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Media and passers-by view an eight-foot high bronze sculpture featuring Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed which appeared in the window of Harrods department store Monday. (AFP)
A Subdued Britain Marks Diana's Death

By T.R. Reid
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, September 1, 1998; Page A15

LONDON, Aug. 31 – Britain reverted to the stiff upper lip today as the nation spent this business holiday in calm, quiet memorials to Princess Diana on the first anniversary of her death.

Flags flew at half-staff around the United Kingdom, and many churches held memorial services this morning. Newspapers put the late princess all over their front pages – nothing unusual in that – -and television networks ran hours of extra programming to recall her 36 years of life and her sudden death.

But the national mood was reserved. There were few tears among the fairly small crowds that gathered at Diana's former home, Kensington Palace, and at Westminster Abbey, where her funeral was held.

Charles
Prince Charles and his son, Princes William, right, arrive for a private memorial service Monday at the royal chapel in Balmoral, Scotland, where Queen Elizabeth II spends the summer. (AP)
A year ago, London was awash with public grief. Streets and parks were filled with mourners, weeping openly and leaving flowers, toys, poems and handwritten letters to Diana on the broad green lawns outside her palace. But this weekend, in the predictable flood of one-year-later reports and commentaries, many of those mourners said they now feel a little embarrassed at the open show of emotion.

"It didn't seem like the British way," columnist Minette Martin said.

Today, on a bright and breezy day off – the last Monday of the summer vacation season is a business holiday in Britain – the few thousand people who gathered outside Kensington Palace were in a laid-back mood. Perhaps one visitor in 10 brought flowers, a card or a Mylar balloon to place before the wrought-iron gate.

In Balmoral, Scotland, where Queen Elizabeth II spends the summer, the royal family attended a memorial service at the small royal chapel. Diana's former husband, Prince Charles, and her sons, Princes William and Harry, also attended.

For the most part, the various memorials around the country ignored Dodi Fayed, the movie producer who died in the Paris car crash with Diana. Fayed was not forgotten, though, at London's best-known department store.

Fayed's father, Mohamed, the Egyptian-born owner of Harrods department store, dedicated an elaborate 10-foot-high memorial fountain to the couple at the front of the store's "Egyptian Hall," a large room where jewelry and handbags are sold. The memorial is topped with flowers, candles and large pictures of Diana and Dodi, wreathed in gold ribbons and carved doves.

Despite growing evidence of "Diana Fatigue" among the public here, the newspapers, magazines and TV networks kept up the daily onslaught of princess news. The Sun, the nation's largest-circulation daily newspaper, used the anniversary to launch a crusade demanding an investigation of the accident, in which the car Diana and Fayed were traveling in crashed into a tunnel pillar in Paris.

"WHY was one of the most high-profile women of our time without adequate security?" the Sun demanded. "In America, even two-bit wives of city mayors have 24-hour security."

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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