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ugust 2017 marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The fact that so many people, her sons included, have finally chosen to speak out about her is testament to her legacy.

   Twenty years ago, Majesty was reporting how the Princess was enjoying herself with William and Harry in St Tropez as a guest of Mohamed Al Fayed, having just completed the historic sale of her dresses in New York. The trip to the south of France caused a great deal of controversy because of Al Fayed’s alleged involvement with the Tory ‘cash for questions’ saga, and some deemed him an unwise choice for the Princess and her sons.

   Diana was lambasted for accepting his considerable largesse: private jets, helicopters, speedboats, yachts and a posse of bodyguards that could not keep the paparazzi away. The media attention was such that photographs of the Princess made headline news every day.

   At the same time as Diana’s penultimate trip to France, the Prince of Wales was hosting a party at Highgrove to mark the 21st birthday of the Prince’s Trust and thank everyone concerned. The other issue making news was whether the Prince and Mrs Parker Bowles should be able to marry. Some 78 per cent of Majesty readers felt Camilla deserved little sympathy and saw her as the ‘other’ woman who came between the Princess and her chance of happiness with Charles.

   The Queen had made it clear to friends that she understood Camilla was in an unenviable position, but considered the idea of her marrying her eldest son was out of the question. How things change.

   That summer things moved with lightning speed and Diana broke into her final summer holiday to visit Bosnia for three days to meet people injured by landmines. This time she kept away from the minefields and spent her time visiting the many victims. Her work led to an international ban on the use of anti-personnel mines and in December 1997 122 governments signed the treaty in Ottawa, Canada.

   This is very much part of her legacy and something she would have been extremely proud of.

   William and Harry, her other main source of pride, have given only two television interviews in which they talk about their mother, but as part of the promotion of their Heads Together mental health campaign they have revealed their feelings about losing a parent so suddenly and so young. Harry has also spoken about how he sees the monarchy in the future. His outpourings have been interpreted in many ways, but it is certain that the reins of monarchy will be pulled in a very different direction once William is King.

   Of course, many of the traditions will remain in place, the annual summer sojourn when the court moves to Balmoral being one of them. Diana told me that it was William’s favourite place on earth because he felt completely free there and at one with nature.


 
 
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