Nearly 24 Years Later, We’re Looking Back at 25 Sad and Poignant Photos from Princess Diana’s Funeral
((Photo By David Brauchli/Getty Images))
August 31, 2021, is the 24th anniversary of Princess Diana‘s death following a car crash in Paris, France. She was 36 years old at the time of her death, and if she had lived she would have celebrated her 60th birthday in July—last month, to mark the occasion, the first official statue of Diana was unveiled by her two sons on the grounds of the home they all once shared.
The Princess of Wales’ funeral was held seven days after she was killed. The ceremony had one of the biggest viewing audiences of all time—an approximate 2.5 billion people tuned in around the world to watch the final farewell to the People’s Princess, with more than one million people lining the streets of London to watch her coffin pass by.
In what was regarded a startling departure from the notion of a British ‘stiff upper lip’, there was an outpouring of emotion from members of the public as Diana’s coffin passed on its 1 hour 47 min procession through the city. The audio of people sobbing and wailing in the streets has become infamous, as has the image of 11-year-old Prince Harry and 15-year-old Prince William walking behind their mother’s coffin.
“We will all feel cheated always that you were taken from us so young and yet we must learn to be grateful that you came along at all.”
He also castigated the press and the royal family for their treatment of Diana while she was alive: “It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this—a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.”
At the time, a poll said 77 percent of British people ‘agreed strongly that Earl Spencer’s tribute had reflected the mood of the nation.”
Diana was buried later that day in a private ceremony in Althorp Park, the Spencer family estate. She was wearing a black woolen long-sleeved cocktail dress by Catherine Walker that she had ordered only weeks before she died, and holding a set of rosary beads that were a gift from Mother Theresa.
Today Diana’s grave is marked by a simple white urn on an overgrown island in the middle of a lake. The path leading to the lake is lined with 36 oak trees, each of which represents a year of her life.
Below, we answer the questions around Diana’s funeral and show emotional photos from Princess Diana’s funeral.
Did Diana have a state funeral?
Diana didn’t have an official state funeral, rather a lavish ceremonial one much like the one held several years later for the Queen Mother (in fact, because Diana’s death was so unexpected, her funeral plans were modeled on Tay Bridge, a codename for the funeral plan that had been in place for Queen Mother since 1979.)
Where did Diana’s coffin travel during its procession to the funeral?
When Diana’s body was brought back from Paris, she lay in the Chapel Royal at St James Palace for five nights before being brought to her former home of Kensington Palace. Her coffin remained there for one night before being brought to the funeral at Westminster Abbey.
Who walked behind Diana’s coffin?
Who was at Diana’s funeral?
There were 2,000 people at the funeral in Westminster Abbey, including former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, US First Lady Hillary Clinton, South Africa President Nelson Mandela, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Mariah Carey, Richard Branson, Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
What music was played at Diana’s funeral?
The ceremony opened with a rendition of ‘God Save the Queen’ and hymns sung during the ceremony included ‘Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer’, while Elton John sang ‘Candle in the Wind’, a previous song that he and his writing partner Bernie Taupin reworked to refer specifically to Diana.
As Diana’s coffin was taken from Westminster Abbey, John Taverner’s ‘Song for Athene’ was performed by the choir.
Click through the gallery to see memorable pics from Princess Diana’s funeral.