Diana, the Boys, and Britain: Two Families Voice Views
Excerpts from the address by Queen Elizabeth II to her nation on Friday, Sept. 5:
Since last Sunday's dreadful news, we have seen throughout Britain and around the world an expression of overwhelming sadness at Diana's death.
We have all been trying in our different ways to cope. It is not easy to express a sense of loss since the initial shock is often succeeded by a mixture of other feelings - disbelief, incomprehension, anger and concern for those who remain.
We have all felt those emotions in the last few days. What I say to you now, as a queen and a grandmother, I say from my heart. First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness.
I admired and respected her for her energy and her commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys.
This week at Balmoral we have all been trying to help William and Harry to come to terms with the devastating loss that they and the rest of us have suffered.
I, for one, believe there are lessons to be drawn from her life and the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death. I share in your determination to cherish her memory.
This is also an opportunity for me on behalf of my family, and especially Prince Charles and William and Harry, to thank all of you who have brought flowers, sent messages, and paid your respects in so many ways to a remarkable person. These acts of kindness have been a huge source of help and comfort.
Our thoughts are also with Diana's family and the families of those who died with her. I know that they too have drawn strength from what has happened since last weekend as they seek to heal their sorrow and then to face the future without a loved one.
I hope that tomorrow we can all, wherever we are, join in expressing our grief for Diana's loss and gratitude for her all-too-short life. It is a chance to show to the whole world the British nation united in grief and respect.
Excerpts from the address by the 9th Earl Spencer at the funeral Sept. 6 of his sister Diana, Princess of Wales:
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.
It is a tribute to her levelheadedness 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
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.
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.