is somewhat lower than was predicted. Police believe that many were put off coming into town by fears of huge traffic jams.
For more on the funeral see Memorial Page
Bouquets hit the Million Mark
FLORAL tributes to Diana, Princess of Wales at London palaces have now topped one million according to informed estimates.
Bunches of flowers from ordinary people and celebrities alike have become a feature of the grieving process following the Princess's tragic death last Sunday as people struggle to find ways to express their feelings.
Fields of flowers have grown at the entrances to Buckingham Palace, St James Palace and Kensington Palace as more and more mourners have added their own tributes to the many that have gone before.
Elton to Light New Candle
ELTON JOHN is to record the new Diana-based version of his classic single 'Candle in the Wind' for charity it has emerged today.
The singing superstar was one of Diana, Princess of Wales closest friends in pop and will be singing the moving song at tomorrow's funeral. Now the deeply saddened superstar has decided to put 'Candle in the Wind' out as a single as a way of raising cash for the Diana Memorial fund which was set up in the aftermath of the Princess's untimely demise.
Record industry experts are already predicting the single will become the best selling of all time and that it will still be Number One at Christmas time.
Queen Fights Back
THE ROYAL family old guard, heavily criticised for its stiff-lipped response to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales has come out fighting today.
Press secretary to the Windsors, Geoffrey Cranford, said that the Queen and other senior members of her family have been deeply hurt by the way they have been portrayed in the media as uncaring. Plans were afoot for the Queen to break her silence on her estranged daughter-in-law's untimely demise, he added.
Critics have asked why the family has holed up at it vast Balmoral estate in Scotland rather than come down to London and show empathy with the grieving thousands who have thronged the capital's streets these past few days.
Cranford said that Her Majesty preferred the "quiet haven of Balmoral" where she could comfort Diana's two sons in the run up to Saturday's funeral. However, Princes Edward and Andrew, Charles two brothers, did make the trip to London today and signed one of the many Diana memorial books.
The Queen has also responded to criticism of her silence since Sunday with the announcement that she will speak to the British people via TV in the aftermath of the funeral.
Elton John to Sing at Funeral
ONE OF Princess Diana's closest pop pals will sing a moving tribute to the tragic car crash victim at Saturday's funeral.
Elton John, who was comforted by Diana at Gianni Versace's funeral just a few weeks ago, will steel himself to sing a special version of 'Candle in the Wind' at what is expected to be a hugely emotional occasion.
Elton broke down at the Versace ceremony only to be comforted by the arm of caring Diana but friends of the sensitive singer believe he will be able to keep his emotions under control for what will be one of the most important performances of his life. The lyrics have been changed to read "Goodbye England's rose," rather than "Goodbye Norma Jean."
Brother Bans Press
EARL SPENCER, Princess Diana's grieving brother, has forced funeral organisers to withdraw invitations made to certain editors of the British press.
Six editors of some of Britain's top tabloid papers have been given the boot by angry Spencer who earlier blamed what he saw as the intrusive media for his sister's death.
6 Million Expected at Di's Funeral
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Condon expects up to 6 million people to attend Princess Diana's funeral in London on Saturday.
Sir Paul has persuaded Buckingham Palace to double the length of the route taken to Westminster Abbey. The march will now start from Di's home at Kensington Palace. He expects it to take several hours before the crowd are able to disperse from central London.
Royals Under Fire
Di's estranged relatives are under fire for failing to make a public in-person comment on her tragic death. Many Londoners and Brits are disappointed with the apparently mute reaction from The House of Windsor. Commentators report that public sympathy is more with the House of Spencer (ie Di and the kids) than the Windsors. Mourners attending Buckingham Palace have been astonished to find it failing to display a flag at half mast (like every other public building in the city). We are informed that royal protocol allows for a flag to fly at a royal residence only when Her Majesty the Queen is present.
The Palace did issue a written statement from the Royals today thanking the public for their response to this tragedy. It added that this reaction was helping Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry to come to terms with recent events.
To make matters worse for the Windsors, as is usual during sudden and tragic events such as this, the conspiracy theorists are coming out of the woodwork. For our somewhat sceptical look at the 3 most prominent conspiracies currently doing the rounds Click Here.
Manslaughter Charges for Paparazzi Pack
All seven of the Paparazzi bikers arrested on Sunday following the death of Princess Di have been charged with manslaughter according to French Magistrates. They also face charges for traffic violations including failing to assist the vctims of the accident.
Di's funeral set for Saturday
Diana, Princess of Wales's funeral will take place at Westminster Abbey on Saturday 6 September 1997 at 11.00am. She will be buried at her family home in Althorp. Dodi Fayed was buried yesterday according to muslim custom in Woking, Surrey.
Wesminster Abbey Ceremony
There will be a full procession from St James Palace to Westminster Abbey, where the funeral will be held. The coffin will then be taken by road to Althorp in Northamptonshire, the famil home of the Spencer family. Millions of Londoners and people from around the world are expected to line the route.
Speeding Chauffeur was over the alcohol limit
French Police have announced that the Fayed's chauffuer, Henri Paul , driving the Mercedes carrying the Princess, was over the legal alcohol limit. Mr Paul who died instantly in the tragic accident had 175mg of alcohol per 100ml blood (the French legal limit is 50mg) . The speedometer on the wrecked car was not stuck at 121 mph (four times the speed limit) as previously reported, according to French Prosecutors.
Charles with children
The body of Diana, Princess of Wales has already been flown back to Britain. An aircraft carrying her coffin arrived at Northolt Airport, West London on Sunday at 7.00 pm BST. Also on board the plane were Prince Charles and Diana's two sisters. Prince Charles has now returned to Balmoral, Scotland to comfort his two children; Prince William and Prince Harry.
Diana, Princess of Wales, her companion Dodi Al Fayed and their driver were killed in the early hours of Sunday morning. She was 36.
Their Mercedes 600 SEL was engaged in a high speed chase across the streets of central Paris before leaving the road and crashing into the walls of a tunnel on the banks of the River Seine. They were being pursued by up to seven members of the Paparazzi travelling on motorbikes. The couple had left the Ritz Hotel, owned by Dodi's father Mohammed Al Fayed, after enjoying a late meal together. Diana was on her way to the airport from where she was to return to England to see her children, Princes William and Harry.
Crowds gathered through Sunday at both Kensington and Buckingham Palace in central London. Kensington Palace, the Princess's home saw the largest crowds. Tens of Thousands congregated to share their collective grief on this tragic day. A line of floral tributes half a mile long ringed the Princess's grounds. Londoners, fellow Britains and foreigners all came to pay their last respects to The People's Princess. There was an eerie silence among the grief stricken mourners.
Prime Minister Tony Blair said that the nation would mourn the loss of "The People's Princess". President Bill Clinton was said to be visibly shaken on hearing the news.
The Princess's brother Earl Spencer said that his family needed privacy to mourn the loss of his sister. He added that he had always thought that the press would bring about her death, although even he had not anticipated just how directly. He said that every newspaper and magazine that ever bought such intrusive images in the past now had the Princess's blood on their hands.
The news has plunged the nation and the world into a state of shock. Her early and tragic death will certainly increase calls for greater privacy for public figures and a seachange in the way the media polices itself in the brave new world of the Information Revolution. For now all our minds are surely with the two young Princes, whose already troubled lives have now suffered a new and even more tragic twist of fate.
Who's to Blame?
Already speculation is growing as to the factors that led to the couple's death. Where were the Gendarmerie when this convoy of a limousine and a half a dozen motorbikes were racing through the moonlit streets of Paris? Eyewitnesses reported that the vehicles were travelling at up to 121 mph. It now appears that as the Mercedes approached the tunnel one of the bikes may have attempted to get in front it, and that maybe this caused the driver, the Fayed's personal chauffeur/bodyguard who was well over the legal alcohol limit, to swerve and lose control, hitting the tunnel wall at extremely high speed.
Contrary to earlier reports it now appears that the bodyguard who survived the horrific crash was not a member of the UK secret service but was instead a member of Mr Fayed's staff. Trevor Reece Jones, a former serviceman, is said to be making satisfactory progress despite suffering serious injuries during the accident. French Police will be anxious to question the guard as soon as is practicable. He will hold the key as to how the Paparazzi were able to pose such a fatal threat to the Princess and her companions.
Could a call not have been placed to the French Authorities to say that The Princess was engaged in a life-threatening chase prior to the collision? If they had been alerted why was there a delay in getting to the scene? Are there any traffic police in Paris? Eyewitnesses report that the Paparazzi pack were able to take numerous photos of the dead and injured prior to the arrival of the emergency services. A crowd of Parisians reportedly set upon the snap-happy photographers with one cameraman suffering severe injuries.