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On This Day: The world mourns the loss of Princess Diana

Princess Diana funeral
Hundreds of thousands of mourners lined the streets of London to watch Princess Diana's funeral procession. Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/AFP via Getty
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On this day 24 years ago, the funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales was held at Westminster Abbey in London.

Two thousand people attended the official ceremony in the famed church.

But the day started almost two hours before the ceremony.

At 9.08am, the tenor bell at the Abbey tolled to signal that Diana’s coffin had left Kensington Palace and was en route to St James’s Palace.

It was carried by gun carriage and eventually finished its journey at Diana’s final resting place in the grounds of Althorp Park, her family home.

For many, the scene that has stuck with them most over the years was when Prince William, aged 15, and a strikingly young-looking Prince Harry, aged 12, joined the procession alongside their father at St James’s Palace, as hundreds of thousands of mourners looked on.

A letter addressed to “Mummy” written by Prince Harry had been placed on top of the coffin alongside three wreaths of white flowers.

Years later, Prince William said walking behind his mother’s coffin was “one of the hardest things I’ve ever done”.

Prince Harry said that no child “should be asked to do that under any circumstances”.

princess diana funeral harry william
Prince William said walking behind his mother’s coffin was “one of the hardest things I’ve ever done”. Photo: Getty

More than 32 million Britons watched the event on live television – an audience that paled in comparison to the estimated global viewership of 2.5 billion people, according to the BBC.

At the time, that was nearly half the world’s population.

Those unable to line the streets of London on the day of the funeral remembered her in their own way, with mourners in the US holding candlelit vigils across the country, and two songwriters in Indonesia recording a special tribute to “the princess of all nations”.