I was channel surfing when I heard she'd died, so stuck on ZB to hear the outpourings. The first caller set on nice tone with her ''who cares, they're all Germans anyway..''
Are you sure you were listening to ZB? My mid/late afternoon they had woken chief royalist Leighton Smith from his weekend slumber in a casket somewhere and he was leading the mourning.
I had heard about the crash, then the death, on NatRad at home. I think I was listening to ZB in the car later on while going round to my mates' cold flat in Sandringham to hang out and have a few cold ones ourselves.
Yep, ZB. I was hoping to enjoy some rabidly, hyperbolic talkback. It was just after Alison Mau - I think, might be wrong but - make the teary announcement during a news break-in on TV1.
Later that year, our family and the larger Irish family up the road won a special prize in the Holy Cross Parish Fancy Dress Parade as "The Royal Wedding". I was Diana (I was blonde then),
Oh my god! I seem to remember I was Charles, on account of my long nose and superior height. And we had almost as many bridesmaids and flower girls as the actual wedding. Handy thing having big Catholic families. Another year we collectively went as Snow White and the Seven or Nine or possible Twelve Dwarves...
OK, so I have to contribute now. I heard the news in a skanky Motel 6 somewhere along Rt 90. We were driving from Ithaca to Providence, to deliver Richard to his new gig at Brown University. It felt like such a long drive (what wimps we were in those days - last week we did 11 hrs straight with two kids in the car) that we decided to stop for the night.
It was close to midnight. I flicked on the TV, as you do in cheap motels - especially when you've been living without a TV - and the report of the crash was all over the news on CNN.
We watched for about half an hour as they talked grimly about how severe her injuries probably were, and all I could think was "Can you still be a princess with one leg? Can you be a princess with horrible scars? Can you be a princess with massive brain damage?" and so on. And then it became clear that it was all moot anyway.
I remember feeling absolutely gutted for her sons. And weirdly shaken that someone so monumental was mortal after all, just like the rest of us. It looks so banal written down but it felt huge at the time.
It was definitely a bigger deal for (young?) women, and quite a few gay men. My usually very level-headed flatmate and I made a little framed icon that hung in our kitchen for the rest of that year. And the funeral was taped for me by my friend Christopher, who woke up early to watch it himself.
My husband's grandmother was a wonderful woman, but she could occasionally get similar words confused. The CNN coverage she was watching in the aftermath discussed the blame laid at the feet of the paparazzi, while showing photos of Diana's famous friends.
This left Granny convinced that... Pavarotti had killed Diana.
(It would have been a much better story if he had.)
Found, online, Private Eye's priceless editorial that week:
IN recent weeks (not to mention the last ten years) we at the Daily Gnome, in common with all other newspapers, may have inadvertently conveyed the impression that the late Princess of Wales was in some way a neurotic, irresponsible and manipulative troublemaker who had repeatedly meddled in political matters that did not concern her and personally embarrassed Her Majesty The Queen by her Mediterranean love-romps with the son of a discredited Egyptian businessman.
We now realise as of Sunday morning that the Princess of Hearts was in fact the most saintly woman who has ever lived, who, with her charitable activities, brought hope and succour to hundreds and millions of people all over the world.
We would like to express our sincere and deepest hypocrisy to all our readers on this tragic day and hope and pray that they will carry on buying our paper notwithstanding.
Heard about it in Wellington while watching some rugby match on TV. A day or two later, I was on a plane heading for London to begin my OE. I arrived stressed (only ever flown to Australia), tired (it had been about 30 hours and I'd hardly slept), and ran into my brother's practical joke where he failed to turn up to meet me, and instead sent a friend to tell me he'd been arrested.
So I wasn't in the best of moods to have some random woman come up to me uninvited and start wittering about how I'd arrived at such a sad time for their country.
The next day was the day of the funeral. My brother and I went walking around Wood Green. The streets were almost completely empty (think Lambton Quay on a cold Sunday evening). Nearly all the shops were closed. (Wood Green shopping centre is normally very, very crowded on a Saturday). The place was a ghost-town, obviously everyone in London except us was watching the funeral.
So that's my memories of Diana: she helped make my arrival in London slightly surreal.
We can only thank Di for one thing: she added some much needed fresh stock to the royal gene pool.
As for the rest, well she was a product of her time and could probably not exist in these post-Paris and Britney days.
I somehow can't imagine the Princess getting her knickers off for a night out with the gals, can you? But that, it seems, is what it takes to be a "celebritney" these days.
Oh, and where was I when I heard? Home alone, watching sport on TV...got a phone call from friends telling me to change channels, did and then phoned them back to ask (best impression of dry journo/PR hack cynicism), "did Di die? Too right she did die!"
Obvious she'd been smacked around far too much to live.
I think I was more affected by Ayrton Senna's death - at least he actually achieved something in his life.
One of the things observed about Senna's death was that it is almost impossible to actually die at an F1 race these days, the critical care is simply too good. It was fairly obvious in Di's case that the same applied: get the body out of the car and off to hospital then let her go.
"she added some much needed fresh stock to the royal gene pool."
My point exactly, but does that make Harry Royal?
Passed me by to a certain extent
I was told as I walked out of my mother's hospital room
We had pulled the plug and were just waiting for her to die, which she did that night
"Such is life"
Ha! I remember that Private Eye piece. And is Harry royal? I reckon. Take a lot to convince me they didn't DNA him before he was born.
On the topic of Harry's lineage (I assume this is a reference to his absolutely remarkable similarity to that complete twat James Hewitt), Wikipedia reports "It has been suggested that Hewitt could be the natural father of the Prince, but this is not possible given that Diana did not even meet Hewitt until 1986, when Harry was already two years old."
However the source for that information is just a SMH story from 2003.
I think he resembles Prince Philip :)
Harry looks exactly like all the Spencers did at his age, right down to the red hair - he's especially like Sarah McCorquodale, Diana's sister. If they AIDS test prospective royal brides before the wedding (and they do), the Windsors would certainly DNA test the offspring.
I know this is a bit of a Lad's Den here on Public Address, but please don't feel any obligation to be macho for the sake of it.
Why do journos who fed off Diana's carcase during her lifetime continue scavenging after her death by boasting how unmoved they were by the whole tragedy, and how she never fooled them for a minute? Not much....
Bad conscience, I think. They were the industry that killed her and have turned denial into an attack, as their coping mechanism. And they accuse HER of making use of the media!
The sadness felt by many at the time of her death was genuine, and if people now feel embarrassed by the fact that they were upset and showed emotion, they could at least have the grace to shut up about it and not recant or take it out on the dead who can't answer back.
Diana was a lonely woman who wanted a happy family life. The Prince, who had only one decision to make in his life, made a bugger's muddle of things. He decided he could have his cake and eat it too, and stuff the consequences for the teenager he duped into marriage. If she later tried to make use of her celebrity to put her side of the story, what of it? When an Establishment of that might gangs up on you to side with your more powerful husband, the court of the media is the only one left to you.
Try reading eg Sarah Bradford's new biography of the POW. It could tell you things the myth-making popular press is never going to.