Key Moments:
Prime Minister's Reading

Elton John's "Candle in the Wind"

Tribute by The Earl Spencer

The Prayers

The Final Blessing

The Commendation


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Westminster Abbey
Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales
Saturday, Sept. 6, 1997
11 a.m. (6 a.m. EDT)

Services schedule
All times Eastern daylight
4:30 a.m.
Abbey doors open for invited guests
5:15
VIPs arrive at abbey
5:35
Spencer family arrives
5:40
Royal family arrives
5:50
Senior members of royal family arrive
5:55
Coffin arrives
6:00
Funeral service begins
6:50 Service ends
During the procession of the cortege from Kensington Palace, the Tenor Bell is tolled every minute.

The service is sung by the choir of Westminster Abbey, conducted by Martin Neary, organist and master of the choristers.

The organ is played by Martin Baker, sub-organist of Westminster Abbey.

Music Before the Service

Music before the service, played by Stephen Le Prevost, assistant organist, Westminster Abbey:
  • Second Movement (Grave) Organ Sonata, No.2, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy (1809-47)
  • Prelude on the hymn tune "Eventide," Hubert Parry (1848-1918)
  • Adagio in E, Frank Bridge (1879-1941)
  • Prelude on the hymn tune "Rhosymedre," Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958)
  • Choral Prelude: Ich ruf' zu dir, Herr Jesu Christ, BWV639, Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
  • Elegy, George Thalben-Ball (1896-1988)

    Martin Baker plays:
  • Fantasia in C minor BWV537, Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Adagio in G minor, Tomaso Giovanni Albinoni (1671-1751)
  • Slow movement, from the Ninth Symphony ("From the New World"), Antonin Dvorak (1841-1904)
  • Canon, Johann Pachelbel (1653-1706)
  • Nimrod, Variation 9 arranged from Variations on an original theme (Enigma) Op.36, Edward Elgar (1857-1934)
  • Prelude, William Harris (1883-1973)

  • Members of the Spencer family were received at the abbey's Great West Door by the dean of Westminster and the congregation stood as they were conducted to their places.

    Members of the royal family were received and taken to their seats, then Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen Mother and Prince Philip were received and taken to their places.

    Everyone remained standing as the cortege entered.

    The National Anthem.

    God save our gracious queen
    Long live our noble queen,
    God save the queen.
    Send her victorious,
    Happy and glorious,
    Long to reign over us:
    God save the queen.

    The cortege moved to the quire and sacrarium, during which the choir sang.

    The Sentences

    I am the resurrection and the life, saith the Lord: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. (St. John 11:25,26)

    I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another. (Job 19:25-27)

    We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. (1 Timothy 6: 7; Job 1: 21)

    William Croft (1678-1727) Organist of Westminster Abbey (17-8-27)

    Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears unto our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and most merciful Savior, thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee. Amen (Book of Common Prayer)

    Henry Purcell (1659-95) Organist of Westminster Abbey 1679-95.

    I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, From henceforth blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: even so saith the Spirit; for they rest from their labours. Revelation 14:13. William Croft.

    All remained standing.

    The Bidding
    by the Very Rev. Dr. Wesley Carr, dean of Westminster

    We are gathered here in Westminster Abbey to give thanks for the life of Diana, Princess of Wales; to commend her soul to almighty God, and to seek his comfort for all who mourn. We particularly pray for God's restoring peace and loving presence with her children, the Princes William and Harry, and for all her family.

    In her life, Diana profoundly influenced this nation and the world. Although a Princess, she was someone for whom, from afar, we dared to feel affection, and by whom we were all intrigued. She kept company with kings and queens, with princes and presidents, but we especially remember her humane concerns and how she met individuals and made them feel significant. In her death she commands the sympathy of millions.

    Whatever our beliefs and faith, let us with thanksgiving remember her life and enjoyment of it; let us re-dedicate to God the work of those many charities that she supported; let us commit ourselves anew to caring for others; and let us offer to him and for his service our own mortality and vulnerability.

    The Opening Hymn

    I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above,
    entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love:
    the love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
    that lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
    the love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
    the love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.

    And there's another country, I've heard of long ago,
    most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
    we may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
    her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
    and soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
    and her ways are ways of gentleness and all her paths are peace.
    -- Cecil Spring-Rice (1859-1918)
    Thaxted. Gustav Holst (1874-1934).

    Lady Sarah McCorquodale reads:

    If I should die and leave you here awhile,
    Be not like others, sore undone, who keep
    Long vigils by the silent dust, and weep.
    For my sake - turn again to life and smile,
    Nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do
    Something to comfort other hearts than thine.
    Complete those dear unfinished tasks of mine
    And I, perchance, may therein comfort you.

    The BBC Singers, together with Lynne Dawson, soprano, sing:

    Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna, in die illa tremenda quando coeli movendi
    sunt, et terra: dum veneris judicare saeculum per ignem.
    Tremens factus sum ego et timeo, dum discussio venerit, atque ventura ira.
    Dies illa, dies irae, calamitatis et miseriae, dies magna et amara valde.
    Requiem aeternam dona eis Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.

    (Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death in that dread day when the heavens and the earth shall be shaken, and you will come to judge the world by fire. I tremble in awe of the judgement and the coming wrath. Day of wrath, day of calamity and woe, great and exceeding bitter day. Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.)

    -- Guiseppe Verdi (1813-1901) from The Requiem.

    Lady Jane Fellowes reads:

    Time is too slow for those who wait,
    too swift for those who fear,
    too long for those who grieve,
    too short for those who rejoice,
    but for those who love, time is eternity.
    The congregation sang:
    The King of love my Shepherd is,
    whose goodness faileth never;
    I nothing lack if I am his
    and he is mine for ever.

    Where streams of living water flow
    my ransomed soul he leadeth,
    and where the verdant pastures grow
    with food celestial feedeth.

    Perverse and foolish oft I strayed,
    but yet in love he sought me,
    and on his shoulder gently laid,
    and home rejoicing brought me.

    In death's dark vale I fear no ill
    with thee, dear Lord, beside me;
    thy rod and staff my comfort still,
    thy cross before to guide me.

    Thou spread'st a table in my sight;
    thy unction grace bestoweth:
    and O what transport of delight
    from thy pure chalice floweth!

    And so through all the length of days
    thy goodness faileth never:
    good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise
    within thy house for ever.

    Dominus regit me.

    -- Tune: Dominus regit me, by J.B. Dykes (1823-76)
    Paraphrase of Psalm 23 by H.W. Baker (1821-77)

    Prime Minister Tony Blair's reading

    1 Corinthians 13

    Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.

    Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

    Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

    When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

    "Candle in the Wind"
    performed by Elton John with new lyrics

    Goodbye England's rose;
    may you ever grow in our hearts.
    You were the grace that placed itself
    where lives were torn apart.
    You called out to our country,
    and you whispered to those in pain.
    Now you belong to heaven,
    and the stars spell out your name.

    And it seems to me you lived your life
    like a candle in the wind:
    never fading with the sunset
    when the rain set in.
    And your footsteps will always fall here,
    along England's greenest hills;
    your candle's burned out long before
    your legend ever will.

    Loveliness we've lost;
    these empty days without your smile.
    This torch we'll always carry
    for our nation's golden child.
    And even though we try,
    the truth brings us to tears;
    all our words cannot express
    the joy you brought us through the years.

    And it seems to me you lived your life
    like a candle in the wind:
    never fading with the sunset
    when the rain set in.
    And your footsteps will always fall here,
    along England's greenest hills;
    your candle's burned out long before
    your legend ever will.
    Goodbye England's rose;
    may you ever grow in our hearts.
    You were the grace that placed itself
    where lives were torn apart.
    Goodbye England's rose,
    from a country lost without your soul,
    who'll miss the wings of your compassion
    more than you'll ever know.
    And it seems to me you lived your life
    like a candle in the wind:
    never fading with the sunset
    when the rain set in.
    And your footsteps will always fall here,
    along England's greenest hills;
    your candle's burned out long before
    your legend ever will.

    -- Bernie Taupin (b 1950) Elton John (b 1947)

    Tribute by The Earl Spencer

    I stand before you today the representative of a family in grief, in a country in mourning before a world in shock.

    We are all united not only in our desire to pay our respects to Diana but rather in our need to do so.

    For such was her extraordinary appeal that the tens of millions of people taking part in this service all over the world via television and radio who never actually met her, feel that they too lost someone close to them in the early hours of Sunday morning. It is a more remarkable tribute to Diana than I can ever hope to offer her today.

    Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty. All over the world she was a symbol of selfless humanity, a standard bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a truly British girl who transcended nationality, someone with a natural nobility who was classless, who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic. Today is our chance to say thank you for the way you brightened our lives even though God granted you but half a life. We will all feel cheated that you were taken from us so young and yet we must learn to be grateful that you came along at all.

    Only now you are gone do we truly appreciate what we are now without and we want you to know that life without you is very, very difficult.

    We have all despaired at our loss over the past week and only the strength of the message you gave us through your years of giving has afforded us the strength to move forward.

    There is a temptation to rush to canonize your memory. There is no need to do so. You stand tall enough as a human being of unique qualities not to need to be seen as a saint. Indeed to sanctify your memory would be to miss out on the very core of your being, your wonderfully mischievous sense of humor with the laugh that bent you double, your joy for life transmitted wherever you took your smile, and the sparkle in those unforgettable eyes, your boundless energy which you could barely contain.

    But your greatest gift was your intuition and it was a gift you used wisely. This what underpinned all your wonderful attributes. And if we look to analyze what it was about you that had such a wide appeal we find it in your instinctive feel for what was really important in all our lives.

    Without your God-given sensitivity we would be immersed in greater ignorance at the anguish of AIDS and HIV sufferers, the plight of the homeless, the isolation of lepers, the random destruction of land mines. Diana explained to me once that it was her innermost feelings of suffering that made it possible for her to connect with her constituency of the rejected.

    And here we come to another truth about her. For all the status, the glamour, the applause, Diana remained throughout a very insecure person at heart almost childlike in her desire to do good for others so she could release herself from deep feelings of unworthiness of which her eating disorders were merely a symptom

    The world sensed this part of her character and cherished her for her vulnerability, whilst admiring her for her honesty. The last time I saw Diana was on July the first, her birthday, in London, when typically she was not taking time to celebrate her special day with friends but was guest of honor at a charity fund-raising evening.

    She sparkled of course, but I would rather cherish the days I spent with her in March when she came to visit me and my children in our home in South Africa. I am proud of the fact that apart from when she was on public display meeting President Mandela we managed to contrive to stop the ever-present paparazzi from getting a single picture of her.

    That meant a lot to her.

    These are days I will always treasure. It was as if we'd been transported back to our childhood when we spent such an enormous amount of time together, the two youngest in the family.

    Fundamentally she hadn't changed at all from the big sister who mothered me as a baby, fought with me at school and endured those long train journeys between our parents' homes with me at weekends. It is a tribute to her level-headedness and strength that despite the most bizarre life imaginable after her childhood, she remained intact, true to herself.

    There is no doubt that she was looking for a new direction in her life at this time. She talked endlessly of getting away from England, mainly because of the treatment she received at the hands of the newspapers. I don't think she ever understood why her genuinely good intentions were sneered at by the media, why there appeared to be a permanent quest on their behalf to bring her down. It is baffling. My own, and only, explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum.

    It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest is this; that a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.

    She would want us today to pledge ourselves to protecting her beloved boys William and Harry from a similar fate. And I do this here, Diana, on your behalf. We will not allow them to suffer the anguish that used regularly to drive you to tearful despair.

    Beyond that, on behalf of your mother and sisters, I pledge that we, your blood family, will do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition but can sing openly as you planned.

    We fully respect the heritage into which they have both been born, and will always respect and encourage them in their royal role. But we, like you, recognize the need for them to experience as many different aspects of life as possible to arm them spiritually and emotionally for the years ahead. I know you would have expected nothing less from us.

    William and Harry we all care desperately for you today. We are all chewed up with sadness at the loss of a woman who wasn't even our mother. How great your suffering is we cannot even imagine.

    I would like to end by thanking God for the small mercies he has shown us at this dreadful time; for taking Diana at her most beautiful and radiant and when she had so much joy in her private life.

    Above all, we give thanks for the life of a woman I am so proud to be able to call my sister: the unique the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana, whose beauty, both internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds.

    The Hymn

    Make me a channel of your peace:
    where there is hatred let me bring your love,
    where there is injury, your pardon, Lord,
    and where there's doubt, true faith in you:
    O Master grant that I may never seek
    so much to be consoled as to console;
    to be understood as to understand,
    to be loved, as to love with all my soul!
    Make me a channel of your peace:
    where there's despair in life let me bring hope,
    where there is darkness, only light,
    and where there's sadness, ever joy:
    (repeat chorus)
    Make me a channel of your peace:
    it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
    in giving ourselves that we receive,
    and in dying that we're born to eternal life.
    (repeat chorus)
    Make me a channel of your peace:
    where there is hatred let me bring your love,
    where there is injury, your pardon, Lord,
    and where there's doubt, true faith in you.
    -- Music by Sebastian Temple. Text, St. Francis of Assisi translated by Sebastian Temple.

    The Prayers
    led by Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey

    For Diana, Princess of Wales:
    We give thanks to God for Diana, Princess of Wales; for her sense of joy and for the way she gave so much to so many people.

    Lord we thank you for Diana, whose life touched us all and for all those memories of her that we treasure. We give thanks for those qualities and strengths that endeared her to us; for her vulnerability; for her radiant and vibrant personality; for her ability to communicate warmth and compassion; for her ringing laugh; and above all for her readiness to identify with those less fortunate in our nation and the world.

    Lord of the loving: Hear our prayer.

    For her family:
    We pray for those most closely affected by her death: for Prince William and Prince Harry who mourn the passing of their dearly loved mother; for her family, especially for her mother, her brother and her sisters.

    Lord we thank you for the precious gift of family life, for all human relationships and for the strength we draw from one another. Have compassion on those for whom this parting brings particular pain and the deepest sense of loss. Casting their cares on you, may they know the gentleness of your presence and the consolation of your love.

    Lord of the bereaved: Hear our prayer.

    For the royal family:
    We pray for the members of the royal family, for wisdom and discernment as they discharge their responsibilities in the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth and the world.

    Lord, we commend to you Elizabeth our queen, the members of the royal family and all who exercise power and authority in our nation. Enrich them with your grace, that we may be governed with wisdom and godliness: so that in love for you and service to each other we may each bring our gifts to serve the common good.

    Lord of the nations: Hear our prayer.

    For all who mourn:
    Diana was not alone in losing her young life tragically. We remember too her friend, Dodi Al Fayed and his family; Henri Paul, and all for whom today's service rekindles memories of grief untimely borne.

    Lord, in certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life, we commend to you all who have lost loved ones in tragic circumstances. Give them comfort; renew their faith and strengthen them in the weeks and months ahead.

    Lord of the broken-hearted: Hear our prayer.

    For the princess's life and work:
    The princess will be especially missed by the many charities with which she identified herself. We recall those precious images: the affectionate cuddle of children in hospital; that touch of the young man dying of Aids; her compassion for those maimed through the evil of land mines -- and many more.

    Lord we pray for all who are weak, poor and powerless in this country and throughout the world; the sick, among them Trevor Rees-Jones; the maimed and all whose lives are damaged. We thank you for the way that Diana became a beacon of hope and a source of strength for so many. We commend to you all those charities that she supported. Strengthen the resolve of those who work for them to continue the good work begun with her.

    Lord of the suffering: Hear our prayer.

    For ourselves:
    ``And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.''

    As we reflect on the princess's compassion for others, we pray that we too may be inspired to serve as she served.

    Lord we thank you for Diana's commitment to others. Give us the same compassion and commitment. Give us a steadfast heart, which no unworthy thought can drag down; an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose can tempt aside. Grant us, O Lord, understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you, and a faithfulness that may bring us to your eternal kingdom.

    Lord of the compassionate: Hear our prayer.

    The choirsters:

    I would be true, for there are those that trust me.
    I would be pure, for there are those that care.
    I would be strong, for there is much to suffer.
    I would be brave, for there is much to dare.
    I would be friend of all, the foe, the friendless.
    I would be giving, and forget the gift,
    I would be humble, for I know my weakness,
    I would look up, laugh, love and live.
    -- Air from County Derry in G Petrie: The Ancient Music of Ireland (1853) Howard Arnold Walter.

    The archbishop:

    Therefore, confident in the love and mercy of God, holding a living faith in God's mighty resurrection power, we, the congregation here, those in the streets outside and the millions around the world, join one another and the hosts of heaven, as we say together, in whatever language we may choose, the prayer which Jesus taught us:

    The Lord's Prayer

    Our Father, who art in heaven,
    hallowed be thy Name.
    Thy kingdom come,
    thy will be done,
    on earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread.
    And forgive us our trespasses,
    as we forgive those who trespass against us.
    And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
    For thine is the kingdom, the power,
    and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

    The archbishop:

    The Final Blessing

    The God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, make you perfect in every good work to do his will: and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be with you and all whom you love, this day and for evermore. Amen.

    The Final Hymn

    Guide me, O thou great Redeemer,
    pilgrim through this barren land;
    I am weak, but thou art mighty;
    hold me with thy powerful hand:
    bread of heaven,
    feed me now and evermore.

    Open now the crystal fountain
    whence the healing stream doth flow;
    let the fiery cloudy pillar
    lead me all my journey through:
    strong deliverer,
    be thou still my strength and shield.

    When I tread the verge of Jordan,
    bid my anxious fears subside;
    death of death, and hell's destruction,
    land me safe on Canaan's side:
    songs and praises
    I will ever give to thee.
    -- Tune: Cwm Rhondda, John Hughes (1873-1932); text by W. Williams
    (1717-91) translated by P. Williams (1727-96) and others.

    Standing before the Catafalque the dean says:

    The Commendation

    Let us commend our sister Diana to the mercy of God, our maker and redeemer.
    Diana, our companion in faith and sister in Christ, we entrust you to God.
    Go forth from this world in the love of the Father, who created you;
    In the mercy of Jesus Christ, who died for you;
    In the power of the Holy Spirit, who strengthens you.
    At one with all the faithful, living and departed,
    may you rest in peace and rise in glory,
    where grief and misery are banished
    and light and joy evermore abide.

    Amen.

    Departure of the cortege while the choir sang:

    Alleluia. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.
    Remember me O lord, when you come into your kingdom.
    Give rest O Lord to your handmaid, who has fallen asleep.
    The choir of saints have found the well-spring of life, and door of paradise.
    Life: a shadow and a dream.
    Weeping at the grave creates the song:
    Alleluia. Come, enjoy rewards and crowns I have prepared for you.

    -- John Tavener (b. 1944) extracts from William Shakespeare: Hamlet, and the Orthodox Funeral Service.

    At the west end of the church, a moment's silence was observed while the cortege halted for the minute's silence, observed by the nation.

    Ringing of the half-muffled bells of the abbey church.

    Music After the Service

  • Prelude in C minor BWV 546,Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Maestoso, from Symphonie No.3, Camille Saint-Saens (1835-1921)
  • © Copyright 1997 The Associated Press

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