Princess Diana, “the people’s princess”, died 20 years ago today when the car carrying her and her lover Dodi Fayed crashed in a Paris tunnel shortly after midnight after being pursued by paparazzi on motorbikes.
Despite being children, it was a day many of us remember for its sheer sense of magnitude. The cartoons on telly early that Sunday morning were interrupted for the rolling news coverage our parents watched in shock and sadness, a sea of flowers flooded the gates of Kensington Palace and the national outpouring of grief brought the country to a standstill. It seems like forever ago and yesterday at once.
Diana’s sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, have been speaking about their mother more openly ahead of the anniversary, revealing what a fun and loving mother she was and expressing their hope that she would be proud of the men they have become.
To celebrate her life and legacy, here is just a handful of some of her most memorable quotes – inspirational, humorous, compassionate – that best convey the dazzling gem of a woman so many people say she was:
“The greatest problem in the world today is intolerance. Everyone is so intolerant of each other.”
“Everyone of us needs to show how much we care for each other and in the process care for ourselves.”
“They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?”
“Anywhere I see suffering, that is where I want to be, doing what I can.”
“If men had to have babies, they would only ever have one each.”
“If you find someone you love in your life, you must hang onto it and look after it, and if you were lucky enough to find someone who loved you, then you must protect it.”
“I like to be a free spirit. Some don’t like that, but that’s the way I am.”
“Only do what your heart tells you.”
“I want my boys to have an understanding of people’s emotions, their insecurities, people’s distress and their hopes and dreams.”
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.”
“I was a rebel. I always did the dares. I always did the opposite of everyone else. I wasn’t academically interested at all, I just wanted to be with people and have fun and look after people.”
“People think that at the end of the day a man is the only answer. Actually, a fulfilling job is better for me.”