They wanted to say goodbye to someone they felt they knew.
Thousands of people left messages and a field of flowers at Kensington Palace, Princess Diana's London home; stood in line for hours to sign a book of condolences at St. James's Palace, where her body lay before the funeral; performed the equivalent task by signing a guest book on the Internet; or wrote a few brief words at British embassies and consulates around the world.
One wreath of white flowers outside the consulate in New York stood 7 feet high. Another 150 bouquets were scattered on the sidewalk. There were nearly 50 memorial candles and 24 photos of the princess. The numbers grew by the hour.
Maybe they had wanted to marry a prince themselves. Or they have children of their own. Or they admired the causes Diana adopted. Or they wanted to offer a prayer.
The Light of Britain has been extinguished.
- Christine and Syd
For all the love you so selflessly gave, I pray that the angels hugged you with their wings, filled your soul with all our love as they carried you to Heaven, where you will be embraced and loved forever.
You left your mark of excellence with this world and you left your legacy with Will and Henry. Thank you.
- Jan Wilcox, Washington
Thank you for treating us like human beings not criminals. You were one in a million.
- David Hayes and all the lads in H. M. Prison, Dartmoor
Please accept my heartfelt sympathies. I will continue to pray for Allah's mercy for you."
- Abdus Mohammed, New York
Kids will miss you now. Kids will love you in their hearts. Your sons will miss you. We know you're with God now.
- Kid Jordan Lovinger,
I cannot express my sadness with words. All I can do is tell you how you touched my heart. We are almost the same age and I was looking forward to seeing you grow into old age with me. You had so much ahead of you and it just doesn't seem fair. I want you to know that tomorrow I am going to an AIDS clinic for children in Washington Heights and I am volunteering my time to keep your traditions alive, even while you are not.
- Kim Reinle, New York
God Saved the Queen, But God Took the Princess.
I had the pleasure of seeing you and shaking your hand when I was studying in Scotland back in the spring of 1991. It was such a thrill for me to see you and hear your voice in person. You were more beautiful than you were in photographs or on television. Your sense of style, elegance and grace were an inspiration to all women. More importantly, however, were your devotion to your children and to unfortunate people across the world. I am sorry for the sad times and intrusions into your personal life and hope that perhaps you are happiest now. God bless you.
- Kimberly Dawson Wroblewski, Washington
We wanted to be British so we could truly claim you as "our" princess, but you made us and the world feel as if you really were our very own royalty, no matter the nationality.
- David James Ferrier, Sgt.,
U.S. Marine Corps, Washington
[Hung below an apple:]
An apple for a teacher. We learned more from you than any book could have taught us. You held the hand of the sick, while opening our eyes to the problems of the world. And you reminded us that heroes don't shoot hoops. They hope to make a difference. YOU made a difference!
Once our princess, now our angel.
Becky, Tori and Kristal, Washington
Thank you for helping children less fortunate than me.
Daniel, Kensington Palace
So much grief, and so many flowers laid in memory. But if only the money spent on flowers, which will quickly fade, had been given to a lasting charity in memory of the Princess, so much good could have been done.
- Peter A. Rushforth,
a letter to The Times of London
Dear William and Henry:
May you know that your mother was a fine, classy and elegant woman who will never be forgotten.
To an Exquisite Lady, who had the ability to make a difference in the world and actually did: The world loves you and will look after your boys.
Frederik Anderson, New York
Dear Princess Diana,
I love you so much
- Sallud (age 5), Washington
With the shock of thunder
In the glimpse of an eye
Our hearts torn asunder
The Queen of Hearts has died.
We saw a shy young girl
So filled with hope
Turned into a strong-willed woman
Just trying to cope.
Has all the pain fled,
With all the flashes gone away?
All the words now said
How I wish you had stayed.
You will be missed
-Christopher Elin, New York
I'm so sorry for your fatal accident. Thank you for being just the way you are. You were both vulnerable and strong. And, as everyone says, you were very real. And as someone just recently said, you were (and will remain) a shining light in your country, my country and the world.
You were a wonderful mother, and you have left many gifts with them, your children. They will thrive on those so generously given gifts of love. May God take special care of your children.
I give you a red rose for your royalty, a white rose for your innocence and purity of heart, and a yellow rose for your friendship to all people. God bless you, Diana - you are a joy and a delight, and always will be.
Nancy Brutsche, Washington
Sweet loving memories of a warm and beautiful woman. Our deepest sympathy to England all together in this woman.
An American Tory,
Princess Diana, you were a radiant and beautiful flower cut from the garden much too early."
Rosemary, New York
Pub Date: 9/07/97