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Diana Princess of Wales 25th Death Anniversary But No Public Commemoration From Sons

Princess Diana 25th death anniversary

It's been 25 years since the tragic car crash in Paris, France that claimed the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, and yet the world still remembers her compassion, her unique kindness, and her enduring legacy.

The Princess of Wales tragically died when they were chased by a group of paparazzi in motorcycles.  The car she was riding with Dodi Al-Fayed slammed into the tunnel in Paris and landed in the ground completely wrecked. 

Princess Diana 25th death anniversary
Diana, Princess of Wales

She was brought to the hospital but later died in the early hours of August 31, 1997, due to massive internal injuries. Prince Charles and her sisters brought home her body. She was laid to rest at her family estate, Althorp, on September 6, 1997.

Her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, who were 15 and 12 years old respectively at the time of her death, were in Balmoral estate spending summer break with their father, Prince Charles, the Queen, and the Duke of Edinburgh. 

Princess Diana 25th death anniversary
Diana, Princess of Wales

This month, the Princess of Wales had been gone for 25 years but the saddest part of her legacy is the fact that her sons are not getting along well, at least in the public eye. 

Prince William and Prince Harry became estranged when the latter and his wife decided to step back from senior royal roles in 2020 and moved permanently to the United States.

Princess Diana 25th death anniversary
The Prince and Princess of Wales and their sons attending a public event

Andrew Morton, who published the very controversial book, Diana: Her True Story, in 1992, which caused a stir within the Royal Family, admitted that he had spoken to the late Princess of Wales on several occasions. 

In an interview, Morton commented on the current royal rift between the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex: 

"What Diana would say was what she said to me. She always saw Harry as a wingman, as a backup for William and she’d have been extremely disappointed to see this public conflict between the two brothers."

Princess Diana 25th death anniversary
Princess Diana and sons, Princes William and Harry photographed on William's first day at Eton College, September 1995, two years before Diana's passing

Morton acknowledged that Princess Diana had never predicted a fight between her sons, but he pointed out that he's familiar with other royal rifts, such as the one between Queen Elizabeth II and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, which he detailed in the book, "Elizabeth & Margaret: The Intimate World of the Windsor Sisters".

However, The Queen and her sister's differences (just like normal siblings) were never known in public, and they had settled it long before the tales landed on gossip columns, and they grew closer until Princess Margaret died in 2002. 

The last public commemoration

In 2017, when the Duke of Sussex was still single, he and Prince William marked the 20th death anniversary of their mother together publicly.

Princess Diana death anniversary
Prince William and Prince Harry viewed messages left by the public at Kensington Palace gate on August 31, 2017

They made a tour at Kensington Palace's gate, which was flooded with followers and messages left by royal fans. The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry walked around the gate under the pelting rain, viewing flowers and reading letters and messages.

Later, they were joined by the Duchess of Cambridge and walked through the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, the favorite place of Diana at KP.

Princess Diana death anniversary

They met Kensington Palace's head gardener, Sean Harkin, who led the royals on a walk around the grounds and pointed out a number of Princess Diana's favorite flowers on the way, from lilies to white roses.

Princess Diana death anniversary
The royals and head gardener, Sean Harkin

According to Harkin, the Sunken Garden was one of Diana's favorite spots in her former home: 

"The Sunken Garden is the jewel of Kensington Palace and it was a particular favorite of Diana," he explained to Country Living magazine

"In the mornings, she would go out for a jog and would stop by the garden and have a chat with Graham and the gardeners. She would say how much she liked the garden and comment on what it was looking like depending on the seasons. She would have a bit of a joke with them and was really friendly and warm."

July 1, 2021, the last public appearance together of the brothers

The brothers unveiled together the statue of Princess Diana at Kensington garden

In July 2021, on what would have been Diana's 60th birthday, Prince William and Prince Harry joined together to unveil the statue of their mother at the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace. It was the last time the royal brothers were seen together in public.

No Public Commemoration This Year

However, this year, for the 25th death anniversary of their mother, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex wouldn't mark it publicly. Instead, they intended to mark the anniversary in private, and separately. 

Prince William's family is expected to move to Adelaide Cottage this week in time for the opening of classes. His children would be attending Lambrook School in Berkshire, while Prince Harry is based in the United States and would not visit the UK until the first week of September.

Princess Diana death anniversary
Prince William and Prince Harry publicly commemorated their mother's 20th death anniversary in 2017. Getty Images

This separate and private observance of the royal brothers, royal experts say, has nothing to do with their so-called royal feud. Back in 2017, Prince William and Prince Harry made it clear that the 20th death anniversary of their mother would be the last time they will publicly celebrate her passing.

Prince William and prince harry

Thus, this year, the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex won’t get together to commemorate the 25th death anniversary of their mother, according to reports.

However, Prince Harry did pay a public tribute to his mother at a recent private charity dinner in California for his charity, Sentebale. He said: 

"Next week is the 25th anniversary of my mother's death, and she most certainly will never be forgotten, I want it to be a day filled with memories of her incredible work and love for the way she did it. I want it to be a day to share the spirit of my mum with my family, with my children, who I wish could have met her. Every day, I hope to do her proud. She was tireless in her work, to support and destigmatize those experiencing HIV and AIDS. Fittingly her favorite flowers were forget-me-nots.”

Althorp is closed to the public

Diana's final resting place is not accessible to the public. She was laid to rest on an island fronting an oval lake inside her childhood home, the Althorp estate in Northamptonshire, England. 

Princess Diana 25th death anniversary
Diana's final resting place in Althorp

However, her final resting place is not accessible to the public, except on important occasions. In 1998, Diana's brother, Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer of Althorp, notably said that the lake would "act as a buffer against the interventions of the insane and ghoulish, the thick mud presenting a further line of defense. We all agreed that, with its beauty and tranquility, this was the place for Diana to be," he said.

Princess Diana 25th death anniversary
The oval lake inside Althorp where Diana's memorial is located

The Earl built a separate memorial for the late Princess of Wales inside Althorp estate where the visitors can pay tribute to Diana. However, this year, the estate can only be visited until August 29.

Princess Diana 25th death anniversary

The 9th Earl Spencer of Althorp, announced on instagram that the Althorp estate is open to the public until August 29, which means that no members of the public will be allowed to enter Althorp to pay tribute to his sister's 25th death anniversary.

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