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Diana Sunday, 1 March, 1998, 15:23 GMT
The grief of millions
The death of Diana, Princess of Wales, created an unprecedented outpouring of public grief. Across the United Kingdom, people spontaneously set up impromptu memorials. Tens of thousands of mourners came to Kensington Palace, Diana's official residence in London, to lay flowers, share their sadness, sign the books of condolence.

Mourning for Diana
Mourning for Diana
This public mourning was genuine, emotional and heartfelt - and at odds with the perception many foreigners had of the British, as being cold and always keeping a stiff upper lip.

When Diana was laid to rest, the country came to a standstill to pay its respects. Many shops and leisure facilities remained closed until the funeral service ended, sports fixtures were postponed and silent tributes were observed in public places across the UK.

The funeral route her cortege was supposed to take had to be extended, to accommodate the sheer numbers of people who wanted to say farewell to the Princess.

The World paid tribute

The shock and emotion were echoed around the world. In British embassies and consulates long queues formed to sign books of condolence. The media coverage seemed to be all encompassing, the public interest was intense.

On the Internet, traffic skyrocketed as web users tried to get the latest information on Diana and the circumstances of her death. The website of the Royal Family, and others like the BBC's Diana site, were inundated with e-mail messages of condolence.

Althorp Park, Diana's final resting place
Althorp Park, Diana's final resting place
Six months on...

Half a year later, her memory lives on. Althorp Park, Diana's family home and final resting place, is bracing itself for a large and steady stream of people who want to pay their respects and see the island were the Princess has been buried.

The estate will be open to the public on July 1, Diana's birthday. Four days earlier, Althorp Park will be the venue for a large memorial concert, organised by her brother, Earl Spencer.

Meanwhile, companies producing souvenirs commemorating the Princess are doing brisk business. When Britain's Royal Mail issued a set of stamps celebrating the life of Diana, tens of millions of the new stamps were sold on their first day of release.

And 'Candle in the Wind', Elton John's tribute song to Diana, which he performed at her funeral in Westminster Abbey, has become the best-selling single of all time.

The public, both in Britain and abroad, is still treasuring the Princess's memory, and is still curious about her fate: Despite all the criticism of the media for their behaviour during the weeks before Diana died, newspapers and magazines publishing pictures of the Princess on their front pages can count on a boost in their sales figures.

BBC News special report online:
Death of a Princess: Six months on...

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