*

5 Things You Didn't Know About Princess Diana's Funeral

September 6, 1997, was a somber day across the world as over 2.5 billion people tuned in to watch the televised funeral of Princess Diana.  Here are 5 things you didn't know about Princess Diana's funeral and death...

*
ADVERTISEMENT

1. Diana Is Not Buried With Others From the Royal Family. # Princess Diana was known for both her style and her charity work. Photo credit: By Nick Parfjonov [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons. Diana's family was long associated with the Royal Family; in fact, Diana herself grew up on one of the Queen's many estates, and she was a childhood friend of the royal children. However, after her death, she was not buried in any resting places that the core royals would be buried despite her title. Instead, she is buried on her family's land on an island. She was originally going to be interred in a vault, but the island location provided more privacy and security.

2. Mother Teresa Died the Day Before Diana's Funeral. # Photo credit: By PaddyBriggs - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2105967. Diana was well-known for her charity work, which brought her into close contact with Mother Teresa many times. Oddly enough, Mother Teresa herself died on September 5, one day before the funeral. One of the objects buried with Diana is a set of rosary beads that Mother Teresa had given her.

*
ADVERTISEMENT

3. The Applause During Her Funeral Procession Gave Rise to One of the More Amusing Theories of the Time. A memorable part of the procession of the coffin was when the crowds lining the streets suddenly started applauding as the coffin went by. It was as if the public was telling Diana, "Well done; you did your best." But it turns out that the applause also confounded at least one newscaster because people had also applauded at Margaret Thatcher's funeral, but no one had really done it prior to Diana's. Winston Churchill's funeral, for example, was very quiet in that regard. The newscaster argued that the applause was due to a lack of hats -- instead of being able to remove a hat and signal your respect, hatless Britons now applauded. One guest on the program in which the newscaster made this claim said this could hold a grain of truth in that people do need to make a display of grief or respect, and applause may now be the easiest form of that gesture.

4. The Fatal Nature of the Accident Was Due to Actions of the Driver, the Paparazzi -- and Even Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed. The multiple inquests into Diana's death (both to determine the cause and to quash conspiracy theories about a hit job arranged by the Royal Family) found the driver, Henri Paul (who also died) to be mainly at fault because he was very drunk at the time. The paparazzi were also blamed because their actions to reach the car were reckless and created dangerous conditions. The deaths were even ruled to be "unlawful killings," which is the British version of what the U.S. judicial system calls manslaughter. But the fatal nature of the accident -- the fact that Diana and Al-Fayed died, rather than lived -- was put down partially to the fact that the two were not wearing seatbelts. Those seatbelts would not have prevented the accident, and Diana and Dodi were not at all to blame for the crash or the actions leading up to it. But the jury involved in the main inquest found that the lack of belt use was a factor in the two's deaths.

5. She Still Remains a Subject of Fascination -- Which Has Led to Questionable Moments. Understandably, Diana is still a fascinating personality, especially with the marriages of her two sons and speculation about how Diana might have gotten along with Meghan and Catherine. Unfortunately, this has also led to some outlets taking rather odd -- if not unwelcome -- steps. Newsweek, for example, created a digital photo of an aged Diana walking with Catherine, which was immediately called "creepy." The accompanying story was supposed to focus on what Diana would be like now, which itself isn't strange, but the photo stole the show in what was for many an unpleasant way.