Stung by criticism, queen to address Britons
September 5, 1997
Web posted at: 10:24 a.m. EDT (1424 GMT)
LONDON (CNN) -- Queen Elizabeth II plans to address
grief-stricken Britons Friday about the death of Princess
Diana, perhaps marking one of the most difficult moments of
her 45-year reign.
The queen, with her husband, Prince Philip, and accompanied
by her sister, Princess Margaret, left Balmoral castle in
Scotland and arrived in London Friday -- a day earlier than
Buckingham Palace said the 6 p.m. (1700 GMT/1 p.m. EDT)
broadcast would be live, which is highly unusual.
It will be only the second time, apart from traditional
Christmas broadcasts that are prerecorded, that the queen has
addressed her country on radio or television. The first
instance was in February 1991, after the Gulf War.
"The queen felt that this was the most appropriate way of
conveying her message," a palace spokesman said.
The broadcast follows stinging criticism that the royal
family has remained silent and aloof following Sunday's car
crash that killed Diana, her boyfriend and their driver.
The palace said, in an unusually personal announcement, that
the widespread criticism had hurt the queen.
In another first, the queen walked among mourners Friday outside Buckingham Palace and the palace reported she would sign a book of condolence at St.
James's Palace, where Diana's body is.
Also, for the first time, the queen has ordered that the
Union Jack flag replace the monarch's personal flag, the
blue, red and gold Royal Standard, atop Buckingham Palace on
Saturday. It will fly at half-staff all day, another first.