Saturday 21 April 2018

One-third still feel the royals showed memory of Diana 'too little respect'

Diana, Princess of Wales, with Prince Charles. Photo: PA
Diana, Princess of Wales, with Prince Charles. Photo: PA

Laura Elston

Almost a third of the public feels the British royal family has shown the memory of Princess Diana too little respect.

But more than 40pc believe the Windsors have "got the balance about right", a poll revealed ahead of the 20th anniversary of the car crash which killed the princess.

In terms of the princess's legacy, the research found, 20 years on, that she is most well known in Britain for being the 'People's Princess', rather than for her personal troubles, her charity work and being Prince William and Prince Harry's mother.

But most younger people know her best for dying in a car crash.

Research carried out by polling firm YouGov showed that 30pc thought the royals showed too little respect to the princess's memory, 44pc felt the balance was about right, 4pc felt there was too much respect and 22pc were unsure.

Read more - 'Diana: In Her Own Words' review: 'Stretching meagre snippets to a dour, ponderous 90 minutes required a lot of padding'

Prince Harry (left) and Prince William are to mark the impact their mother had with a statue. Photo: PA
Prince Harry (left) and Prince William are to mark the impact their mother had with a statue. Photo: PA

More than two-fifths of adults (44pc) also believe the royal family changed for the better because of the princess.

The monarchy faced one of its most turbulent times in the aftermath of her death in a Paris underpass on August 31, 1997.

Queen Elizabeth, who was comforting her grandsons in Balmoral, was criticised for failing to return to London quickly enough, and for keeping the Buckingham Palace flagpole bare, as was protocol when she was away, rather than lowering a flag to half mast in respect.

Moving

Diana touring a minefield in body armour during a visit to Angola in early 1997. Photo: John Stillwell/PA
Diana touring a minefield in body armour during a visit to Angola in early 1997. Photo: John Stillwell/PA

In her speech to the nation ahead of the funeral, the monarch even acknowledged the princess: "There are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death."

When the Queen opened a memorial fountain in London's Hyde Park in the princess's honour seven years later in 2004, she said there were "difficult times" in the princess's life but spoke of how "memories mellow with the passing of the years".

Royal author Penny Junor suggested that publicity surrounding the 20th anniversary has led some people to regress two decades amid polarised views.

"I think we've gone straight back to square one actually, emotionally as a nation," she said. "I mean obviously not everybody, but I think there are quite a lot of people who have emotionally been taken back 20 years, polarised in their views.

"All the films and all the articles and all the documentaries, they're not helping people to move on at all.

"Rather than this 20th anniversary being a great celebration of her legacy and looking back at all the marvellous things she did, an awful lot of this has been celebrated by going back over the same old ground, the marriage and her unhappiness, and I think that is really regrettable because it's not helping anyone."

Read more - Princess Diana 'feared she'd lose William and Harry if she opened up after Prince Charles divorce'

It has emerged that the princes will pay tribute to their mother with a statue erected in the grounds of her former home.

They have said that, with the passing of the years, the time is appropriate to "recognise her positive impact" both at home and abroad with the monument.

The princess's statue will be erected, possibly later this year, in a place she knew well - the public gardens of her former home Kensington Palace.

The royal brothers said earlier this year: "It has been 20 years since our mother's death and the time is right to recognise her positive impact."

Irish Independent

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