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Last Updated: Friday, 31 August 2007, 00:51 GMT 01:51 UK
'It was such a sad, sombre time'
Princess Diana
Princess Diana died in a car crash on 31 August 1997

Ten years ago the sudden death of Princess Diana provoked a nationwide outpouring of grief on an unprecedented scale.

Here, some of those who were deeply affected describe how they marked her passing and paid their respects.


I remember the day of Diana's funeral clearly.

A group of us from the coastguard got together on Brixham harbour outside the coastguard station.

The Brixham coastguard mark Diana's death
Kevin Hird was among coastguard staff who set off a flare

There was a national two-minute silence at 11 o'clock, and we set off a maroon (flare) at the start and end of it.

They are like big bangers that shoot 800ft (243m) into the air. We don't use them any more. They date back to the time when we used to call out teams using sound signals.

You could hear the bang echo right across the region. We stood in formation in silence for the two minutes.

It was very sad and very sombre. We had a couple of ladies with us in the line-up and they shed a tear or two.


It was morning in Singapore when we heard about the accident involving Princess Diana.

We had visitors for lunch at home, but they ended up staying all day, watching TV with us as the tragedy of her death unfolded.

We were shocked and saddened that a life so young and so well accepted globally should be lost.

Anyta Mukerjea
Anyta Mukerjea queued for five hours to sign a condolence book

When the condolence book was opened at the British High Commission, the queue snaked all the way from the room where the book was kept on the first floor almost to the gate itself.

People of all nationalities stood quietly or chatted in hushed tones until it was their turn to sign the book.

Singapore students in uniform came by after class to do the same. Condolence flowers were left by many who came to pay their respects.

An English friend Frederika, who I was on a course with, and I waited for almost five hours. We took our own floral offerings of condolence.


The kite festival that year was the weekend after Diana's death. We didn't want to cancel it, but we wanted to pay our respects.

One of the things they do in other countries, like Colombia, is fly big tissue paper kites to honour the dead.

Martin Lester
Martin Lester built and flew a black kite on the funeral day

We thought this would be a fitting thing to do for Diana and we did our own version of it.

I made a very simple black kite and we flew it at the opening of the festival and during the two-minute silence being held nationally on that day.

All the kites came down and it was the only one flying. It was a triangular kite, which can fly in all wind speeds, and it was about 10ft (3m), with a long, black rope tail.

People were appreciative of what we'd done. I'm a big believer that life should be celebrated and I think what we did was fitting.


I remember being woken by a telephone call from the BBC asking for my reaction to what had happened. They broke the news of Diana's death to me.

From then it snowballed. We set up a small book of remembrance in the cathedral, but it quickly became apparent that it was by far inadequate.

Canon Paul Denby
Canon Paul Denby saw thousands visit Manchester Cathedral

People just kept coming and coming. In the end they had lit 35,000 candles, or votive lights, for the princess.

They were all over the cathedral. The stand for the book of remembrance was multiplied 30 or 40 times and we ended up setting up a sort of arena.

It was as if people had lost a friend or relative. People had never met this woman and yet she became so important to each and every one of them.

It all culminated in a service at the cathedral which was jam-packed. People from societies she was involved with gave small addresses and we played Elton John's Candle in the Wind at a reflective point.

It was an interesting time for me to see so many people touched by one person.


I man my shop 365 days a year usually. It's right opposite Windsor Castle.

But on the day of Diana's funeral I closed as a mark of respect. The reaction afterwards was unbelievable.

People just wanted to buy things to remember Diana by. I had about 200 postcards with Diana on them and they sold out within three or four hours after I reopened.

I had spoons with Diana's face on them and key-rings. Almost everything went. People were very, very sad.

She was such a great person and to lose her was devastating. Even to this day of all the royals she is the best seller.

I've seen people come into the shop, start talking about Diana and then end up crying.


I was working in Croydon at the time. I remember it clearly. I took my daughter down to watch Teletubbies but it wasn't on because they were announcing Diana had died.

I remember shouting, 'Oh my God she's dead.' My husband came charging in. I felt I had to go up to Buckingham Palace.

I took my daughter Francesca, who was three, and we went up to the palace, walking through St James's Park.

My recollection is that people were so quiet. They were walking round in a daze. I bought some daffodils and told Francesca to put them against the palace wall.

There were no others outside there. So they really were the first. I can't explain why I wanted to go. I just thought I had to.

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