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Sunday, August 30, 1998 Published at 23:07 GMT 00:07 UK


Prayers for Diana

Flowers threaded into the gates of Buckingham Palace last year

The royal family and the prime minister have attended church together on the eve of the anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

As people all across Britain prepare to commemorate her death, Sunday morning saw senior royals with Tony Blair and his wife Cherie at Crathie Church, close to the Queen's Balmoral estate in Scotland.

Although the princess was not specifically mentioned during the service, Rev Robert Sloan said: "Hear our prayers for those grieving the loss of a loved one in circumstances known to the world but only experienced by a few."

Prince William, 16, and Prince Harry, 13, sat on either side of their father in the front pew with the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the 98-year-old Queen Mother, as they listened to the local vicar's words.

[ image: The Queen arrives at Cathrie Church on Sunday morning]
The Queen arrives at Cathrie Church on Sunday morning
The young princes arrived in a 'people carrier' accompanied by Prince Edward and the Princess Royal, her husband and children.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in a Daimler limousine accompanied by the Duke of York and his daughters Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice.

The Queen Mother and the Prince of Wales arrived in a second Daimler.

The BBC's Jennie Bond: "Crowds are converging to remember her"
The Blairs were the first to arrive and waved to the crowd of around 400 people who had gathered to greet the royal party.

Mr Blair went to Balmoral on Saturday for meetings with the Queen.

Both the royals and the Blairs will return to the church for private prayers on Monday, the anniversary of Diana's death.

[ image: Earl Spencer: grateful for support]
Earl Spencer: grateful for support
Earl speaks of 'turbulent year'

Earl Spencer spoke of the debt of gratitude he feels for people's support in the past year when he addressed members of Northamptonshire County Cricket Club.

"My family today would want me to thank you for your support over the past turbulent year," he said.

"We were all very touched for your gestures of solidarity and calling off your fixture in the immediate aftermath of my sister's death 12 months ago."

Mourners arrive in London

In London, mourners from around the globe have arrived to lay flowers, poems and toys outside the princess's former home, Kensington Palace.

Although the tributes cannot compete in volume with those left in the immediate aftermath of the fatal car crash, many say they still feel emotional about the anniversary.

[ image: Flowers are being laid again - but the mood is more subdued]
Flowers are being laid again - but the mood is more subdued
Mother and daughter Sheila and Amy Lanza, from Welwyn Garden City, in Hertfordshire, came to the palace early to avoid the crowds on Monday.

"It was Amy's idea," said mother Sheila, 28. "She was only five when Diana died but loved watching her on the television."

Amy, now aged six, explained her love for the princess stemmed from "her really pretty dresses".

The BBC's Gareth Jones reports on how the royal family will spend the anniversary
Others have travelled from as far afield as New Zealand and America.

Two brothers from Munich, Thomas Buettner, 36, and Oliver, 27, laid red roses at the gates. "There is a special feeling today but no logical reason behind it," they said.

[ image: The Royal Family will be joined by the Blairs at Crathie church, near Balmoral]
The Royal Family will be joined by the Blairs at Crathie church, near Balmoral
But not everyone appreciated the displays of grief, even though they are somewhat muted compared with those seen 12 months ago.

A 70-year-old woman from London said: "It's ghoulish. Look at all these flowers - how many of these people last visited their own dead relatives to put flowers on their graves?"

The woman, who was afraid to be named because her opinion was "different than most other people's", added: "Look at the starving in Uganda, shouldn't they be spending their money on those people instead?"

Low-key commemorations

[ image: Flanked by the Princes last year - but her brother Earl Spencer will not be with them for the anniversary]
Flanked by the Princes last year - but her brother Earl Spencer will not be with them for the anniversary
The Queen has called for low-key commemorations to mark the anniversary.

Flags are being flown at half mast and the princess's sons, William, 16, and Harry, 13, will spend the weekend at Balmoral with their father.

At Althorp, the princess's childhood home where she has been laid to rest on an island, the Spencers will hold a private service in the grounds.

[ image: The ticket-holding public's last chance to visit Althorp is on Sunday]
The ticket-holding public's last chance to visit Althorp is on Sunday
Sunday is the last day for the public to visit Diana's grave at the Spencer family home in Northamptonshire,

A service in memory of Diana has been held in Westminster Cathedral. Catholic cathedral remained open on Sunday until 11pm for private prayer and reflection.

Fayed to attend private memorial

Mohamed al-Fayed, whose son Dodi died in the same crash as the Princess, will attend a private memorial service at his tomb in the grounds of the family home at Oxted, Surrey.

Later Mr al-Fayed will go to Harrods to be with members of staff and to thank customers for their kindness and condolences.

A permanent memorial to the couple will be unveiled at the store to replace the shrine set up temporarily a year ago.

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