In August 1997 I was in London visiting my parents, on holiday from Nigeria with my family. Prior to Diana’s death I had signed up for my son, who was eight at the time, to attend a summer activity and the location was not too far from Diana’s home. The day following her death was the day my son’s course began.

I remember there were lots of people in the Kensington area; flower shops were bare of flowers but fortunately we found a flower shop and bought a mixed bunch. We joined a number of people holding bunches of flowers, walking in unison to Diana’s home. A solitary balloon was tied to the Kensington Palace gates, and on the ground were more flowers. We placed our own flowers on the ground and stood with others, with their heads bowed to pay their respects. I believe we were there for fifteen minutes in silence. When we left and headed for the tube station, we met more people coming out of buses, more climbing out of the underground station and more on foot — all heading to the same place. It was as if they were attending a concert except their pace was slow and sombre.

I took my son to his activity and then we arrived to our home in the early evening. When I sat down to watch the TV, I was shocked at the volume of flowers that were now outside the gates. The balloon was still there except it was so far away from the public due to the sea of flowers. Like so many other people who were in deep shock, tears, strangely streaked my cheeks. Was I really crying for someone I did not know, or was I crying for myself? Crying for the all hurts I had experienced, for the mistakes I had made and worst of all, crying because I still had not made good the life which had been given to me.

My father who owned a news shop in Islington brought newspapers to the house. My mother volunteered to cook the children’s meals whilst I poured into every single article that was about Diana. Although I cried previously, I was now crying more. I did not realise she was so vulnerable, exposed, misunderstood and used. Her wealth and lineage was unimportant. The fact she was so open about her unhappiness was touching and relatable, that it forced me to forget her privileges. I was forced to see her stripped of any adornments, clearing the way to see her for what she was: a sensitive and caring human being. Her suffering and death humanised the Royal Family; it also made them to be vulnerable and to realise they cannot take the British public for granted. All of a sudden the whiff of revolution was in the air and smelling quite strong.

Next week I will be making my annual trip to London. I expect that as the country draws close to commemorate the day Diana died, they will be countless documentaries, articles, opinion pieces and so forth. I trust that as the country remembers Diana, we would have learnt during the last twenty years, there is nothing wrong in being vulnerable or sensitive. Diana’s death suddenly opened up and released a taut and reserved nation. I, for one, am happy about this change and hope that in next twenty years, we will realise more.

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7 thoughts on “Why was I crying?: Princess Diana, August 1997.

  1. Hi,
    I was a huge fan of hers. I still feel for her sons especially her youngest who I heard experimented with pot.
    The whole world mourned which was beautiful.
    met you at Jason’s blog party. I came to meet and greet you.
    Maybe you can check out my blog. I blog over at http://mostlyblogging.com
    I offer blogging tips. I also host six blog parties each month where you can meet new readers for your blog.
    Janice

    1. Hi Janice
      Thanks for responding and liking my article. Yes, Diana’s death was moving, a strange thing considering a lot of us did not know her, yet we were able to connect with her sadness because that was what we were feeling inside – I think.
      You mentioned before that we met at ‘Jason’s blog party’ but I can assure you, we didn’t. I no longer live in the UK but I visit London annually. As for blogging, yes I do this but my passion right now, is to write my memoir. The blogging I do, when I can’t think of what to write in my memoir or I’ve read something elsewhere which has triggered me to write something about it. By blogging, it helps me to keep on writing.

      Maggie

      1. OK. I see what you are saying. I’m smiling now as I thought you meant literally, we ‘met’ but no probs Janice, just happy to meet you. I’m also happy to visit your blog as there may be tips to me with my memoir writing. Take care

      2. I have published many posts about publishing e-books if you would find that helpful. I look forward to your visit to my blog.
        Janice

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