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Remembering Diana: The Princess of Wales's 24th Death Anniversary

It's been 24 years since the car crash in Paris that took the life of Diana, Princess of Wales. And yet, her memories live on. 

People across the world, whose lives had been touched by the princess, continue to celebrate her legacy, influence, compassion, kindness, and glamour. 

The Prince and Princess of Wales and their sons, Princes William and Harry

Though 24 years have been passed since her untimely demise, those who adored her still look up to her as an icon of beauty and elegance.

She was royalty's brightest star and even after she was gone, her memories continue to fascinate and captivate the public.

The car accident in France

Diana, who was stripped of her HRH (her royal highness) title in August 1996 when her divorce to Prince Charles was finalized, settled for Diana, Princess of Wales. Nonetheless, she continued to shine like a royal princess.

Diana, Princess of Wales 1961-1997

On August 31, 1997, in Paris, France, she was at the backseat of the car of Dodi Al-Fayed, when the paparazzi in motorcycle made a short cut in the tunnel, blinding Dodi's driver. He lost control and the car bumped on the tunnel, completely wrecked.

Prince Charles, Princes William and Harry, viewing flowers outside Kensington Palace following Diana's death in 1997

Dodi and the driver died on the scene while the Princess of Wales and the bodyguard were brought to the hospital. 

The doctors frantically revived her until she lost consciousness. She did not recover and died in the early morning of August 31. Dodi's bodyguard, however, survived.

The saddest walk at Princess Diana's funeral. 
From left: Prince Philip, Prince William, the 9th Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and the Prince of Wales

The news of her death shocked the world and the outpouring of grief and sympathies soon followed. It was hard to imagine, the princess, who was so loved by the public, sympathizing on her loneliness brought by her sad marriage, suddenly gone.

Final Resting Palace

Diana was laid to rest on September 6, 1997 at her childhood home in Althorp, the Spencer family's estate in Norfolk, England.

Diana's final resting place in Althorp

She was originally supposed to be buried at the Spencer family's vault at the local church in Great Brington, however, due to worries of intruders, it was decided by her brother to bury her at their family estate.

The lake grave was eventually chosen to keep the remains of Diana safe from "ghouls" or those who may want to rob her body.

Diana's memorial in the Oval Lake at Althorp estate

Earl Spencer said in 1998 that the lake would act as a buffer against interventions and intruders and those curious individuals.

Her final resting place is located in a tranquil island in the middle of a lake in Althorp, surrounded by lush greenery, manicured lawn and scenic landscape.

The Althorp mansion, Princess Diana's childhood stately home

Her only brother, Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer of Althorp, said it's the safest place for Diana to be rested, away from intruders.

Prince William and Prince Harry regularly visited the gravesite while Diana's fans have a chance to visit the area every summer.

To mark her memory, the Earl Spencer planted 36 Oak Trees in Althorp estate, it signifies Diana's amazing life. She was 36 years old when she passed away in 1997.

Diana's Statue at Kensington Garden

Diana left behind two sons. Prince William, now the Duke of Cambridge, who was then 15 years old, and Prince Harry, now the Duke of Sussex, only 12 years old at the time of her death.

Prince William and Prince Harry at Diana's funeral in 1997

Though her sons are now settled, having their own families, the sentiments that always bind the royal brothers are the memory and legacy of their mother.

On July 1, 2021, on what would have been her 60th birthday, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex, reunited to unveil the statue of their mother at Kensington sunken garden.

The royal brothers unveiling their mother's statue. July 2021

Kensington Palace had been Diana's home since her marriage. As a mother of the future British king, she retained her residence at Kensington apartments.

The unveiling of Diana's statue was attended by her siblings, the 9th Earl Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.

Princess Diana's siblings, Lady Sara, Lady Jane and the 9th Earl Spencer, greeted by their nephews

Prince William and Prince Harry released a joint statement following the unveiling of their mother's statue, saying: 

"Today, on what would have been our Mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character – qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better. Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy."

The Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex during the unveiling of statue

The bronze statue, sculpted by Ian Rank-Broadley, shows the Princess of Wales surrounded by three children, representing the universality and generation impact of the royal work.

Princess Diana's 24th death anniversary

Her death anniversary this year will be marked in London with a special opening of Cradle Walk, the beautiful walk way leading to the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, where her statue is located. 

Sunken Garden, the favorite place of Princess Diana in Kensington Palace during her lifetime

The Historic Royal Palaces made a special arrangement to allow visitors to view Diana's statue through the Cradle Walk.

Due to the pandemic, Cradle Walk is open to the public only from Wednesday to Sunday.

While visitors don't have a direct access to the Sunken Garden, they will have a chance to see Diana's statue through Cradle Walk which gives a 360 view of the statue.

It is understood the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex will be observing their mother's death anniversary in private.

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