On eve of anniversary of princesss death, sons remember her in Kensington Palace garden planted with her favourite flowers
The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry have paid tribute to their mother on the eve of the 20th anniversary of her death, amid scented roses and other favourite flowers in a memorial White Garden at Kensington Palace, planted earlier this year for the landmark milestone.
Alongside the Duchess of Cambridge, the two princes sheltered under umbrellas as they toured the garden designed in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, for about an hour.
Examining the floral tributes, photographs and candles left on the gates of Kensington Palace, her former home and the scene of a sea of bouquets immediately following her death, they read messages left by well-wishers.
Harry told representatives from charities supported by the late princess: All of us lost somebody.
Kensington Palace said the visit allowed the princes to pay tribute to the life and work of their mother the day before the 20th anniversary of her death.
In contrast to 10 years ago, when a memorial service was attended by the Queen, senior royals and 500 others at the Guards Chapel at Wellington barracks near Buckingham Palace, Wednesdays tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, was simple and personal.
There was no public event as her sons chose a small private service to mark her birth, not her death on 1 July to rededicate her grave, which is on a private island in an ornamental lake at the Spencer familys ancestral home at Althorp House, Northamptonshire. It was attended by the Spencer family, William, Kate and Harry and the Cambridges children, George and Charlotte. It was officiated by the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby.
Nothing else about the 20th anniversary has been understated, however. Recent weeks have seen daily newspaper headlines, old controversies raked over, and many TV tributes as Dianamania once more sweeps the country. Diana, as the royal biographer Sarah Bradford accurately predicted two decades ago, has haunted the royals more inescapably, perhaps, in death than if she had lived happily ever after.
The 20th anniversary has seen key figures caught up in the tumultuous moment in history speaking in often painful detail for the first time. Crucially, these have included William and Harry, who decided 20 years on was an appropriate time to bare their emotional souls.
They said to me they had never spoken about it before, theyre asked about it all the time, and they wanted to speak about it once and once only, said the US film-maker Henry Singer, whose Diana, 7 Days was broadcast on BBC1 on Sunday, and saw the princes articulate the grief, shock and bewilderment they experienced at the time with extraordinary candour.
Of the significance of the 20th anniversary, Singer said: Ten years feels a little raw. Certainly Dianas sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lord Jay, British ambassador in Paris when Diana died in the car crash on 31 August 1997, would not have spoken sooner, he believed. People like that, if approached after 10 years, my guess is they would have said no.