When Princess Diana died, the nation, as well as the entire world, was shocked and in utter disbelief. The Queen, seen as a beacon of light in a bleak world, wasn’t seen out in the open grieving as the people needed her to be. There are numerous reasons why the public was upset with the monarchy in the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death.
The Royal Family was secluded after Princess Diana’s death
During the first week after Princess Diana’s death, the Royal Family stayed isolated at Balmoral. The people wanted to see them grieve openly as the nation and the entire world seemed to be doing. The public couldn’t understand why the Royal Family was handling things the way they were.
According to Andrew Morton’s biography of the Princess, Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words, the public was “irritated” in more than one way. “The public were irritated in a number of small ways; the police at first refused to allow bouquets to be placed outside Buckingham Palace where the Union Flag, unlike those on almost every other public building in Britain, was not even flying at half mast,” Morton wrote.
Where was the Queen?
People were upset that the Queen, in particular, wasn’t in London in the wake of Diana’s death. She did eventually address the nation, which seemed to calm people’s hearts and minds. The televised appearance was in tribute to the “People’s Princess” and captivated the people.
“We have all felt those emotions in these last few days. So what I say to you now as your Queen and as a grandmother, I say from the heart,” the Queen said. “First, I want to pay tribute to Diana, myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her for her energy and commitment to others, especially for her devotion to her two boys.”
The Queen probably ‘regrets’ her reaction
Penny Junor, a royal biographer and author of The Firm, wrote that the Queen probably “regrets” her initial reaction to Diana’s untimely death. “I suspect she regrets her instincts during that week after Diana’s death, too,” Junor wrote. “She thought that the answer to the mass hysteria was to stay calm and to keep on doing what the family had always done.”
The public calmed down eventually when the Queen made her address to the nation. Through Princess Diana’s death, the monarchy learned that protocol isn’t everything, especially in dire circumstances that the people are grappling with. What they needed was a calm direction in a torrential storm.
Eventually, the Union Flag was flown at half-mast at Buckingham Palace once the Queen left for Princess Diana’s funeral. The funeral route itself was even doubled, probably to give more people a way to properly grieve. Members of the Royal Family, including the Queen, Prince Charles, and his children did walkabouts outside their palaces as well so they could be seen by the public.
The monarchy finally understood what the people expected from them during times of extraordinary crisis. Everyone was finally coming to terms with their terrible loss and they realized the monarchy was grieving in its own way as well. There will never be another Princess Diana as is evident in the way she was mourned.