World of tears lays Diana to rest

By Audrey Woods Associated Press Published:

Before her last journey north, to a private burial in the tranquility of her ancestral home, Diana's loyal brother lashed out at the media that hurt her, and at a royal family in which she starred in "the most bizarre life imaginable."

And before she was lowered into that solitary grave, reportedly with a rosary from Mother Teresa, the British people in their millions poured out their hearts in a final farewell _ in the cool morning outside her Kensington Palace home, in the sparkling midday sun at Westminster Abbey, on London's boulevards and grand plazas.

They cried at the courage of Prince William, 15, and Prince Harry, 12, as they walked behind their mother's funeral cortege.

They sang along with hymns of old and Elton John's new version of "Candle in the Wind," a pop hymn for "England's rose" that made her boys weep.

But mostly they stood and watched and reflected on the tragedy that snatched this imperfect heroine the Princess of Wales from their lives, in the senseless wreck of a car just six days earlier.

"It is such a shame that we could not have done this for her in life," said one man outside Kensington Palace, "so she could have known how we felt."

Diana died in Paris Sunday with her new millionaire boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, when their car crashed as it fled at high speed from celebrity photographers. Ten paparazzi are being investigated for possible roles in their deaths. But blame fell, too, on the couple's driver, also killed, who was found to be legally drunk.

In the age-old tradition of a 1,000-year-old monarchy, the day was well scripted. But it was the one text that didn't appear in the pre-published program _ the eulogy by the Earl Spencer _ that electrified the mourners within and without the ancient abbey.

As he stood near Diana's coffin in hallowed Westminster Abbey, he ripped into the newspapers and photographers who had made her "the most hunted person of the modern age."

"There is no doubt that she was looking for a new direction in her life at this time," Spencer said. "She talked endlessly of getting away from England, mainly because of the treatment she received at the hands of the newspapers.

"I don't think she ever understood why her genuinely good intentions were sneered at by the media. ... My own, and only, explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum."

Listening to loudspeakers or watching on giant TV screens in London's parks, the crowds of commoners applauded, some holding their clapping hands high in emphatic agreement. Inside the royal church, the congregation joined in.

Diana herself had confessed to exasperation with her homeland in an interview just two weeks ago, in the Paris newspaper Le Monde.

"Any sane person would have left long ago," she said of Britain. "But I cannot. I have my sons."

Diana may have tired of England, but the kingdom and the world had not tired of Diana, the devotion evident in the mounds of bouquets outside palaces, the long waits to write a word of sympathy, the sobs of many along the way.

Flowers thrown by the crowds piled up on the hearse, at one point obstructing the driver's vision and bringing the northbound procession to a halt to clear the windshield.

Hundreds of thousands of people pressed around the abbey, joining in the funeral service of a shining 36-year-old woman most had never met but all had taken as their personal royal.

That popularity was an enormous burden, and Spencer vowed that Diana's sons _ second and third in line to the British throne _ would grow up as she had wished.

While Queen Elizabeth II, Diana's former husband Prince Charles, and all the senior members of the royal family listened, he said Diana's "blood family" would strive to protect the young princes "so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition but can sing openly as you planned."

At the close of the services, at 12:06 p.m., the nation fell silent for a minute.

For the last mile of the procession from Kensington Palace to the abbey, Charles and his father, Prince Philip, had joined Spencer and the two young princes in walking behind the horse-drawn gun carriage that bore Diana's coffin.

Five hundred charity workers, some of them handicapped and struggling with crutches, joined the cortege, representing the millions of "ordinary people" with whom Diana had forged such a bond.

The tenor bell at Westminster Abbey began tolling once every minute as six Irish draught horses from The King's Troop, Royal Horse Artillery, set off from Kensington Palace at 9:08 a.m. (4:08 a.m. EDT). The coffin was covered with flowers and draped in the monarch's flag, the Royal Standard. One bouquet bore a card reading simply, "Mummy."

At least a million people had pressed into the center of London to pay their respects, and hundreds of thousands more lined roads along the way to the burial site at the family estate in Northamptonshire.

Charles, who was divorced from Diana a year ago after a turbulent 15-year marriage and painfully public separation, was one of the 10 people invited to attend the private family burial service on an island in an ornamental lake at Althorp Park, the Spencer family home.

A spokeswoman for Spencer said the family had no intention of releasing details about the final ceremonies.

But The Sunday Telegraph reported Diana was buried in a formal, long-sleeved black dress she had bought a few weeks ago but never worn, and with a rosary that was a gift from Mother Teresa, who died Friday.

The queen, who returned to her Scottish Balmoral estate after the funeral, paid tribute to her former daughter-in-law in a rare live broadcast to the nation on Friday.

Following increasingly vehement complaints by the tabloids and some of the public about the isolation of the royal family, the queen returned early to London, talked with mourners assembled at Buckingham Palace and agreed to fly the national flag there at half-staff on Saturday for the first time in history.

The monarch bowed her head as Diana's coffin passed the gates of Buckingham Palace on the way to the abbey. Her son Prince Andrew was one of the few other family members to take her cue and lower their heads.

The turmoil flowing from Diana's death left new doubts about the future

of the House of Windsor. It found itself diminished and scorned in

comparison to her, yet Diana's aura may strengthen the monarchy in the

person of William. To millions of Britons, this awkward, blond and

smiling boy is the very picture of the princess they have just

buried.

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