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Wednesday, 6 September, 2000, 09:03 GMT 10:03 UK
Diana three years on - What's her legacy?
Three years have passed since Diana, Princess of Wales, was tragically killed in a car crash in Paris.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
After the nation publicly grieved in the immediate aftermath of her death, the first anniversary was marked with much ceremony.
However three years on it's been scaled down to a more low-key remembrance.
Joanna Lane, British in America
A woman was killed while travelling in a car which was speeding and was driven by a drunk. She wasn't wearing a seatbelt. The result was entirely predictable and doesn't require a conspiracy to explain it.
I couldn't care less about a legacy, Diana or anything remotely connected with her. I wish everyone would stop going on and concentrate on things more up-to-date and worthwhile - i.e. the poor old lady who was beaten senseless by a burglar on the outskirts of Manchester yesterday springs to mind!
May she rest in piece and may all who still feel grief remember her in their own way. Can those of us who care little about the Royals, alive or dead, be allowed to get on with our lives without having to hear about it all over again.
Diana's legacy is probably to show how you can help change the world without needing vast wealth or influence. Everyone can visit their local hospital, look in on their elderly neighbours or write to their MP to complain about landmines. Her fame broadcast the message far and wide but the message itself was simple: with a caring attitude, a little help goes a long way.
I was in the US when I first heard that Diana had died.
At first I was in disbelief, then shock and horror. I mostly felt bad for the boys and what they must have had to go through. I once saw the Princess at a gathering in front of Harrods department store. Although I live in the US now I still feel the same sorrow that I felt the day she died. I still can't believe it was three years ago.
Isn't it ironic? When Diana was still alive, she was always in the limelight as a result of the relentless pursuits by the press. Now she is gone, it seems that the interest shown in her by everyone has also waned.
Diana is the symbol of love and freedom - mostly for teenagers who see in her the goddess of rebellion. However, fate planned for her to die early to keep her pretty in the minds of those who appreciate beauty.
Keri Cooke, UK
I think British Intelligence got rid of Diana because she was an embarrassment to the country by being this emotionally messed up princess who was sleeping around with every Tom Dick and Harry, and also she was going to bring shame to the Monarchy and to Britain by marrying a muslim and having muslim children. It is a pity that people remember Diana more than Mother Teresa. Diana was a spoilt rich girl that manipulated the media to her advantage, Mother Teresa was a great model of a human being and a saint.
I miss Diana and have grieved for her this week. As an observer from outside the UK I have noticed several indications of Diana's legacy. The royal family has loosened up their public image quite a lot starting immediately after Diana's death and the public reaction to it. She left two sons who are not and will not, apparently, be totally controlled by the royal family's staff of grey men. William and Harry seem to have her natural human touch with all kinds of people and will be a credit to Britain.
John Atkins, UK
The late Princess ought, indeed, to be left to rest in peace, although one would hardly think so given the ungallant comments of some of the contributers to this debate. Equally, those who choose to remember her in their own way ought also to be left in peace. If people want to leave candles, flowers and messages at Kensington Palace on the anniversary of The Princess's death they should be able to do so, without their actions - and The Princess - being subject to abusive and patronising criticism.
I can remember watching the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana. I was only 15 at the time and didn't give much thought to her or anything else that had to do with Royalty until that day in August three years ago. It's as if I found a best friend. I gathered all I could about her. Books, videos and news clippings. She was no saint, but she never claimed to be one. What she was, however, was what we all are, humans.
Diana's tragic death is one of those events in life that should never be forgotten. The poor woman had no peace of mind in life and now that she's dead she still doesn't have any peace. With all this latest talk about a cover up surrounding her tragic death, it's no wonder the poor woman and her family can't find any peace. If the stories are true concerning the cover up then just get on with it and not air the dirty laundry in public. I feel for Mr. Al Fayed losing his son but Diana's sons have also lost their only mother and Mr. Al Fayed should not put her sons through anymore sorrow.
Chris Brown, UK
Diana was a great lady, and she's very much missed. Although the al-Fayeds are originally from Egypt, all Egyptians were more shocked by Diana's death than they were by Dodi's. Diana's deeds speak on her behalf. We don't lose things, they just get moved.
Here we go again, Diana-hysteria waxing large, just like it did three years ago. I have no doubt that many children in hospital were cheered up by her, and she was pretty brave to go walking around in the war zone to publicise the horror of land mines. People seem so keen to impose their own "feelings" onto her memory, that they seem to forget that there are people who *really* knew her - her children, friends and family - who are genuinely grieving for her.
Diana was someone with a heart. She managed to share herself with the world without hiding her real emotions about her own life. Her problems were no different from ours. The only difference was who she was and what she stood for. She wasn't afraid to be affectionate and loving towards others and didn't mind sharing this with the world.
Tragic though her life and death were, don't you think it's worth noting that most people who think of Diana as an icon are from other countries?
I'm sure she had very good qualities, she was very famous and her death was a shock. But I didn't know her and I didn't pretend to either. It must be sad for those who knew her, especially her sons, but lets not all try and get in on it in that excessive and slightly sick way so many people did 3 years ago, ok?
Diana met with an accident and died like many young people who lose their precious lives in such a manner every day. Alas, we don't remember them at all. We don't appreciate their contribution to the society. Why? They come from a poor background and the media do not report the good work they have done. Since I'm from India I know what Mother Teresa did and what the nuns belonging to their congregation have been doing to the less privileged. Do we acknowledge their good work? Diana, it is because you were married to Prince Charles and you were glamorous the media in England and other parts of the world portrayed you as Princess of Compassion.
I am getting a bit fed up with the media reporting that Diana has been largely forgotten by the general public, and would like to know how they have arrived at that conclusion? Must we make regular pilgrimages to Kensington Palace or Althorp in order to grieve or to remember her? I don't think so.
To suggest that Diana should be canonised is absolutely ridiculous! As far as I know, there are no records of her assistance in any miracles - she was a celebrated public figure but certainly not a saint! Her death was tragic in the way that any parent's sudden death is, when they leave behind children. It seems to me that her worst legacy is to have unleashed this public need to jump on the bandwagon of any trajedy, outpouring their 'grief', most recently seen in the case of Sarah Payne.
Cope with her death? For goodness sake can we please move on.
It's time to move on - not forget - just move on.
This isn't news. This is tabloid style hype. We've had enough media-led hysteria. Three years ago the ex-wife of one of the Royal Family died in a car accident because the driver was intoxicated. Very sad for her family -very sad for the charities that she promoted. But please - its not the end of the world! Let it go.
All I've learned is that a photo-opportunitistic, adulterous woman died in a tragic accident and that a lot of people in this country are mugs for hype, propaganda and lies. Then again, that was proved by how many people love Big Brother.
Diana's legacy is a nation that over-reacts to "tragedies" involving people they've never met. The anniversary of her death coincides with the renewal date of my car insurance, so each year I'm reminded of how I couldn't insure my car as brokers were closed "as a mark of respect" - how is it disrespectful to someone's memory to drive around with your car insured?
The late Princess of Wales legacies lie in the charitable work she did. She chose causes close to home and close to our hearts. What is the great pity and insult to her name is the Royal Family's refusal to mention her name and the lack of involvement by her own sons, though I wouldn't be surprised if it has been dictated to them to keep a low profile.
Can we take off the rose tinted spectacles please. In the last few days of her life Diana was being hounded by the tabloid press for being an unfit mother and there was no mass campaign to defend her. Indeed one popular rag had already printed a front page condemning her and Dodi and then changed this to a memorial issue. If you want to mourn someone mourn Mother Theresa who devoted her life to helping the needy. Let Diana's family and friends mourn her.
Whenever I give someone a ride in my car, I advise them to wear the seatbelt, with this
caveat: Princess Diana would still be alive if she had put on her seatbelt! It is sad. But, that is her only legacy!!
Diana was simply an ambitious and cunning woman who used her 'beauty' (I didn't see it) to gain access to the hearts of weak individuals across the world. She died while engaging in an adulterous affair with the son of one of the least likeable men in Britain. Stop making a fuss. It's sad, nothing else.
I will always remember Diana as a very loving and caring person. She showed us how to love and to be love. She opened our eyes that we are all equals. As I look up in the sky and see
the brightest star, I remember her.
As a former photojournalist I have witnessed dozens of similar crashes. My hope is that Diana's death would start some sort of seatbelt awareness activity. If she and Dodi had been wearing theirs they would still be alive. I have no doubts.
Diana has spent much of her time trying to give hope to the homeless, care for the forgotten and, above all, she brought to the attention of the world the dangers of landmine to humanity. We shall live to remember her in our hearts and minds. Diana, you are gone but you are in our thoughts at all timesl
The Princess lived in a 24 hour seven days a week media. To the press she was a commodity. What have they to fill the void, a footballer and a spice girl? Are these our new icons? Rest in peace Diana.
Surely the important thing is what each individual thinks. I still remember her, she died on my daughter's birthday. I bought Elton John's single and I still can't bear to play it. I will always remember her with affection that will never change. I will always remember what the rest of her 'family' did to her. They are my thought and my memories I do not need a memorial for that. However the country does need one. Maybe now the time is right.
I want to know more about how Prince Diana died
The comment from Mark F England, Diana Who! indeed, that's your opinion! She was the BEST! Thank goodness we still have William and Harry
Mother Teresa passed away shortly after Diana. Her death was over-shadowed by Diana's. Mother Teresa was a true saint. Diana may have done good things. She also did a lot of bad things - we all know what they were. If people adopted MT's ideas, rather than Diana's the world would be better for it.
Of course, it is natural and proper that the third anniversary of The Princess's death has not been commemorated in the same way as the first anniversary; but I do not accept that it has been as low-key as some people like to claim. Indeed, there were as many people at Kensington Palace yesterday as there were on the 31st of August last year, if not more. Just because there are not as many flowers left at the palace as at the time of The Princess's death does not mean she has been forgotten.
The reason we can not let go of Princess Diana is that it outwardly appears that evil has triumphed over good. That Charles and Camilla live happily ever after, and the petty Queen can enjoy the spotlight alone. Diana's death conveniently solved all of their problems and now the very people who drove her to her death are enjoying, shaping and rewriting her legacy as it suits them. The British press should call the Royal Family on the character assassination campaign against a Lady who, as the Duchess of York has said, "is no longer here to defend herself."
The world has moved on in the last 3 years, so I'm not really surprised that this anniversary of her death was a low-key affair. What is her legacy? Hmmmm - I'd like to be able to say that the world leaders had agreed to ban the use of land mines - but they haven't. I think the best legacy she could have is for people to show compassion towards those less fortunate than themselves.
In fact she was a great lady. Her social services will live forever and be remembered. May her soul rest in peace.
I always admired Princess Diana for how she used her celebrity status to make people aware of AIDS(groundbreaking at the time) and land mines, to name a couple. However, like any other mother, her most enduring legacy will be her children. The unconditional, limitless love she gave her two sons will carry over for generation upon generation.
Philip Johnson, England
All of you who think Di was great, or a saint...
If any of you would have called her home one evening for a friendly phone chat... do you think that she would have had a second to take your call or return your phone call. Do you think of her as a friend or a fan? (I think Mother Theresa was a saint and a lot more close to people)
Was Di not a 30ish divorced mother of two looking for some thing in other men?
What legacy? After viewing some of the reader's rude and hostile comments about the late Princess of Wales, I am wondering just how many people will remember the good she attempted to achieve. I don't think we need any more "nasty" tell all books or movies. The lady was human and she did the best that she could do. As for Mother Theresa she was a great woman. But remember she did not do her work for fame or fortune. Both of these women were working for the same goals. Let them rest in peace!
AN, London, UK
It is hard to understand or explain why some people are absolutely fascinated. Three years after the death of Princess Diana we feel the need to say something - kind or unkind. Perhaps we saw a reflection of our best and worst selves in her. She remains a hauntingly beautiful person.
I started following Diana when she first was on the seen with Charles. I followed her through her good times and bad. When she was going through her troubles I ached with her during the times. Then it seemed like she was going to have a life on her own. Then, suddenly she is gone! I cried for days, watched and taped what I couldn't watch. During the funeral, I felt I lost a true friend that I only knew. No one around me understood and this made it more difficult. I can't forget the date she died. Just last night I cried tears watching the media coverage on television. For some reason, I can't let go and will never forget August 31st.
Great Britain should be proud of a lady like her, in a time when people just think of their own interests she put other important causes before her needs and her sons. Since she died everyone has forgotten the millions of mines that are hidden underground killing and disabling the poor and needy that need to recover from awful wars, just like in my country.
Steve Stocker, USA
If it wasn't on the news and in the papers, how many people could HONESTLY say that they knew it was the third anniversary of Diana, Dodi and Henri Paul's deaths?
Diana, in her public role, did a lot of good things for the benighted of this world. What I feel really uncomfortable with is this desire to be seen to grieve, not just at the passing of a public figure, but at any incident that is perceived to be tragic. It borders on mass-hysteria. By all means remember Diana and the really tragic Sarah Payne in your prayers, or send a condolence card. Better still, contribute to a charity. That way, you will be doing something positive.
Her legacy seems to have been to make the world forget about Mother Theresa, a truly wonderful woman who's death was tragically overlooked due to the media circus surrounding the so-called "Queen of Hearts".
Those that knew her personally, can remember her and grieve. The rest of us didn't know her, we knew her work, and we knew what type of designer clothes she wore. She had her time and place in history. I would hope we can leave her there, with all the respect to her memory her family and friends deserve, and move on.
Diana was truly a great person. I still remember that sad day when she left us all. I pray for her soul to rest in peace and pay her homage for being so influential for many of us.
The fact that people are still laying flowers and testaments about how much they love and miss her three years after her death, not only speaks volumes on how much she has changed the face of royalty forever, but also how much she is still loved and missed.
Sandra Beasley, United States of America
Let's just put it all behind us. She was a psychologically damaged woman who had the "common touch" - NOT a saint. The British went mad for a week in 1997 and let the genie of collective hysteria out of the bottle. By all means remember her good work but also remember that she did lots of frankly stupid things as well.
Diana was brilliant. She was glamorous, nice-natured, sincere and a good mother. However, I do find it irritating that people use her death anniversary to knock the rest of The Royals. OK, they aren't perfect, but let's show how human WE are by not slagging them off.
Ruth U, UK
Al Fayed is right to continue asking
questions. Leaving aside the more
fanciful conspiracy theories, there
are a number of very serious questions
which the French simply refuse to
address. This, I believe, would have
disgusted Diana as much as it does
everyone else who has their eyes
open. What really happened that
Since the monarchy fills essentially a show business or entertainment function, the death of the princess should be looked upon the same way as any other entertainer who died before their time. However, she really has no more importance than that. I believe that she was a good person who did minor yet unsavoury things thanks to her in-laws.
I must admit that I wouldn't have remembered it was the anniversary of her death if the media hadn't reminded me. However, I do remember Diana as a shining example of what the British monarchy should be evolving into. If William follows Diana's lead, the Monarchy will thrive in the 21st century.
Princess Diana was always the symbol of the UK to me when I was a teenager. I liked her as soon as I saw her picture and heard her story from newspaper. From my point of view, the first important personality of Diana is not her classical beautify but her humanistic character. She will be remembered as deep as people can around the world. In fact, it is hard even to think about the tragic death of the attractive lady.
It struck me that Diana was perhaps somewhat self-centred, mentally unstable, spoiled, and of course, over-privileged. But what do I know, a mere member of the public?
Patricia Brown, England
Diana's legacy to the world should be the lending of a sympathetic ear or the warmth of a caring touch to those around us.
When WILL you let this lie? She didn't do anything that couldn't have been done by any celebrity. Geri Haliwell could do as much.
This is not remotely newsworthy.
Ajit Khokhani, Australia
The growth of the Diana myth shows how society has become. She had many faults and had many social and personal problems which we all know about and I do not want to state for her children's sake.
I loved Diana. I am not embarrassed to say so. I for one wished that the crowds surrounding Buckingham Palace would have stormed the gates and forced a Union Jack up at half-mast if need be, in return for the shabby treatment Diana received after her death.
Tina Modotti, Mexico
When will Diana be left alone to Rest in Peace?
Will nobody think of the woman's children??? They must be going through hell at the moment, and yet nobody mentions them! The children are the most important thing! As I'm sure everyone in the country remembers EVERY SINGLE TIME any mother is killed. Oh, wait, we don't remember. We only care about the rich and famous, and we justify that adulation very badly.
Digby Jones, Britain
Diana was the human, compassionate face of the royal family. She had a knack of being able to relate to the public, unlike the rest of the royal family, and appeared genuinely to care.
The first part of Diana's legacy must be waking up the Royal Family to the fact that
they had to start living in the 21st century with the rest of us. The second is a
future King who will understand 'real' peoples issues.
Her death was untimely and a very sad occurrence, however, time heals all wounds. In a couple of years the next generation who have not been so closely involved with her ongoing and lively appearance, will hardly remember her.
All I remember about her was holding sick children and encouraging the West to ban anti-personnel mines while the likes of Saddam Hussein stockpile them. For me it's not a question of learning to live with her death, even at the time my view was that people (close relatives and associates excluded) should pay their respects if they knew her and then get on with their lives.
Her association and promotion of the HALO trust, a de-mining NGO, offered great hope for a country where 1 in 250 people are amputees. She did as much good for the image of Westerners abroad as exploitative businessmen did to tarnish it.
Anne Dyer, UK
I remember being shocked and saddened at the news of her death, and crying which I have never done for any "public figure" before. The funeral was very moving and I cried again. Three years on I think a royal laying of a wreath or other event is all that is warranted.
We have a sad perpetual need to be part of a fairytale world. Yes her death was tragic and yes for a royal she represented a glimmer of humanity. But let's stop this fixation with the royals (which to say the least is rather dim) and let's focus on what's important.
Although a low-key remembrance of Diana is understandable given her tragic death 3 years ago, we must never forget that the most lasting memorial to her would be a world-wide end to the manufacture and spread of land mines. About 2-3 months after her death most of the leading politicians, including Mr Blair and Bill Clinton expressed outrage at the indiscriminate slaughter of innocent civilians by landmines.
The people who genuinely liked Diana in life will genuinely be thinking of her today. Lots of the people who were grieving for her in the week after her death had no time for her when she was alive and just turned into hypocrites that week.
Andrijana Rudic, United States
I don't think she has left a legacy. Obviously people that actually knew her will remember her in their own way. To the population at large she was just another celebrity doing their bit for charity, all good PR. There were lots of celebrities waiting in the wings to replace her so nothing has really been lost.
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