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1997: Diana's funeral watched by millions

VIDEO : Diana's funeral cortege passes through a motorway lined with people

Britain and the world have said farewell to Diana, Princess of Wales, at the end of an unprecedented week of mourning.

A four mile procession brought her coffin to Westminster Abbey, where politicians and celebrities joined the Royal Family in a subdued congregation.

Over a million people lined the route of the funeral cortege to the abbey and along her final journey to the Spencer family home in Northamptonshire.

The day began at 0908 BST, when the coffin left Kensington Palace on a gun carriage.

Some of the crowd wept, some applauded quietly, but most watched in silence.

On top of the coffin was a poignant reminder that this woman loved by millions was also a mother - a card to "Mummy" from one of her sons.

The two princes, William and Harry, joined their father, grandfather and the princess's brother walking behind the coffin.


"She was the very essence of compassion"

Earl Spencer

Other members of the Royal Family watched the funeral cortege pass from the gates of Buckingham Palace.

The union jack on top of the palace was lowered to half mast for the first time ever.

Both Diana's sisters read tributes to her at the funeral service and Elton John played his re-worked version of Candle in the Wind.

Her brother, Lord Spencer, made a funeral address in which he described as Diana the "very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty".

He used the speech to blame the media for her death, calling her the "most hunted person of the modern age".

The grieving earl also pledged to protect William and Harry and prevent them suffering a similar fate.

The sometimes controversial oration was greeted with spontaneous applause.

A very public day of mourning ended with a private ceremony when Diana was finally buried on an island in the heart of her family estate at Althorp.

In Context
Diana's death resulted in an outpouring of grief never before seen in the UK.

It was estimated that a total of 2.5 billion people watched the princess's funeral, a testament to her global celebrity.

Her image remained as iconic in death as it had been in life, and within weeks of her funeral there was worldwide demand for memorabilia of the princess.

The French authorities concluded their investigation into the crash two years later.

It found the driver, Henri Paul, to be three times over the drink-drive limit and breaking the speed limit.

The photographers chasing the car were severely criticised for their behaviour, but no criminal action was taken against them.

An inquest into the princess's death was opened in the UK in 2004. It has been adjourned while the Metropolitan police carry out an investigation into the crash.


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