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British Royal Family

Saying goodbye to England's rose: Harrowing new details over Princess Diana's funeral

A new documentary will shed light on the week that followed the People's Princess' passing.

By Chloe Lal
People are still exceptionally intrigued by Princess Diana, two decades since her passing.
The beloved mother of Prince William, now 35 and Prince Harry, now 32, tragically died in a car accident in Paris on August 31, 1997.
Details surrounding the days that followed will be shared in an upcoming documentary, Diana: 7 Days That Shook The Windsors.
Princess Diana's untimely passing was an unprecedented event for Buckingham Palace, who were sent spinning.
The royals, along with the government, managed to organise the national funeral within a week, taking place on September 6, 1997.
The committee was made up with members from Kensington, Buckingham and St James’ Palaces, representatives from Number 10, the police and the Spencer family, who orchestrated the entire event.
Just this week Prince William admitted that “it has taken 20 years to come to terms with his mum’s death”, while he and his brother mused that their mother's passing “uniquely bonded” them – despite “not talking about it enough” over the years.

The TV special takes us back to the harrowing moments that followed the accident.
William and Harry, just 15 and 12 at the time, unknowingly slept in on the morning after tragedy.
At the time, the Princes were in Balmoral with Her Majesty, who wanted her grandsons to have a moment before their lives were changed forever.
Queen Elizabeth ordered all TVs and radios in her Balmoral residence to be moved or hidden, shielding the young boys from potentially hearing and seeing their mother’s final moments.
Prince Charles was initially banned by his mother from going to Paris with the Royal Flight private plane to retrieve Princess Diana's body.
Upon hearing the news, it's believed a young Prince Harry wanted to join his dad, but was ordered to stay at home.
Watch the moment Tracy Grimshaw shook Australia with the heartbreaking news the Diana, Princess of Wales had died
Harry and William were in Balmoral at the time of the accident.
In 1997 Diana began a relationship with Dodi Fayed. The pair spent the week together before Diana's death on Dodi's father's yacht sailing the Italian and French rivieras.
Charles was joined by his former wife's butler at the time Paul Burrell and Colin Tebbutt, her chauffeur and security consultant.
Paul and Colin explained in the show that they were forced to create a makeshift morgue.
“I honestly thought entering that room and looking at her, ‘She is not really dead, it’s just a joke, a very silly joke and you can wake up'," Paul recalled about the moment he saw Diana's body.
While Colin reflected, “Everyone was in shock … I noticed that hair of the princess was moving, which was from fans I had put in the room, and just for that massive minuscule of a second I thought was she alive, which was a silly thing to think."
“The Prince came up to me and thanked me for being there and asked if there were any members of the clergy there, and Paul went and got the two vicars, and the two vicars and sisters went into the room and the door was shut.”
Prince Charles flew to Paris following the tragic news.
He was joined by her butler, Paul Burrell.
The investigation also discusses the difficulties surrounding the young boys.
Anji Hunter, who was then-Prime Minister Tony Blair’s adviser, spoke of the issues about wanting the young Princes to walk behind Princess Diana's coffin.
Explaining how Diana's sons wanted to mourn in private and were reluctant to do so, she said, “I can remember and it sends a tingle up my back thinking about it."
“We were talking and then, from the speakerphone on the table, came Prince Philip’s voice, and it was anguished. ‘These are the boys here, we are talking about these boys, they have lost their mum.’"
"It brought it all home to us.”
Prince William and Harry at Diana's funeral, September 1997
The boys were just 15 and 12, respectively.
The death of their mother changed Prince William and Prince Harry's life forever
The Princes have been speaking out more on how her passing affected them.
In the end, the royal siblings changed their minds and joined their father Prince Charles, grandfather Prince Philip and uncle Charles Spencer, as they all walked behind her coffin.
Diana's death stopped the world, but her private secretary Patrick Jepson admitted at the time, they weren't sure if enough people would come to pay their respects.
“There was no rule book to go to, no precedent, no tradition - nothing fitted the royal game plan. I remember saying if you get hold of a guest list for the Princess’s Christmas drinks in 1995, invite everybody on that guest list and you won’t have missed out anybody important," he reflected.
Over two million people lined the streets to Westminster Abbey, in a bid to say their final goodbye.
The documentary is set to air later this week.

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