With the 20-year anniversary of Princess Diana's tragic death just a matter of days away — falling on Thursday, Aug. 31 — now more than ever, the 36-year-old is being celebrated and remembered. Over the weekend, BBC reporter Jonathan Mayo retraced the harrowing aftermath, minute by minute, of Diana's death for the Daily Mail. Scroll down to read the most heartbreaking new revelations...
Diana's sons were always with her
According to Mayo, as Princess Diana's lifeless body lay in the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris awaiting collection from her ex-husband Prince Charles, the nurses retrieved a photo of her sons Prince William and Prince Harry from her purse and placed it in her hands. Thousands of miles away in Balmoral, England, her boys were waking up to the horrific news that their mother was dead.
In London, Diana's butler Paul Burrell was tasked with the grim job of having to select an outfit from Kensington Palace to take to Paris for Diana to wear on the somber journey home. "He picks up a set of rosary beads given to the Princess by Mother Teresa, which is draped over a small statue of the Virgin Mary and puts them in his pocket. Burrell then collects some of Diana’s make-up and places it in a leather Gladstone bag with a gold D on the side," Mayo wrote.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Burrell selected a wool, black, three-quarter cocktail dress and a pair of black shoes for his late boss. When he arrived at the hospital, he asked the nurses to place the sacred rosary beads in Diana's spare hand — the other held the photo of her beloved boys.
A teary Prince Charles gave his final goodbye
After traveling from London to Paris with Princess Diana's two sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, to retrieve her body, a weeping Prince Charles reportedly stood by Diana's bedside and bowed his head in prayer before asking to be left alone with the mother of his two children, Mayo claimed.
"He has been crying and looks a changed man," the report noted of a heartbroken Charles. When the hospital spokesperson Thierry Meresse offered that Charles could leave the hospital via a helicopter from the rooftop, he was resolute in his answer. "No, she arrived by car, so she will leave by car. There are people who love her waiting outside," he said. But the heir to the throne became flustered when he realized Diana was missing one of her earrings — which had fallen out in the wrecked car. "She can’t go without her second earring," he protested. A royal escort of cars then took Diana to the airport, to be brought home to England on the Royal Squadron Aircraft of the RAF.
One last tribute from William and Harry
Meanwhile in a new documentary called Diana: The Day Britain Cried, which is narrated by Kate Winslet, royal florist Lisa Webb revealed the touching way a then-15-year-old Prince William and 12-year-old Prince Harry helped farewell their mother. The enormous arrangement of white roses and lilies which sat on top of Diana's coffin, along with a handwritten note which was simply addressed to "Mummy," is an image forever linked to Diana's death. And it was the boys' vision. "The flowers were chosen by the princes," Webb said in the documentary.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)
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This post was written by Bella Brennan. It originally appeared on our sister site, Now to Love.