- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 1, 2002

LONDON Five years after Princess Diana's death prompted an astonishing public outpouring of grief, Britain remembered her yesterday in far more subdued fashion by marking a sad anniversary with small, personal gestures and private recollections.
Hundreds of bouquets piled up outside Kensington Palace, Diana's former home, far fewer than the thousands that formed an ocean of floral tributes when the palace's ornate iron gates were a focal point for national mourning in 1997.
At any time yesterday, never more than about 100 well-wishers were in front of the palace, some of them people out for a stroll when they happened upon the display. A few balloons fluttered above the gates and a basket of silk flowers sat nearby, beneath a picture of the late princess. "Diana we miss you," one card said.
Diana's sons, Princes William, 20, and Harry, 17, spent a weekend out of public view with their father, Prince Charles, and grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, at the family's estate at Balmoral, in the Scottish Highlands.
"It is a private time," said a spokeswoman for St. James's Palace, where the young princes live with their father. "They will be remembering their mother in their own private way."
As in previous years, no official commemoration of the death was arranged.
Diana's brother Earl Spencer, whose searing eulogy at her Westminster Abbey funeral was watched around the world, said he would spend the day at home with family and friends.
A trickle of visitors left flowers outside Althorp, the family home where Diana is buried on an island in the middle of a small lake. Estate spokesman David Fawkes said about 40 bouquets had been taken from the front gates to the island. The house, which is 70 miles northwest of London, was closed to the public yesterday.
Those outside said they still believed the princess embodied the best of Britain.
"Princess Diana was something to look up to, someone incredibly special, good and kind to everyone no matter who they were," said Freda Thatcher, 71. "They say time heals, but she is always there in the mind."
Diana's dazzling image has begun to dim of late, and the official memorial for her in London still has not been built.
"I sense that she is fading already," said Penny Junor, a journalist and author who often writes about the British royalty. Still, she said, "I think Diana's legacy will survive."
One mourner at Kensington Palace agreed.
"We will never forget you," said a card left outside. "Even though it seems a lot of people have, we have forgotten nothing. We will always miss you."
At Harrods, the London department store owned by Mohamed Al Fayed, whose son Dodi died in the high-speed crash with Diana on Aug. 31, 1997, several windows were lined in black in honor of the couple.
Driver Henri Paul also perished in the crash. An investigation concluded that he had been drinking and was driving at a high speed.


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