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25 years after her death, Diana is still the “people’s princess”

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On Wednesday, August 31, admirers placed their tributes to the late Princess Diana outside the gates of Kensington Palace in London. These included an arrangement of white chrysanthemums spelling out her name alongside photos and written messages. Some of these people have journeyed to Diana’s home every year since her tragic death at just 36 years old.

One such admirer is 59-year-old Julie Cain. Traveling 300 miles from Newcastle, Ms. Cain makes the annual journey to “let people know that we will never forget the princess, we will never forget what she’s done.”

Diana Francis Spencer captured the globe’s attention at just 19 years old. A shy nursery school teacher, she had the attention of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne. They were promptly engaged and married in 1981. Following a fairy tale wedding and two sons, the royal couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.

After leaving the royal family, Diana’s star shined brighter than ever. She was a tireless advocate for better lives for underprivileged children, changed social attitudes towards AIDS patients, and even toured a minefield in Angola during a mission for the HALO Trust in her crusade to raise awareness about the horrors of landmines.

Twenty-five years ago, on August 31, 1997, the world watched in horror as the beloved princess became fatally injured in a terrible car accident. One of the four passengers in the Mercedes that smashed into a stone wall in Paris’ Pont de l’Alma tunnel, Princess Diana died of her injuries at the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital.

Immediately following the tragic news, mourners gathered outside the princess’s residence at Kensington Palace. More than a million bouquets were left at the gates. By September 10, the pile of flowers and other gifts was nearly 5 feet deep. The flowers, plush toys, and other items received as tributes were distributed to the children and the elderly. It is certainly what the people’s princess would have wanted.

Wednesday’s gathering once again proved Princess Diana may be gone but certainly not forgotten. She is survived by her sons, the Princes William and Harry, their wives, the Duchesses Catherine and Megan, and her five grandchildren, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, Archie, and Lilibet.

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