NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Twenty years ago Thursday, Diana, Princess of Wales, was killed in a car crash in Paris.
On Aug. 31, 1997, the 36-year-old princess was killed in a car crash in Paris, along with two others. As Gavin Ramjaun reported, the feelings for Princess Diana still remain strong 20 years later.
“I remember waking up in the morning hearing my mum screaming from the bedroom, because she was in shock. She’d just heard the news,” one man said.
The news sent shockwaves around the globe, and now two decades later many are still grieving the death of the “People’s Princess.”
Princes William and Harry were just 15 and 12 when they walked through crowds of mourners who brought bouquets.
On the eve of the anniversary, princes William and Harry brought flowers and thanked well-wishers who came to remember their mother.
“I wouldn’t let it break me. I wanted it to make me,” Prince William told the BBC. “I wanted her to be proud of the person I would become. I didn’t want her worried.”
Princess Diana’s former home at Kensington Palace has once again become a shrine to her life. After her death, the palace was flooded with flowers and tributes.
“The smell of the flowers was almost too much — banks and banks of flowers. It was just wonderful,” said Lynda Rose of London. “And the funeral, and the processions — it was just something that I don’t think we’ll ever experience again with anybody else.”
Perry Trethaway from New York City visited one of memorials in London Thursday. She was in fourth grade when she learned Diana had died.
“When I think of her I see her with the little boys William and Harry and I just remember thinking she was such a lovely mother,” Trethaway said.
In Paris Thursday, mourners also paid respects at a memorial above the tunnel where Diana died in a high-speed car chase.
Investigators ruled driver Henri Paul was drunk and speeding when he slammed the Mercedes into a concrete pillar.
Former bodyguard Ken Wharfe was in charge of Diana’s protection in the 1980s. He believes security mistakes were made that fateful night.
“I think there were some very basic errors of professional judgement here, by allowing a man that wasn’t qualified or trained to drive a vehicle — allowing that person then to drive at those sort of speeds,” Wharfe said.
Princess Diana was one of the most famous women in the world thrust into the spotlight at just 19 when she got engaged to Britain’s Prince Charles.
Over the next 17 years, she became the most photographed woman and some, including her sons, believe the paparazzi, who hounded her in Paris the night of the car crash, are partly to blame for her death.
“The people that chased her into the tunnel were the same people that were taking photographs of her while she was still dying on the back seat of the car,” Prince Harry said.
Royal biographer Ingrid Seward says two decades after Diana’s death, it’s much harder for the press to gain access to the monarchy.
“They loathe the media and they loathe us all, I can assure you. There’s no such thing as friends within the media,” Seward said.
Along with Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and driver Paul were killed in the crash. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones survived.