Princess Diana death anniversary: Brother Earl Spencer leads tributes


Tributes to the late Princess Diana on the 25th anniversary of her death were led by her brother Charles Spencer today who tweeted an emotional photograph of a flag at half-mast at her ancestral home of Althorp.

The Northamptonshire estate – which is where Diana first met the Prince of Wales during a grouse hunt – was previously owned by Diana’s father Earl John Spencer, and is now home to Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer. The Princess of Wales is buried on the estate on an island at the centre of an ornamental lake known as The Oval.

The lowering of the flag holds much symbolism – with the lack of such a tribute having been the source of outrage in the days that followed her sudden death, which triggered one of the monarchy’s worst crises in modern history.

The flagpole at Buckingham Palace remained bare, as was the protocol, because the Queen was away in Scotland, comforting William and Harry. But one newspaper headline said: ‘Where is our Queen? Where is her flag?’.

The monarch, who eventually addressed the nation five days after the Princess’s death, relented by flying the union flag at half-mast over Buckingham Palace for the first time on the day of Diana’s funeral in 1997.

Diana’s brother Charles gave a controversial eulogy at her funeral which was seen as an attack on the Royal Family. Earl Spencer vowed to Diana in his speech that her ‘blood family’ would do all they could to protect William and Harry ‘so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition but can sing openly as you planned’.

Diana’s death shocked the world and in the decades that have followed her influence has been seen in the causes supported by royals, the way they conduct themselves and even in their fashion choices.

And the Princess of Wales was also remembered by fans today who gathered outside her former London home of Kensington Palace to pay tribute with a series of banners, photographs and floral displays tied to the gates.

Among those present was John Loughrey, who gained a reputation as Diana’s number one fan after he quit his job in a kitchen to attend every court session of the official six-month inquest into her death from 2007 to 2008.

Tributes at Kensington Palace today including a floral display of white chrysanthemums spelling out ‘Princess Diana’ adorned with pink roses and ribbons, and dozens of photos and messages were left by fans of the Princess – some of whom still make the personal pilgrimage every year – at the gates of her former royal home.

Over in France this morning, photographs and flowers were left in memory of Diana around the Liberty Flame monument above the tunnel of the Alma Bridge in Paris where she died in a car crash on August 31, 1997. 

Princess Diana's brother Charles Spencer today tweeted a photograph of a flag at half-mast at her ancestral home of Althorp

Princess Diana’s brother Charles Spencer today tweeted a photograph of a flag at half-mast at her ancestral home of Althorp

Flowers are placed today at the gates outside Kensington Palace in London, the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales

Flowers are placed today at the gates outside Kensington Palace in London, the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales

Tributes are left on the gates outside Kensington Palace today on the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana's death

Tributes are left on the gates outside Kensington Palace today on the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death

Royal fans outside Kensington Palace today including John Loughrey (right) on the 25th anniversary of Diana's death

Royal fans outside Kensington Palace today including John Loughrey (right) on the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death

Royal fans outside Kensington Palace pay tribute today to Diana, Princess of Wales, on the 25th anniversary of her death

Royal fans outside Kensington Palace pay tribute today to Diana, Princess of Wales, on the 25th anniversary of her death

Among those present at Kensington Palace today is John Loughrey, who gained a reputation as Diana's number one fan

Among those present at Kensington Palace today is John Loughrey, who gained a reputation as Diana’s number one fan

Flowers are left this morning at the gates outside Kensington Palace, the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales

Flowers are left this morning at the gates outside Kensington Palace, the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales

The Princess Diana statue in the Sunken Garden outside Kensington Palace in London, Diana's former home, is pictured today

The Princess Diana statue in the Sunken Garden outside Kensington Palace in London, Diana’s former home, is pictured today

Royal fans outside Kensington Palace, the former home of the Princess of Wales, on the 25th anniversary of her death today

Royal fans outside Kensington Palace, the former home of the Princess of Wales, on the 25th anniversary of her death today

Royalty follower John Loughrey shows off a cake with a portrait of Princess Diana at Kensington Palace in London today

Royalty follower John Loughrey shows off a cake with a portrait of Princess Diana at Kensington Palace in London today

Tributes are left on the gates outside Kensington Palace today on the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana's death

Tributes are left on the gates outside Kensington Palace today on the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death

Flowers are left this morning at the gates outside Kensington Palace, the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales

Flowers are left this morning at the gates outside Kensington Palace, the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales

Photo tributes are left on the gates outside Kensington Palace in London today on the 25th anniversary of Diana's death

Photo tributes are left on the gates outside Kensington Palace in London today on the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death

John Loughrey quit his job in a kitchen to attend every court session of the six-month inquest into Diana's death in 2007

John Loughrey quit his job in a kitchen to attend every court session of the six-month inquest into Diana’s death in 2007

Another royal fan stands outside Kensington Palace today as tributes are left on the gates for Princess Diana

Another royal fan stands outside Kensington Palace today as tributes are left on the gates for Princess Diana

A painting of Princess Diana is seen as fans of the Royal Family gather outside Kensington Palace today

Floral tributes are left on the gates outside Kensington Palace in London today on the 25th anniversary of Diana's death

Floral tributes are left on the gates outside Kensington Palace in London today on the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death

Royalty follower John Loughrey shows off a cake with a portrait of Princess Diana at Kensington Palace in London today

Royalty follower John Loughrey shows off a cake with a portrait of Princess Diana at Kensington Palace in London today

Messages and photographs of Princess Diana are seen on the gate as royal fans gather outside Kensington Palace today

Messages and photographs of Princess Diana are seen on the gate as royal fans gather outside Kensington Palace today

A woman looks at a floral arrangement in remembrance of Princess Diana outside the gates of Kensington Palace today

A woman looks at a floral arrangement in remembrance of Princess Diana outside the gates of Kensington Palace today

A woman lays flowers today at the gates outside Kensington Palace, the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, in London

A woman lays flowers today at the gates outside Kensington Palace, the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, in London

A floral arrangement and messages of remembrance for Princess Diana are seen on the gates of Kensington Palace today

A floral arrangement and messages of remembrance for Princess Diana are seen on the gates of Kensington Palace today

People wave a flag as they stand in front of messages of remembrance for Princess Diana outside Kensington Palace today

People wave a flag as they stand in front of messages of remembrance for Princess Diana outside Kensington Palace today

A woman lays flowers today at the gates outside Kensington Palace, the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, in London

A woman lays flowers today at the gates outside Kensington Palace, the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, in London

The Princess Diana statue in the Sunken Garden outside Kensington Palace in London, Diana's former home, is pictured today

The Princess Diana statue in the Sunken Garden outside Kensington Palace in London, Diana’s former home, is pictured today

A woman lays flowers today at the gates outside Kensington Palace, the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, in London

A woman lays flowers today at the gates outside Kensington Palace, the former home of Diana, Princess of Wales, in London

Royal fans gather outside Kensington Palace to show their support on the 25th anniversary of Diana's death today

Royal fans gather outside Kensington Palace to show their support on the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death today

Fans of the Royal Family gather outside Kensington Palace in London today on the 25th anniversary of Diana's death

Fans of the Royal Family gather outside Kensington Palace in London today on the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death

Royal fan John Loughrey (centre) is filmed by a camera operator as people gather outside Kensington Palace today

Royal fan John Loughrey (centre) is filmed by a camera operator as people gather outside Kensington Palace today

A painting of Princess Diana is seen as fans of the Royal Family gather outside Kensington Palace today

A painting of Princess Diana is seen as fans of the Royal Family gather outside Kensington Palace today

A flag featuring Princess Diana blows in the wind as fans of the Royal Family gather outside Kensington Palace today

A flag featuring Princess Diana blows in the wind as fans of the Royal Family gather outside Kensington Palace today

Royal fan John Loughrey looks at a floral display as people gather outside Kensington Palace in London today

Royal fan John Loughrey looks at a floral display as people gather outside Kensington Palace in London today

Royal fans gather outside Kensington Palace to show their support on the 25th anniversary of Diana's death today

Royal fans gather outside Kensington Palace to show their support on the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death today

Royal fans gather outside Kensington Palace to show their support on the 25th anniversary of Diana's death today

Royal fans gather outside Kensington Palace to show their support on the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death today

Fans of the Royal Family take a selfie outside Kensington Palace on the 25th anniversary of the death of Diana today

Fans of the Royal Family take a selfie outside Kensington Palace on the 25th anniversary of the death of Diana today

A painting of Princess Diana is seen as fans of the Royal Family gather outside Kensington Palace today

A painting of Princess Diana is seen as fans of the Royal Family gather outside Kensington Palace today

The Princess Diana statue in the Sunken Garden outside Kensington Palace in London, Diana's former home, is pictured today

The Princess Diana statue in the Sunken Garden outside Kensington Palace in London, Diana’s former home, is pictured today

Tessy Ojo, chief executive officer of The Diana Award, established to promote the princess’s belief young people have the power to change the world for the better, has paid tribute to the royal and described how she left flowers at Kensington Palace after Diana was killed.

Ms Ojo said: ‘Her ability to connect with people though kindness and compassion is one of her most significant legacies. She left a mark on all our lives.’

William and Harry ‘will pay their own private respects to Princess Diana rather than doing so in public – or together’

William and Harry will pay their own private respects to Princess Diana today, on the 25th anniversary of her death, rather than doing so jointly in public.

Royal aides said a decision between the warring brothers, who have previously marked anniversaries together – including last year when they unveiled a bronze statue of their mother in the Sunken Garden of her former home Kensington Palace.

However, a source told the Daily Mirror that William is ‘not planning’ to make a public statement, adding: ‘He will no doubt spend the day reflecting on his mother’s incredible legacy and the work he continues to do every day to further it in any way he can.’

Meanwhile, Harry, who is locked in a dispute with the family after leaving with wife Meghan Markle to move to America in 2020, also paid tribute to her last week.

Speaking in Aspen, Colorado, he said of Diana’s anniversary: ‘I want it to be a day filled with memories of her incredible work and love for the way she did it.  I want it to be a day to share the spirit of my mum with my family, with my children, who I wish could have met her. Every day, I hope to do her proud.’

She added: ‘Diana, Princess of Wales, believed that young people have the power to change the world. Continuing her legacy also means building the capacity of young people to change their world by tackling the big issues of our time.

‘Like Diana, Princess of Wales they’re not afraid to speak out and be at the forefront of change. I can only imagine how immensely proud she would be of the tens of thousands of young people from across the world who are continuing her legacy.’

When Diana died aged 36 in a crash in Paris on August 31, 1997, she was embarking on a new period of her life, free from the restraints of being a member of the monarchy and intent on using her position to champion the causes close to her heart.

Her greatest legacy has been her sons, the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex, who embody her beliefs and values and have spoken about how their mother is still guiding them.

Speaking last week after a fundraising polo match for his charity Sentebale, named in memory of his mother, Harry said about the anniversary of her death: ‘I want it to be a day filled with memories of her incredible work and love for the way she did it.

‘I want it to be a day to share the spirit of my mum with my family, with my children, who I wish could have met her.

‘Every day, I hope to do her proud. She was tireless in her work to support and destigmatise those experiencing HIV/AIDS. Fittingly, her favourite flowers were forget-me-nots.’

Diana broke new ground by championing issues such as Aids awareness – famously holding the hand of a man with the illness – or highlighting homelessness and joining campaigners calling for a ban on landmines.

Her fashion sense made her a cover star for magazines and newspapers across the globe and even after she broke away from the royal family was still seen as the modern face of the monarchy.

Diana’s sons jointly paid tribute to their mother last summer on July 1 when they unveiled a statue of the princess in the garden of Kensington Palace. Divided on many issues, William and Harry put on a united front. 

People gather around the Liberty Flame monument in Paris today, above the tunnel of the Alma bridge where Diana died

People gather around the Liberty Flame monument in Paris today, above the tunnel of the Alma bridge where Diana died 

Pictures and flowers are left in memory of the late Princess Diana around the Liberty Flame monument in Paris this morning

Pictures and flowers are left in memory of the late Princess Diana around the Liberty Flame monument in Paris this morning

Flowers and messages are placed at the Liberty Flame in Paris today on the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana's death

Flowers and messages are placed at the Liberty Flame in Paris today on the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death

A heart-shaped tribute left in memory of the late Princess Diana next to the Liberty Flame monument in Paris this morning

A heart-shaped tribute left in memory of the late Princess Diana next to the Liberty Flame monument in Paris this morning

People gather around the Liberty Flame monument in Paris today, above the tunnel of the Alma bridge where Diana died

People gather around the Liberty Flame monument in Paris today, above the tunnel of the Alma bridge where Diana died

A tribute is written in memory of the late Princess Diana near the Liberty Flame monument in Paris, pictured this morning

A tribute is written in memory of the late Princess Diana near the Liberty Flame monument in Paris, pictured this morning

Flowers and messages are placed at the Liberty Flame in Paris today on the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana's death

Flowers and messages are placed at the Liberty Flame in Paris today on the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death

Pictures and flowers are left in memory of the late Princess Diana around the Liberty Flame monument in Paris this morning

Pictures and flowers are left in memory of the late Princess Diana around the Liberty Flame monument in Paris this morning

Flowers and messages are placed at the Liberty Flame in Paris today on the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana's death

Flowers and messages are placed at the Liberty Flame in Paris today on the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death

A woman stands in front of the Liberty Flame monument in Paris above the tunnel of the Alma bridge this morning

A woman stands in front of the Liberty Flame monument in Paris above the tunnel of the Alma bridge this morning

The princess gave a controversial interview to the BBC Panorama programme saying ‘well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded’ – a reference to Camilla Parker Bowles, who Charles later married.

The BBC vowed last month never to broadcast the interview again in the wake of the Dyson inquiry, which found journalist Martin Bashir had used ‘deceitful behaviour’ to secure the scoop.

He faked bank statements which he showed to Diana’s brother Earl Spencer to gain access to the princess.

William and Harry, in separate statements, condemned the BBC for its treatment of their mother, with William saying the interview fuelled her ‘fear, paranoia and isolation’, and Harry saying ‘the ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life’.



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