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London Last August I took several months to plan my first trip to Britain. I was enjoying the Lake District on August 30 and met some folks from Manchester at the hostel that evening. The next morning, I did not need much time to wonder why everyone had such stunned looks on their faces. They simply told me "Princess Diana is dead..."

At this point I realised my plans would be altered, but did not know how. After visiting Edinburgh, I arrived in London on Friday, 5 September.

As it turned out, I decided not to stay in a hotel and camped out on the street at Hyde Park Corner. Thus, my first night in London was nothing like I'd ever imagined. I was getting to know Brits from quite a different perspective. I enjoyed meeting those around me and chatting with the bobbies guarding the fence line.

Of course, it was unforgettable watching the procession go through Wellington arch - a sight I was told was unprecedented. That is, in the past, only sovereign processionals had ever gone through the arch. I then observed the funeral itself from Hyde Park and was quite moved.

I will always remember being in London at that time - a singular moment in history. Some of the emotion, I'd just as soon forget.

The change in mood was quite noticeable in London right after the funeral as the gravity of the Diana's death was finally realised. It was a strange experience riding on the bus and seeing folks suddenly burst into tears, and seeing this ultimate of cities virtually shut down for nearly a day.

My knowledge of Princess Diana's life had been rather minimal, as information about her in the US was rarely seen in the news outside the tabloid press. I think that's unfortunate given her philanthropy and involvement in world events.

Jim Longwill
Portland, Oregon USA

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