Monday August 9 12:29 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's royal family will not mark this month's second anniversary of the death of Princess Diana with any special service of commemoration, the Daily Mail reported Monday.
Queen Elizabeth had decided that any royals wishing to mark the day -- Tuesday, August 31 -- could do so privately, said the newspaper, quoting unidentified Buckingham Palace officials.
It said the queen believed a line must be drawn on public displays of grief over Diana.
The queen would be staying at the Balmoral royal estate in Scotland later this month and would say prayers for Diana at a local church service the previous Sunday, the Daily Mail said.
No one was immediately available at Buckingham Palace to comment on the report.
Last year, the queen, Diana's former husband Prince Charles and their two sons Prince William and Prince Harry attended a service at Balmoral to mark the first anniversary.
Diana, divorced from heir-to-the-throne Charles, was killed in a Paris car crash.
Charles, long-time lover Camilla Parker Bowles and his two sons were reported last week to be enjoying their first ''family'' holiday together.
British newspapers, some citing unidentified friends of the royal family for their information, said they were on a yacht cruising the Mediterranean.
Tuesday August 3 9:29 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - A British newspaper launched a campaign Tuesday to honor Princess Diana, saying the ``People's Princess'' was a forgotten figure just two years after her death in a Paris car crash.
``Whether you loved her or hated her, nobody can doubt that when she died Diana was the most mourned woman of modern times,'' said the Daily Mirror in a front-page spread devoted to Diana.
The paper said it was high time the government and Queen Elizabeth honored the princess with a memorial, saying none of London's 286 official statues were devoted to Diana.
``It is almost as if she never existed,'' said the paper. ''If we are not very careful, there is a very serious danger that she will simply disappear from our memories.''
There is little chance of that, with Diana's face frequently plastered over the nation's media, lawyers forever wrangling over the copyright to her name and at least three dozen roses named after her.
A hospital bears her name, as does a nursing group, while a memorial fund set up in her honor has doled out millions of pounds (dollars) to good causes.
Newspapers frequently talk up the physical similarities between Diana and her oldest son, Prince William, and drool over the charisma that mother and son both share.
``We believe a statue is the right way for the country to salute Diana's memory,'' said the paper. ``It should be prominent in a part of London where everyone can freely visit.''
The paper said an announcement should come before the second anniversary of Diana's death, on August 31, in what would be a fitting tribute to her sons, the princes William and Harry.
LONDON - The committee overseeing memorials to Princess Diana announced Wednesday that it has scaled down plans for an elaborate project in Kensington Gardens after angry protests from area residents.
British treasury chief Gordon Brown, the committee's chairman, said the original proposal for an elaborate 2.7-acre site costing $16.5 million had been replaced by a more understated plan involving a smaller garden and memorial walk.
The most significant aspect will be a walkway connecting four of London's great parks - Kensington, Hyde, Green and St. James's - but the walkway no longer will follow Diana's funeral procession route, Brown said.
The parks will be connected in a figure-eight shape, with Hyde Park in the center, allowing people to start and finish the walk however they choose.
''This will be one of the most magnificent urban parkland walks in the world,'' Brown said.
A cost estimate for the new project was not provided.
Residents and local legislators overwhelmingly opposed the original plans centering on Kensington Gardens - located outside the palace where Diana had lived - fearing the damage on the neighborhood by millions of extra visitors expected each year.
Brown said the committee's other main proposals were on track, including a commemorative 5-pound coin (worth about $8) to be released next July 1, which was Diana's birthday.
The other projects are community children's nursing teams, dubbed Diana's Angels, and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Award, to be given to youths ages 11-18 for community service or overcoming personal problems.
Diana died in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31, 1997.
By The Associated Press
The Diana Memorial Garden
The Diana Memorial Garden was the name for the £10 million proposal, now rejected, convert 27 acres around Kensington Palace into a commemorative garden for Princess Diana.
The project was designed around three separate areas - 1, 2 and 3.
Area 1, to the south of the Palace, would have been set aside as an area for quiet contemplation. Thick planting of shrubs and trees will seal the garden off from the noise of Kensington Road, and there would be a commemorative gateway from the high street.
The Round Pond in the centre of Area 2 would have been transformed with a 300ft fountain installed as its centrepiece. This could have been switched off at times to allow traditional uses of the pond such as model boating - a popular activity on weekends. The landscape surrounding the pond would be improved with some new planting and discreet lighting of the new fountain at night.
The large gardens to the north of the Palace in Area 3 were set aside for dividing into smaller areas with an informal atmosphere. A playground replacing an existing tarmac area, a 'secret garden' for children. Other ideas include a garden for the blind with highly scented flowers, herbs, shrubs, fountains, ponds and statues.
The whole site was to be themed with colours, plants and flowers to reflect the tastes of the princess with a strong emphasis on wildlife, wild flowers and ecology.
A final component of the Park was the creation of a memorial walk through the Royal Parks. The route would link Kensington Palace and St James's Palace, where her body lay before the funeral.
The scheme aroused opposition from the outset, notably from Kensington residents who were almost imprisoned in their homes by the crowds who flocked to the area after Diana's death. They feared that a memorial garden would bring throngs of sightseers and make an already congested part of London even worse. It was these protests that led Gordon Brown's Diana Memorial Committee to scrap the plans in October and consider a scaled down memorial, details of which have yet to be decided.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd., 10 August 1998
After extensive research, the christening gown worn by Lady Diana Spencer at her baptism in Sandringham Church when she was a month old was located in Norwich. The white cotton lawn dress was among 15,000 outfits held in storage for the last two years at Norfolk's Costume and Textile Study Centre.
The embroidered 19th century petticoat and three-foot long dress had been lent to her grandfather, the 7th Earl Spencer, for a display, but when Diana's mother saw it she much preferred it to the Spencer Family robe and insisted that her daughter be christened in the elaborate gown.
Two of the bridesmaid's dresses have been secured - one was purchased via an auction house and the other has been loaned to the Althorp Exhibition. They belonged to the eldest and the youngest bridesmaids. Elizabeth and David Emmanuel designed the dresses, like Diana's wedding gown.
Two musical manuscripts give a unique insight into Candle in the Wind '97. Sir Elton John recorded his special version just one hour after he had sung at Westminster Abbey whilst Sir George Martin hastily wrote the score for the musicians. Candle in the Wind '97 became the biggest selling single of all time, with sales of more than 33 million copies, worldwide.
The hand written manuscript with the revised words are personalised by Bernie Taupin and indicate that he wrote a first and second version of this song. The manuscript has been kindly loaned to Althorp by the Lund Foundation; a charitable organisation set up by Walt Disney's daughter.
Tuesday August 17 10:26 AM ET
PARIS (AP) - France's state prosecutor's office said Tuesday it found no evidence to prove that chasing photographers were directly responsible for the car crash that killed Princess Diana.
The prosecutor's office said it sent a recommendation to investigating Judge Herve Stephan that charges be dismissed against the nine photographers and a press motorcyclist implicated in the crash.
The investigation did not establish ``direct cause and effect'' between the photographers and the loss of control of the vehicle, which appears to be the ``decisive cause of the accident,'' the prosecutor's office said.
It added that ``no charges likely to form the basis of criminal proceedings resulted from the meticulous and very comprehensive investigations that were carried out.''
Judicial sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, had told The Associated Press on Monday that the prosecutor had recommended dismissing the charges against the 10 suspects.
The photographers and the motorcyclist were placed under investigation shortly after the Aug. 31, 1997, crash that killed Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul. Only bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones survived.
The suspects had been placed under formal investigation, which in France is one step short of being formally charged, for manslaughter and failing to assist people in danger.
The prosecutor's office said nothing indicated that any of the 10 who reached the scene shortly after the accident were guilty of not helping the princess and the other passengers.
Stephan handed the case to the state prosecutor earlier this summer for a recommendation on whether to bring charges. The judge is not obliged to follow the advice.
He is expected to announce soon the end of the two-year investigation. He will then determine whether to proceed with charges against the 10 suspects.
Dodi criticized in Diana crash
French judge says companion overreacted to paparazziMSNBC
LONDON, Aug. 24 — Dodi Fayed, who died at Princess Diana’s side in a high-speed Paris car accident two years ago, will be criticized for his role in her death by an official inquiry, a London newspaper reported Tuesday. Fayed’s “disproportionate reaction” to the paparazzi photographers following Diana is partially responsible for her death, according to a leaked brief by the French judge investigating the accident.
took an active part in security arrangements — he was the boss.’
— TREVOR REES-JONES
SIX OF THE 24 pages of the Paris public prosecutor’s brief are devoted to Fayed’s role in the crash, The Guardian newspaper of London reported.
Fayed and the driver of Diana’s car, Ritz hotel employee Henri Paul, were both killed instantly in the crash on Aug. 31, 1997. The princess died a short while later in a Paris hospital, where her bodyguard later recovered from extensive injuries.
to The Guardian, the report alleges that millionaire playboy Fayed took
complete control of Diana’s security arrangements that night, overruling
several individuals who tried to intervene. Fayed’s father, Mohamad Al
Fayed, is the owner of the Ritz. Blood tests later showed that driver Paul
had a blood-alcohol content over three times the legal limit.
ON FAYED’S ORDER
Fayed first ordered Paul to drive, despite reports that he had been seen drinking in the Ritz bar earlier in the evening. Fayed also summoned the night manager and ordered him to arrange for a second “decoy” limousine to pick up the couple in the back of the hotel.
“Dodi took an active part in security arrangements — he was the boss,” Trevor Rees-Jones, Diana’s personal body guard was quoted as saying in the report. Rees-Jones is suing the Ritz for damages after suffering debilitating injuries in the crash. Allegations of Fayed’s own role in the crash could lead to other lawsuits filed against his father’s hotel.
The report described Fayed’s attempts to evade paparazzi outside the hotel as “disproportionate” since there was no evidence of systematic harassment by the gaggle of photographers, The Guardian reported. Fayed also reportedly ignored the advise of the company that rented him the second decoy Mercedes.
POWERLESS TO ACT
Jean-Francois Musa, the manager of the Etoile Limousine company, said he tried to point out to Fayed that Paul did not possess the appropriate license to drive the car. “I did not have the power to refuse,” Musa was quoted as telling Judge Herve Stéphan, who has led the investigation into the car accident for nearly two years. Musa said he had offered one of his own qualified drivers, but Fayed insisted on Paul, a long-time Ritz employee.
“Don’t try to follow,
you will never catch us,” Paul reportedly told photographers as he sped
off from the hotel.
According to the report, the prosecutor is not recommending manslaughter charges be brought against the nine photographers who followed the princess’s car, citing the direct cause of the accident as excessive speed, drink, poor control of the car and a collision with a Fiat Uno, which has never been traced.
The report also said that both Fayed and Diana could have survived the crash had they been wearing seatbelts.
Kensington Palace was Princess Diana's headquarters both during her marriage and after it. Before she and Prince Charles divorced, he loved nothing more than retreating to Highgrove, his Gloucestershire estate, or spending the summer at Balmoral in Scotland. Diana, every inch a London girl, hated both places and took every opportunity to stay at KP, as it is often known.
Even so, it was not a place of great happiness for her. She often spent lonely hours there while her sons were at school or with their father, and she felt under siege by the paparazzi hanging round the gates.
Kensington Palace is easy to find, dominating Kensington Gardens, and parts of it can be visited. The Prince and Princess moved into Apartment 8-9 after they married. The 25-room apartment was known as the Granville because the Dowager Countess of Granville lived there from 1891 until her death in 1938 and had been derelict for 40 years. It includes four reception rooms, a dining room, master bedroom suite, two guest bedrooms and a nursery.
After the divorce Charles moved to St James's Palace while KP remained the Princess's home. Photographs of her sons Prince William and Prince Harry adorned every surface and the place was always awash with arrangements of fresh flowers.
This was the place to be certain of spotting the Princess. It was not uncommon to see her drive out of the side gates, often pursued by photographers, or see the young Prince William and Prince Harry playing in Kensington Gardens, their bodyguards close by.
In the days after Princess Diana's death Kensington Palace became the focus of the nation's grief, with thousands upon thousands of flowers laid at the gates, and there are now plans to turn much of its surrounding parkland into a permanent memorial garden.
The apartment has now been emptied and stripped of all furnishings, right down to the light fittings. Before the clear-out, William and Harry collected a number of mementos to take to their new home in St James's Palace, where they now spend their school holidays with Prince Charles. Among these treasured items were family photos and their mother's collection of porcelain ornaments. They also took a Prince of Wales feathers design carpet and a wide-screen TV that Diana gave them.
The apartment will remain empty for the foreseeable future but her basement offices are likely to pass to the Duchess of Kent, who lives in the Palace's Wren House. Prince and Princess Michael of Kent are expected to be given use of the Princess's walled garden, a retreat she was reported to cherish. Prince Michael's apartment is directly opposite with the Orangery behind.
Other apartments at the palace are currently occupied by the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester and the Duke and Duchess of Kent.
Plans are currently underway to create a Diana Memorial Garden in the grounds of the palace.
The palace has long royal connections. It was Mary II who established the link, when she bought the then Kensington House for £18,000 in 1689, hoping the clean air away from central London would help her husband William's asthma. The house was enlarged by Sir Christopher Wren and Queen Anne added the Orangery, where the public can now enjoy morning coffee and afternoon tea after visiting the state apartments. Queen Victoria was born at Kensington Palace and spent her childhood there. Edward VIII nicknamed it the 'Aunt heap' because of the number of royal relatives living there. During the war, Kensington Palace was badly damaged by bombs.It remained derelict until 1975.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd., 27 July 1998