8.30.2007

Excerpts From a 10 Year Old Journal

Just out of curiosity, I pulled out an old journal to see what I had written about Princess Diana's funeral. Rereading it, I guess it might be rather boring to some, but seeing as today is the 10th anniversary of her death, I'll include it. (I still lived in Rochester, NY.)

Saturday Sept. 6, 1997

"Goodbye Sweet Princess. Cinderella has DIED. No wonder everyone is so sad. I kept the television on all night so I could watch the funeral when it began at 4 a.m. I dozed on and off, listening to the continual broadcast about Princess Diana. I finally woke up with a bad headache at 4:08, to the persistant gong of a forlorn bell ringing once every minute. The procession had started at precisely 4:00 a.m. our time. 9 a.m. London time, I believe. It was sun-shiny and beautful there.

Diana's casket was atop a cannon wagon and draped with a maroon and dark yellow cloth which had designs of a rose, a partridge, a lion and one other design, which I can't remember. Three groups of white flowers sat atop it. The smallest flower arrangement of white roses, sitting at the foward part of the casket had a card inserted in them,had a child's handwriting that clearly read, "MUMMY". We are told that Harry, her youngest had scripted this.

Once every minute the lone bell sounded.

Four British soldiers, dressed in their bright red jackets and topped off with the tall black furry hats, solemnly walked along on each side of the casket; 8 altogether, and other soldiers were on horseback in front and behind. There was complete silence except for the clatter of horse hoofs and an occasional cry of a baby. The only other thing heard along the route was, with dread certainty, the one lonely note of the bell punctuating the crisp quietness once every minute, reminding us that, despite the beauty of the day, Diana is gone. Lest we forget, seeing the crowds of faces, which seem to go on forever, the bell breaks through our reverie and reminds us, "She is gone", once a minute on schedule.

Some of the horses were being naughty. One of the horses pulling the casket caisson was being so naughty, he kept rearing his head and walked sideways, practically the whole three miles. Another horse at the front of the procession was halting, pulling his head back and threatening to run off with his rider. But, they all kept moving onward, in the quiet of the morning, toward the church. After an hour or more of watching the hushed march along the winding streets,which were lined with metal barriers that looked like bicycle stands, two rows of men, who were wearing black, stood, waiting, each row standing on either side of the street, just inside the barriers, facing the tremendous crowds, and keeping their backs solidly toward Lady Diana's procession, as it passed.
Bell.
How solemn. Presently they began showing coverage of people moving inside the beautiful gothic church, where the funeral would take place. Invited guests. They were arriving in limosines and dressed in black. Dignitaries, celebrities, friends, discreetly smiling and furtively greeting those whom they appeared to know. Inside the cathedral, the views were breathtaking. Westminster Abby; the same church where Charles and Diana had been married.
The broadcast took us back to the parade route which took in Buckingham Palace, whereby the Queen, also dressed in black, and her entire royal family went and took their place amongst the throngs of commoners who were waiting for Lady Diana's ceremonial progression. The lone bell continued loudly proclaiming, once a minute, above the hushed crowd in the bright sunlight. It seemed to be quite a long wait for the queen to be standing there, at the age of 71, as the slow, steady funeral procession wended it way along. And this way only half way to the church!
Finally, as the horse drawn casket approached Buckingham Palace, a line of 5 men could be seen, stiffly standing side by side along the sidewalk near the Royals. At once I realized that this line consisted of Diana's sons, flanked on either side, and an individual in the center. The man nearest the castle was the boys' father, the man in the center was Prince Phillip, and I'm not sure who the other gentleman was. They fell in behind the casket, as the bell continued it's drone, minute by minute...."
I wrote much more, but at this point, I think I gave over to tears for the sad demeanor of her children. We all saw how their heads hanged low during that march, approximately another mile or so to the church, and through the whole funeral. Such a sad day.
Today we see how they have grown and seem to be doing what young men normally do. Some get into trouble, yes, but one hopes along with that, that they gain some knowlege and sensibility. I guess my interest that day was predominately about them and of course my sadness for our loss of this woman, whom we had watched grow up and had learned many things about her. I think we loved her from afar because she was fraught with foibles like the rest of us, even tho she was our Cinderella. And from that we realize that marrying the prince doesn't neccesarily mean "Happily Ever After".
(But, I'm thinking in my case, it just might :-)
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