Queen Elizabeth II went under intense scrutiny due to her reaction to Princess Diana’s passing. This moment is considered a highly critical one in over six decades of the Queen’s reign.
Princess Diana’s shocking passing came with a series of history-making events. These include a surge in the number of TVs that were turned on for the news.
And memorably, the backlash that Queen Elizabeth II received from the royal fans following her delayed reaction to her former daughter-in-law’s death. Here’s all that happened in that sensitive period.
The Royal Family Learned Of Diana’s Death
The day Lady Diana, the Princess Of Wales, died was a terrible one not just for the members of the royal family, but for the world at large. This was because the late princess was loved by most if not all.
Diana died on August 31, 1997, just after midnight in Paris. An hour after the tragic accident that took her life happened, the royal household was informed, except her children, Princes Williams, and Prince Harry.
At the time, the family was at Queen Elizabeth’s holiday home, Balmoral Castle. However, insiders have shared that the Queen’s reaction after her private secretary called from the palace was unexpected.
The Queen’s immediate statement was that someone must have greased the brakes of the car Princess Diana rode in. Diana’s ex-husband, Prince Charles, was instantly thrown into a state of unrest.
Charles was reportedly worried that he would be blamed for her passing. He however wasted no time in making plans for Diana’s body to be brought back home.
He also got ready to travel to Paris and retrieve her body. The Queen tried to stop him, but Charles believed it was the right thing to do. Little Prince Harry, who was 12, pleaded to go with his dad, but he was said to be too young for such.
The World Mourned Diana’s Painful Exit
In contrast to the seemingly mixed reaction among the British royals, the people mourned the painful exit of the beloved princess. In less than two days, flowers and different items of memorials were in a pile in London.
The-then prime minister Tony Blair, who was four months in office, gave a touching public address. He had outlined Princess Diana’s legacy and what she meant to the public.
Blair wrote: “She was a wonderful, and a warm, human being. Though her own life was often sadly touched by tragedy, she touched the lives of so many others, in Britain, throughout the world, with joy and with comfort.”
After Blair’s address, the world waited for the Queen’s public address. However, emotions were already brewing into anger for the lukewarm approach the royal family applied to the Princess of Wales’s death.
There were several reasons why people were angry, and one was because the royal standard flag was not lowered to half-mast. However, the royal house caved in to the demand of the people after much pressure.
Another was because Queen Elizabeth II did not immediately return from Balmoral; many felt she should have been back in London a few days later to console her people. While the Queen was absent, vigils were held in honor of the beloved royal.
Queen Elizabeth II Finally Shares a Public Address
Five days after Diana’s death, the Queen returned to London. While many criticized her for the delayed response, the Queen’s first cousin and close pal, Margaret Rhodes, shared that she had done the appropriate thing.
Rhodes stated that the Queen chose to remain in Balmoral Scotland with her young grandsons to help them with the burden of losing their mom. She added that it was what any loving granny would have done.
The Queen ultimately gave her public speech at the Chinese dining area of Buckingham Palace. She described Diana as “an exceptional and gifted human being.” Her address further read:
“This week at Balmoral, we have all been trying to help William and Harry come to terms with the devastating loss that they and the rest of us have suffered.”
The Queen acknowledged those who died alongside Diana in the fatal car accident. She also praised Diana, noting that she was someone who “made many, many people happy.”
Diana’s impact, just as the Queen described, did bring happiness into the lives of millions across Europe and Africa, and it is safe to say her legacy lives on. As of July 2021, Princess Diana’s statue was erected in the palace’s Sunken Garden to honor her 60th posthumous birthday.