BACK to Blog Posts

Lady Di
August 31st, 2007

The Tenth Anniversary of the tragic death of Princess Diana has me thinking of my own memories.

Pat and I were in Spain when the accident happened and then were in England during the funeral. The grief and shock were evident on the streets of London in a way not seen since the days of Lord Nelson. People queued up in long lines to sign condolence books and lay flowers. It was not planned, it all came about spontaneously because the people wanted it that way. Originally, the Palace announced there would be no big state funeral, but just a quick private service. Then, slowly, the event grew to major proportions, each day you saw another shop announce they would close the day of the funeral- Harrods, Selfridges, Tesco, Wembly and the British Soccer Confederation announced no football matches that day, and then no horseracing. By weds it was finally made an official state holiday..

One evening after a night in Soho my animation friends and I went down to where the coffin was lying in state in a small chapel off St.James. Near midnight, in a cool summer drizzle there were people as far as your eyes could see lined up and down the Strand waiting their turn to pay their respects. Harrods' provided mobile kitchens to pass out tea and donuts for free.

The day of the funeral the silence of the hundreds of thousands was palpable. Despite the crowd being six deep pressing against the barriers you could hear the leaves rustling in the wind and the heavy clop of the Horse Guards drawing the caisson bearing the coffin.

My favorite anecdote was not even mine. I was once talking to Disney animator Mark Henn when I was visiting the Orlando Studio. He said Princess Di and her two boys had come in for a tour the previous week. While she walked among the animation desks politely listening to the details of production, the princes ran up and down the aisles playing tag with each other “ Got ya last!” He said he was struck by the wonderful normalcy of it all. Di didn’t look like a Royal or a Society superstar then, she was just another mom at Disneyland with two out of control young boys.

I think that’s a nice way to keep her in mind.