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Sunday, June 28, 1998 Published at 02:38 GMT 03:38 UK


Entertainment

Thousands in party tribute to Diana

Althorp Park hosted the tribute concert

A party atmosphere replaced the rain and frustration over traffic queues for the Diana, Princess of Wales commemorative concert.


Sir Cliff Richard: she touched all our hearts
When the concert began at Althorp Park, Northants - Diana's family home and final resting place - traffic was still queuing for six miles.

In the grounds, people had waited for hours in the rain to hear some of her favourite classical and pop music.

Around 15,000 people gathered for the concert in aid of the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

The concert had attracted criticism, including over the price of tickets - £39.50 each. Phil Collins, who did not appear, said: "She was a princess of the people. It would have been nice if they'd had a ticket price for the people."

But the performers put any criticism behind them.

Before singing his hit Lady in Red, Chris de Burgh said: "What an honour it is for me to be here on this exceptional night to celebrate the life of an extraordinary woman."


[ image: Sir Cliff: Diana struck a chord]
Sir Cliff: Diana struck a chord
Sir Cliff Richard, who headlined the event, said: "This is our first opportunity to pay tribute to a wonderful, compassionate woman.

"She struck a chord in all our hearts.

"I would like to think we have found a true icon and if we can keep it alive a lot of people will be helped by money raised in her name."

Baywatch actor David Hasselhoff, who also sang, said: "I was very flattered. I have been on a super high since I was asked.

"She brought the whole world together.


[ image: A fan shows his devotion]
A fan shows his devotion
"She used her celebrity status in a positve way."

Simon Le Bon, whose band Duran Duran played Rio, said: "She was a party girl and that was our ultimate fun song."

Diana's brother Earl Spencer wrote in the concert programme: "My family and I are delighted that we can host a concert at Althorp to celebrate her life, in the most fitting of ways.

"She would be thrilled at the variety of performers assembled here today, reflecting her own eclectic taste, just as I know she would be touched that so many of you have come here to join in a concert that will raise substantial sums for her memorial fund."


[ image: Singing along with the stars]
Singing along with the stars
The full line-up of stars taking part in the concert was as follows: Andrea Quinn, the BBC Concert Orchestra, the Chicken Shed Theatre Company, Chris de Burgh, David Hasselhoff, Edward Higginbottom, Jasper Carrott, Jimmy Ruffin, Julian Lloyd Webber, Lawrence Gowan, Lesley Garrett, the Lighthouse Family, Maxim Vengerov, Miriam Stockley, Peter Robinson, The Royal Academy of Music, Sir Cliff Richard, the College of New College, Oxford, the Soweto String Quartet, T'Pau, Vincenzo la Scola.

Highlights of the concert will be shown on BBC One on Wednesday evening.

Four days after the concert, at the beginning of July, Althorp will be opened to visitors wishing to pay their respects to Princess Diana and those wanting a look around the house and gardens.

The stable block has been newly converted to house an exhibition of Diana's life and works.

Visitors must apply in advance, by phone, for permission to enter the grounds, and pay £9.50 for each adult or £7 for senior citizens and £5 for children.

They close again on August 30th - the anniversary of her death on the following day will be a private, family day.





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BBC's Diana tribute Website

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