The death of Princess Diana is a moment that shook the world. As the news spread to all four corners of the globe, the world came together and stood in solidarity, mourning one of the most beloved members of the Royal Family. However, a common question surrounding her funeral was whether or not it was an open casket.
Princess Diana did not have an open-casket funeral. Since she died in a car accident and was subject to an autopsy, the chances are that nobody would have wanted the princess to have been remembered in such a way, thus keeping the casket closed.
Today, we’re going to dive into the events that led up to Princess Diana’s funeral, what happened on the day, and other unusual news surrounding this tragic day.
The Moment Everything Changed
Princess Diana passed away on the 31st August 1997 during a car crash incident in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel near the center of Paris. The car contained the driver, Henri Paul, Princess Diana, her friend Dodi Fayed, and her bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones. The story is a heartbreaking one.
The tale goes that Princess Diana and her assemblage were leaving the Hotel Ritz Paris where they were swarmed by paparazzi. Trying to avoid harassment, the group bundled into the car and drove off at high speeds trying to get away. A press motorcycle even took off in pursuit of Diana’s vehicle.
This is where the car accident occurred.
While Dodi was pronounced dead at the scene, Henri and Diana were taken to the nearest hospital but died as well. Trevor, Diana’s bodyguard, was the only person to survive. The bodies of the victims were sent back to their home country, and many wept for the tragedy of such a beloved public figure.
However, many believe there is more to this than meets the eye.
While paparazzi members were arrested in relation to causing the accident but were later officially cleared of manslaughter charges, the courts stated there was insufficient evidence to prove they were involved.
Instead, the day after the accident itself occurred, and autopsies were carried out on all those involved, and it was discovered that the driver, Henri Paul, was three times over the drink-drive limit and had a blood carbon dioxide level of 20.7% when he died.
It was concluded that he was very drunk, as well as being under the influence of prescription drugs, and these facts were the leading cause of what causes the car accident. However, there are plenty of conversations happening about how the entire event was shrouded in suspicion.
The Day the World Wept
Several days after the accident, on September 5th, 1997, the funeral was held for Princess Diana in Westminster Abbey. Public figures from all over the world sent their tributes, thousands turned up in London for the funeral itself, and millions of people tuned in to the televised funeral from all over the world.
In the UK itself, over 32.1 million viewers tuned in, making it one of the most-watched televised events in UK history.
Interestingly, there were endless figures that changed as a result. The UK National Electricity Grid soared as it was predicted everybody was turning on their television sets and putting the kettle on at the same time. It was recorded that church attendances rose on the day of the funeral, as did calls to suicide hotlines.
Elton John also rewrote his song Candle in the Wind, renaming it ‘Candle in the Wind 1997’, and performed it live at the funeral event. This is the only time the song has ever been played live.
Princess Diana was dressed in a long-black sleeve dress that had been designed by Catherine Walker, of which Diana had chosen and picked out herself several weeks prior. Speeches were given by older members of the Royal Family, and Diana was buried on an island within Althorp Park.
A Lasting Legacy
There’s still no denying that the ripple of Princess Diana’s legacy still echoes out around the world to this day. Anniversary ceremonies are held each and every year, usually marked by a television special that highlights what happened on the day and what has been known since.
The legacy of Diana still inspires endless people. Her work with LGBT+ communities almost certainly laid many of the foundations that have promoted positive change for affected people living with AIDS and such to this day. She also carried out a lot of work with people suffering from poverty and sickness.
There’s no doubt that Princess Diana was beloved, and always will be for the light she shined into this sometimes dark world. Her candle will always shine bright in our memories, and we speak for everyone when we say she was a gift to this world.