The Big Picture

The 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana

She was adored in Britain, and beyond, and in her death was dubbed “the people’s princess.” Diana, Princess of Wales, brought a warmth and humanity to the British monarchy that it hadn’t known before, and the masses loved her for it. Her struggles, her heartbreak, her tireless charitable work endeared her to people everywhere, and 20 years ago — on Aug. 31, 1997 — Diana’s death at 36 in a high-speed car crash in Paris left the world in mourning. Tens of thousands paid their respects in person, tearfully laying flowers at the gates of Kensington Palace in her memory. Millions more watched her funeral, which was televised around the globe.
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From left, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Earl Charles Spencer, Prince William, and Prince Philip stood as the coffin bearing the body of Princess Diana was taken into Westminster Abbey in London on Sept. 6, 1997. (John Gaps III/Pool)
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The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince William, Earl Charles Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles walked outside Westminster Abbey during the funeral procession for Princess Diana. (Jeff J. Mitchell/Pool)
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The coffin carrying Diana, Princess of Wales, passed Buckingham Palace in London en route to Westminster Abbey for the funeral service. (Lynne Sladky/Associated Press)
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A woman threw flowers towards the hearse as people gathered to pay their last respects to Diana on Sept. 6, 1997. (Rui Vieira/Associated Press)
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Diana, princess of Wales, at the Cancer Hospital in Lahore, Pakistan, on Feb. 22, 1996. (John Giles/Pool)
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Guardsmen escorted the coffin of Princess Diana, drapped in the Royal Standard, as the cortege passes through crowds gathered outside Buckingham Palace. (Wolfgang Rattay/Reuters)
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The casket containing the body of Princess Diana was carried into Westminster Abbey by soldiers of the Welsh Guards, during funeral ceremonies in London. (Peter Dejong/Associated Press)
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Flowers from the princes, Harry and William, to their mother, sat on top of her coffin. The card on the flower arrangement reads ‘Mummy’. (Chris Helgren/Pool)
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Christine Couture watched the funeral of Princess Diana in her living room in Arlington, Mass. (Dominic Chavez/Globe Staff/file)
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A mourner added a bouquet to a floral memorial near the gates of Kensington Palace on Sept. 5, 1997, the day before Diana, Princess of Wales, funeral. (Kevin LaMarque/Reuters)
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Patrick Brody clutched his mother’s hand outside Kensington Palace in London where mourners left flowers and cards in tribute to Princess Diann on Sept. 1, 1997. (Michael Robinson-Chavez/Globe Staff)
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A sea of people crowded around the enormous carpet of flowers deposited by mourners at the gates of Diana, the Princess of Wales’, former residence in London. (David Brauchli/Associated Press)
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An aerial view showed the large pile of flowers at the gates of Kensington Palace in London, as the crowds continued to arrive to pay their respects to the late Princess Diana, on Sept. 4, 1997. (Adrian Dennis/Associated Press)
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A man took a moment of silence for Princess Diana, while a line of people from the Boston-area stood in line to write in a journal, as well as leaving flowers, poems, and some gifts outside the Boston Federal Building where the British Consulate is located, on Sept. 1, 1997. (Dominic Chavez/Globe Staff)
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Mourners hugged on Constitution Hill outside Buckingham Palace after seeing Princess Diana’s coffin pass by en route to her funeral service at Westminster Abbey. (Michael Robinson-Chavez/Globe Staff)
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A young boy, right, looked up at a young man who carried his personalized floral tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, as he walked up The Mall to place his offering at Buckingham Palace. (Thomas Coex/AFP)
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Mary Moore and Lisa Marie Walker of the South End consoled each other following a Princess Diana memorial service at Trinity Church in Boston on Sept. 6, 1997. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
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A sea of flowers in front of Kensington Palace in London on Sept. 2, 1997. (Michael Robinson-Chavez/Globe Staff)
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Queen Elizabeth of England greeted well wishers outside St. James’ Palace in central London after she viewed Diana’s body on Sept. 5, 1997. Later in the evening she delivered a national address conveying her feelings about the Princess’ death. (Michael Robinson-Chavez/Globe Staff)
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The Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry looked at the floral tributes to Diana, Princess of Wales, at Kensington Palace. (Anwar Hussein)
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Prince Charles, right, accompanied his sons Prince William, left and Prince Harry after they arrived at Kensington Palace to view tributes left in memory of their mother Princess Diana in London on Sept. 5, 1997. (David Brauchli/Assocaited Press)
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Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Britain’s Prince Harry looked at tributes left by members of the public at one of the entrances of Kensington Palace to mark the coming 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in London, on Aug. 30. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AFP/Getty)
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Britain’s Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, center, his wife Britain’s Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, left, and his brother Britain’s Prince Harry, sheltered from the rain beneath umbrellas as they arrived to attend an event at the memorial gardens in Kensington Palace, west London on Aug. 30. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AFP/Getty)
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Two people paused in front of floral tributes, photographs and messages on an entrance gate to Kensington Palace ahead of the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, on Aug. 30. (Jack Taylor/Getty)
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Tributes are left on the gates of Kensington Palace for Princess Diana in London on Aug. 30, ahead of the 20th anniversay of her death. (Andy Rain/EPA)
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Photographs of Diana, Princess of Wales, are seen with floral tributes left outside Kensington Palace on Aug. 31. (Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty)
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People lined up to enter the Diana exhibition at Kensington Palace in London on Aug. 30. (Andy Rain/EPA)
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The wreckage of the car that Britain’s Diana, Princess of Wales was traveling in along with Dodi Al-Fayed, in the Alma Tunnel in Paris, on Aug. 31, 1997. (Pierre Boussel/AFP/Getty)
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Police services prepared to take away the car in which Britain’s Diana, Princess of Wales, died in Paris, in a car crash that also killed her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and the chauffeur on Aug. 31, 1997. The crash happened shortly after midnight in a tunnel along the Seine River at the Pont de l Alma bridge, while paparazzi on motorcycles were following her car. (Jerome Delay/Associated Press)
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Britain’s Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer are shown at their wedding at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on July 29, 1981. (Associated Press)
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