Princess Diana’s life was tragically cut short when she died in 1997. To this day, she remains an icon beloved by people all over the world. The public mourned Diana’s loss in the hours and days following her death. Noticeably silent on the matter was the British royal family.
Outraged, the public wanted Queen Elizabeth II to grieve with them and acknowledge the impact Diana had on the monarchy and the world. Instead, they found comfort in the words of Tony Blair, the then-British Prime Minister.
Queen Elizabeth II was with Prince William and Prince Harry at Balmoral when Princess Diana died
The royal family wasn’t at Buckingham Palace when Diana died following a car crash in Paris, France, on Aug. 31, 1997. They were at Balmoral Castle, the queen’s summer home in Scotland.
Receiving the news of Diana’s death after her grandsons had already gone to bed — Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex were 15 and 12 at the time — the queen decided to wait until the next morning to tell them they’d lost their mother.
The queen focused on her role as a grandmother instead of jumping to action as the leader of the royal family. That’s why the queen waited to address Diana’s death. She reportedly had all the TVs and radios removed so William and Harry could grieve. Meanwhile, the public was upset with the monarchy for not grieving together as a nation.
Tony Blair gave a brief statement about Princess Diana’s the morning of her death
Diana was pronounced dead in the early morning hours. As the public grieved they wanted the royal family to comment on the devastating loss. Instead, they got a heartfelt address from their prime minister.
“I feel like everyone else in this country today, utterly devastated,” Blair said, according to a YouTube video from AP Archive.
“She was a wonderful, and a warm, human being. Though her own life was often sadly touched by tragedy, she touched the lives of so many others, in Britain (and) throughout the world, with joy, and with comfort.”
Rounding out his remarks Blair gave Diana her people’s princess nickname.
“She was the people’s princess, and that’s how she will stay, how she will remain in our hearts and in our memories, forever,” he said.
However brief, Blair’s comments resonated with the public.
“He coined this wonderful phrase about the people’s princess and it struck a chord,” journalist Richard Kay said in the CNN documentary The Windsors: Inside the Royal Dynasty.
“It seemed to sum up the feelings of a country in a paralysis of grief and shock in a way that the Queen did not do,” Kay added.
The queen paid tribute to Diana five days after her death, making a televised speech shortly before Diana’s funeral.
She spoke “as a grandmother” and called Diana “an exceptional and gifted human being.” Following her speech, the queen paid her respects to Diana by bowing to her coffin as it passed by.
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