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Princess Diana's Funeral

Half the People in the World Were Watching


Princess Of Wales' Coffin

Princess Diana's coffin carried from Westminster Abbey after the funeral service.

Hulton Archive / Getty Images

The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales, on September 6, 1997, attracted worldwide attention. On the four-mile journey from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey, Diana's casket, itself rather simple, was followed by her sons, her brother, her ex-husband Prince Charles, her ex-father-in-law Prince Philip, and five representatives from each of 110 charities Diana had supported.

The service was attended by celebrities and political figures. Diana's two sisters spoke at the service, and her brother, Lord Spencer, delivered an address that praised Diana and blamed the media for her death.

An estimated 2.5 billion watched the funeral on television -- about half the people on earth. Over a million in person watched the procession of the funeral cortege, or the journey to her private burial.

Elton John -- whom Diana had comforted at Gianni Versace's funeral less than six weeks earlier -- adapted his song about Marilyn Monroe's death, "Candle in the Wind," retitling it "Goodbye, England's Rose." Within two months, the new version had become the best-selling song of all time, with proceeds going to some of Diana's favorite charitable causes.

In one odd irony, Mother Teresa -- whose work Diana admired and whom Diana had met several times -- died on September 6, and the news of that death was nearly pushed out of the news by the coverage of Diana's funeral.

Diana, Princess of Wales, was laid to rest at Althorp, the Spencer estate, on an island in a lake. The burial ceremony was private.

After the Funeral

Mohammed al-Fayed, father of Diana's companion "Dodi" Fayed (Emad Mohammed al-Fayed), claimed a conspiracy by the British secret service to murder the couple, supposedly to save the royal family from scandal.

Investigations by French authorities found that the driver of the car had far too much alcohol and was driving too fast, and while criticizing the photographers who were chasing the car, did not find them criminally liable.

Later British investigations found similar results; one investigation is still on-going at this writing.

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