Thousands of admirers of Princess Diana paid tributes with flowers, posters and images at the gates of Kensington Palace as the United Kingdom on Thursday marked the 20th death anniversary of the “people’s princess”.
Members of the public have been visiting the Palace where Diana had lived for more than 15 years after her separation and then divorce from Prince Charles, the heir to Britain’s throne.
Flowers, posters and images of the former Princess of Wales were piling up at the gates of the Kensington Palace.
The tributes from her fans and well-wishers refer to her as “princess of hearts” and “people’s princess” as they gathered at the palace to mark the 20th anniversary of her death in a tragic car crash in Paris at the age of 36.
It had also become the focal point for public tributes 20 years ago as the news of Diana’s death unleashed a widespread public outpouring of grief among the British public.
Princess Diana had been in Paris at the conclusion of a European holiday with her Egyptian billionaire boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed when the limousine they were travelling in crashed at Alma Tunnel of the French capital as it tried to out-speed paparazzis chasing the vehicle.
Her sons, Princes William and Harry, had walked up to the mounting tributes at Kensington Palace on Wednesday after they took a tour of new White Garden in the grounds of the palace created in memory of their mother.
The princes, who were 15 and 12 years old at the time of the tragic accident in 1997, have spoken out about their grief for the first time in a series of television documentaries in the last few week but will be marking the day itself in private.
“All of us lost somebody,” Harry said to representatives of charities supported by Diana during the tour of the White Garden.
Some public services are planned across the UK, including at East London’s Mildmay Mission Hospital, which the princess regularly visited when it was a hospice caring for HIV patients.
Former members of staff will share their memories of her, alongside the hospital’s patron, actress Linda Robson, and dancer Wayne Sleep.
The White Garden, designed as a tribute to her style and grace, and the commissioning of a new statue of their mother were the two memorials chosen by William and Harry to mark the 20th anniversary of her death.
The statue will be erected somewhere in the grounds of Kensington Palace in the future.
Announcing the statue earlier this year, William and Harry said: “It has been 20 years since our mother’s death and the time is right to recognise her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue.”
“Our mother touched so many lives. We hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and her legacy.”
The garden marks the fourth London memorial created in tribute to Diana and joins the Diana Memorial Playground at Kensington Palace, the Diana Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, and the Diana Memorial Walk at St James’ Palace.