Blair proposes permanent Diana memorial
Thousands continue mourning
September 7, 1997
Web posted at: 1:00 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT)
LONDON (CNN) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Sunday that England should create a permanent memorial to Princess Diana, and he called on Britain to channel its grief into
creating a better Britain.
"Let her legacy be compassion; let us be a better and more
compassionate Britain," Blair said.
And in an interview Sunday with David Frost, Blair said he
had envisioned a role for Princess Diana as a humanitarian
envoy for Britain before her sudden death in a car crash a
"She had a tremendous ability, as we saw over the land mines
issue. to enter into an area that could have been one of
controversy and suddenly just clarify for people what was
clearly the right thing to do," Blair said on "BBC Breakfast
with Frost." "I felt there were all sorts of ways that could
have been harnessed and used for the good of people."
Elton John: Leave princes alone
Pop star Elton John, whose revision of his song "Candle in
the Wind" moved mourners worldwide when he performed it at
Diana's funeral, also appeared on the BBC program. He
admitted using a teleprompter at Saturday's service to make
sure he wouldn't slip into the original lyrics of the song,
written as an elegy to movie star Marilyn Monroe.
And he said that while entertainers are pursued by the media,
they have little to complain about in comparison to Diana.
"What I go through and what they (other stars) go through is
nothing to what she went through. I just hope they leave
Prince Harry and Prince William alone," he said.
Floral tributes still coming
Thousands of people congregated Sunday outside Kensington
Palace, Diana's last home, not yet ready to let go after her
elaborate funeral a day earlier.
They left new flowers on the ocean already there and formed
long, patient lines to write in condolence books.
With the waist-high fields of floral tributes outside
Kensington still growing, officials said fresh flowers will
be given to homes for the elderly and hospitals at the
request of Diana's family.
Dead flowers will be turned into compost to grow new plants
in Kensington Gardens. A government announcement said the
cleanup will not start before Tuesday.
British press introspective
The defiant words of a eulogy from Diana's brother, Earl
Spencer, condemning the monarchy as stodgy and the media as
hunters who pursued Diana to death, continued to resonate
through the country. Would the passing of the "people's
princess" change the monarchy, or the media?
While photographs of Diana still plastered the front pages of
British newspapers Sunday, senior media officials and
newspaper writers admitted that for them, life after Diana
could never be the same.
In an editorial on Sunday, the Independent said newspapers
could not excuse their actions by saying they were giving the
public what it wanted. It would be like a parent allowing
children to eat all the sweets they could, and arguing that
it was what the child wanted, the paper said.
"But that also reveals an underlying truth. In our dealings
with Diana we behaved like children and we never had enough
of her. The paparazzi were chasing her on our behalf last
Sunday morning because we did not know when to stop," the
The Observer also called for a "new balance" in newspaper
ethics and said regulations should be passed to give
celebrities some protection from media intrusion.
But Blair told BBC he had never been convinced that privacy
laws would be proper or even useful. "It requires a degree of
acceptance of what is proper conduct -- and not -- towards
people," Blair said.
|Blair comments on "change"...
264K/27 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
Blair also defended the monarchy, saying it constantly adapts
to new realities. "Prince Charles' generation is not the
same as his mother's, and William and Harry are obviously
very much children of today," he said.
At St. Mary the Virgin Church near where Diana is now buried,
Rev. David MacPherson had some words of consolation for those
still mourning the princess.
"She is not here," MacPherson said. "She is with the Lord.
You can be with her anywhere in the world."
Correspondent Bill Delaney contributed to this report.