Bored Lad

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

Princess Diana’s Funeral And The Hidden Turmoil


- Advertisement -

Did you know that it one of the most watched events in history with two billion people tuning in worldwide and two thousand attending the ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

However, the details of the tense preparations for Princess Diana’s funeral are set to be revealed for the first time in a Channel 5 documentary Diana: 7 Days That Shook The Windsors.

With a week for the funeral, tensions ran high as the royals battled with Downing Street over arrangements, such as whether William and Harry should walk behind the coffin, while the older Prince refused to take part.

The documentary reveals how Paul Burrell and Diana’s chauffeur Colin Tebbutt had to set up a make-shift morgue when they went to Paris to collect her body from the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, bringing in fans to keep the August heat at bay and hanging blankets on the windows to prevent photographs.

When Diana’s death reached the royals at morning, they decided to delay telling William, 15, and Harry, 12, who were holidaying with the Queen at Balmoral, rather than waking them with the tragic news that would change their lives forever.

The monarch was so worried about the boys hearing traumatising details of their mother’s death, she ordered that all TVs and radios be hidden. When the boys were told the heartbreaking news, Harry begged his father to let him accompany him to Paris to collect her body, but was made to stay behind.

‘The most tension in the room always came from Charles Spencer’s people,’ she revealed.

The programme will claim Earl Spencer wanted to walk alone behind Diana’s coffin, but Prince Charles was adamant that he should join the procession.

But William wanted to grieve privately.

Hoping to persuade William to change his mind, five days before the funeral on September 6, the team set up a telephone conference call with Balmoral via a big loudspeaker box on their conference table.

‘I can remember — it sends a tingle up my back, actually,’ says Hunter. ‘We were all talking about how William and Harry should be involved and suddenly from this box came Prince Philip’s voice.

‘We hadn’t heard from him before, but he was really anguished.

‘It’s about the boys,’ he cried, ‘They’ve lost their mother.’

‘I thought, “My God, there’s a bit of suffering going on up there”.’

Meanwhile, Diana’s chauffeur Colin Tebbutt also talks on camera for the first time about what really happened in the hospital room when he and the Princess’s butler, Paul Burrell, arrived in Paris to collect her body.

‘I was worried about the room, which was very, very hot,’ he said.

‘We looked up at the window above the Princess’s bed and could see people on rooftops, trying to take photos.

‘It didn’t seem as if they knew which room to look for at that stage, and I asked for blankets to hang up at the window, so nobody could see in.’

‘I noticed her hair was moving — which was the breeze from the fans of course.

‘But for just a fraction of a second I thought, ‘Is she alive?’ which was a silly thing to think.

‘Having been on top of everything until then, I had to turn away and take 30 seconds to myself, as a personal emotional moment.’

‘Diana always had a mobile phone in her handbag, so I rang her phone and it rang and rang and rang, and I thought “it’s very strange because she always answers her phone”,’ he recalled.

Recalling the moment he saw the royal’s body at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, he said: ‘I honestly thought, entering that room and looking at her, “She is not really dead, it’s just a joke, a very silly joke and you can wake up”.’

According to Diana’s private secretary the officials hurried to make arrangements for the funeral, they were worried they wouldn’t have enough people to fill Westminster Abbey.

‘There was no rule book to go to, no precedent, no tradition, nothing fitted the royal game plan,’ he said.

‘I remember saying if you get hold of a guest list for the Princess’ Christmas drinks in 1995, invite everybody on that guest list and you won’t have missed out anybody important.’

However, there was no problem with 2,000 people attending.