Diana's funeral Saturday at Westminster Abbey
Royal family plans 'unique funeral for a unique person'
September 1, 1997
Web posted at: 9:13 a.m. EDT (1313 GMT)
- Burial to be near family home
- Body will not lie in state
- Condolences but no public viewing
- Related stories and sites
LONDON (CNN) -- The funeral for Princess Diana will be held on Saturday at Westminster Abbey, befitting her status as the mother of a future king, but she will not receive the state funeral usually reserved for kings and queens. Her body will not lie in state beforehand.
A L S O :
Diagram of the crash
A Unique Funeral:
CNN's Margaret Lowrie reports that Diana's funeral will be a unique one, for a unique person.
The Spencer Family:
CNN's Brett Sadler tells the history of the family from which Diana came.
A Nation Mourns:
CNN's Richard Blystone shows a nation of mourners...they come not from the social set where Diana moved, but from the set moved by her.
Japan's Imperial Family:
In Japan, as CNN's Jackie Shymanski reports, the press is kept at a polite distance from their Imperial Family.
Diana will be buried in a private service at Althorp, the stately home of her family, the Spencers, in central England, 60 miles (100 km) northwest of London.
For more than 24 hours after Diana's death in a Paris car accident Sunday, Buckingham Palace deliberated between a state funeral and a private ceremony.
On Monday, the palace announced arrangements that balanced public desire to pay tribute to the princess with private grief for the woman considered part of the royal family despite her divorce last year from Prince Charles.
Asked whether the funeral would be a full state occasion, a palace spokesman said: "The status is irrelevant. This is a unique funeral for a unique person." There is no ceremonial precedent for the death of a divorced wife of the heir to the throne.
Condolences but no public viewing
At the request of both the royal family and the Spencers, the coffin will lie privately in front of the altar of the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace until the funeral. The palace is Prince Charles' home.
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"It was her own situation that trapped her," says Ingrid Seward of Majesty Magazine
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"Helping everybody, trying to be happy..."
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"She could relate to people of all levels..."
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"She was a breath of fresh air..."
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Four books of condolence will be opened at St. James's Palace for mourners to pay tribute to Diana. "Although there is no lying in state, obviously we want to ensure that as many of the public who wish to can share in the grieving," a palace spokeswoman said.
Flags will be flown at half-staff across Britain up to and on the day of the funeral.
Diana's coffin will be carried in procession through central London from the Chapel Royal to Westminster Abbey on the morning of the funeral service, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (6 a.m. EDT).
Westminster Abbey, the central London church consecrated in the 11th century, is where the 1,000 year-old British monarchy has traditionally crowned and buried its dead.
Members of the two families will travel separately to Althorp where Diana will be buried later in the day.
Royal funerals traditionally fall into three categories:
The state funeral is usually for sovereigns alone, but on rare occasions has been arranged to honor exceptionally distinguished people such as Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, and in 1965 Sir Winston Churchill.
- A "ceremonial royal funeral" is for members of the royal family with high military rank, for the sovereign's consort (spouse of a reigning monarch) and the heir to the throne.
- Private royal funerals are for all other members of the royal family, their spouses and their children.
Diana, 36, died after an evening out in Paris with boyfriend Dodi Fayed. Fayed, whose father owns Harrods Ltd., and the car's driver, Henry Paul, 41, were also killed in the crash. The Egyptian-born Fayed was buried late on Sunday at Brookwood cemetery, 25 miles southwest of London after a funeral service at a London mosque.
Trevor Rees-Jones, a bodyguard also riding in the car, survived with serious injuries. He remained in intensive care in a Paris hospital where his condition was described as grave but not life-threatening.
Throughout Sunday night and into Monday morning, carpets of flowers lay outside Buckingham Palace and Diana's Kensington Palace residence and small groups of mourners held candlelight vigils.
Correspondents Siobhan Darrow, Margaret Lowrie and Reuters contributed to this report.