Princess Diana died in a car accident a long time ago, but people are still exceedingly interested in her. Many are intrigued by her story, so documentaries about her life keep coming up even after 20 years since her passing.
The latest factual film about the Princess of Wales exposes the details surrounding the seven-day preparation for her funeral in September of 1997. UK’s Channel 5 is airing the documentary Diana: 7 Days That Shook the Windsors on May 30 at 9 p.m. BST.
The program will reveal details of Princess Diana’s funeral that have never been published before. Behind-the-scenes stories of the moment when Britain learned about her death are featured as well.
Without a doubt, Princess Diana’s untimely demise created mayhem and left the Buckingham Palace in disarray. When everyone got over the shock, the royals, the Spencer family, the representatives from Number 10, and the police came together to plan and organize the princess’ national funeral, which was scheduled for September 6, 1997. They only had a week to arrange the whole event, and it was an intense seven days for everyone involved.
It was further narrated in the documentary that while the palace was busy, Prince William, 15, and Prince Harry, 12, remained unaware of their mother’s death. The royal family decided to wait until the next day to relay the sad news to the siblings.
The princes were with their grandmother in Balmoral, and the Queen ordered for the televisions and radios to be hidden so that the boys will not find out the shocking details of their mother’s fatal car crash. The Queen was simply afraid that her grandsons would be traumatized by the tragedy.
According to Diana: 7 Days That Shook the Windsors, Queen Elizabeth initially prohibited Prince Charles from taking the royal private plane to retrieve Diana’s body in Paris, but he was later allowed to go. Prince Harry also pleaded with his father to join the trip, but Prince Charles told him to stay at home.
It was Princess Diana’s butler, Paul Burrell, and chauffeur, Colin Tebbutt, who accompanied Prince Charles. Burell and Tebbutt shared that they had to make a temporary morgue for the princess because even in her death, the photographers were trying to get pictures.
“We looked up at the window above the Princess’s bed and could see people on rooftops, trying to take photos,” Tebbutt said. “It didn’t seem as if they knew which room to look for at that stage, and I asked for blankets to hang up at the window, so nobody could see in.”
They added that they were worried because the room was very hot and the layers of blankets on the window made the temperature worse. Tebbutt and Burell then used fans to cool down the room and Diana’s body.
Back in Britain, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and his adviser, Anji Hunter, revealed that there was great tension while the funeral was being planned. One of the issues they faced was the arrangement on who should walk behind the coffin.
Hunter said that the Spencer family caused “the most tension,” especially because they were very emotional. It was added that for days, they were still debating whether to include Prince Harry and Prince William in the funeral procession or not.
It was said that Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, expressed his desire to walk behind the coffin alone, but Prince Charles insisted that he should too. It was then decided that William and Harry should walk as well.
Another revelation that was divulged in the new Princess Diana documentary was the fact that Prince William originally refused to join the funeral procession, saying that he just want to “grieve privately.” He changed his mind at the last minute and walked alongside his uncle, brother, and father.
Princess Diana’s body was placed in a 50-stone lead-lined coffin, and the pallbearers had to practice carrying it before the actual funeral at Westminster Abbey.
“We got told we were going to try and simulate the weight with a kerb stone,” the Daily Mail quoted Phil Bartlett, one of her pallbearers, as saying. “We were wearing metal studs and the Abbey’s marble floor was like an ice skating rink.”
Princess Diana’s funeral was watched by millions of people worldwide, and more than 2,000 gathered around Westminster to bid goodbye to Britain’s most loved princess. Her body was laid to rest in Althorp near the Spencers’ family home.
[Featured Image by Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images]