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As another year since her tragic and untimely death arrives, we share where Princess Diana is buried.
2022 marks 25 years since the day Princess Diana died (opens in new tab) - a date that many remember vividly for the shockwaves the sad news sent across the globe. Known as the "People's Princess" - it was the public who indeed mourned the loss of Diana following the car crash in Paris that killed her, her then-boyfriend of the time Dodi Fayed (son of Mohamed Al Fayed (opens in new tab)) and driver Henri Paul. With the sole survivor of the incident being Princess Diana's bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones (opens in new tab).
Many recall the thousands of flowers laid outside Buckingham Palace in the aftermath and the image of her two young sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, walking behind their mother's coffin at the state funeral. But people are less familiar with where Princess Diana was buried and whether her grave is accessible to the public. Here's what you need to know.
Where is Princess Diana buried?
Princess Diana is buried on a small island known as 'The Oval' at Althorp Park, Northamptonshire, which is the home of the Spencer family. The estate was bought in 1508 by John Spencer and Diana is said to have loved the grounds and the house.
Her body is buried on the island, which is next to an ornamental lake (called The Oval) within Althorp Park's Pleasure Garden. The area is surrounded by trees planted by Prince William, Prince Harry and even Diana herself.
The original plan was for Diana to be laid to rest at the nearby Great Brington church. Several Spencer family members including Diana's father are buried here in the Spencer Family Vault. However this plan was later abandoned, with the family concerned about the safety and security of her grave. They also worried that the local church and Brington would be overwhelmed by the number of visitors wanting to see the late Princess' grave.
Whilst Diana did have a public funeral, it was a royal ceremonial funeral rather than a state funeral (opens in new tab), and her burial was a private affair with family members only.
Can you visit Princess Diana's grave?
Yes, you can visit Althorp Park. The family estate is located an hour and a half outside of London. Whilst Diana's grave on the island is not accessible to the public, it can be viewed from a distance and there is opportunity to leave flowers at a nearby memorial.
The memorial temple features a black-and-white marble plaque of Diana, with her name engraved across the top. It also bears a Princess Diana quote (opens in new tab) which reads: "Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life. A kind of destiny. Whoever is in distress can call on me. I will come running wherever they are."
A post shared by Althorp House (@althorphouse) (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by on
Why was Princess Diana buried in a coffin?
Though Princess Diana was divorced from Prince Charles - and no longer considered royal - she was buried in a lead-lined coffin which is traditional royal protocol, even though she wasn't buried near other members of the Royal Family (opens in new tab).
This is because Diana was a famous figure and as she was so adored by the British public it was decided that a state funeral and royal coffin be appropriate.
Diana's coffin traveled back from Paris - where she died - and was initially held at the Chapel Royal at St James's ahead of her funeral. However, the coffin was later moved (opens in new tab) to Kensington Palace - her former home - following safety concerns. Following the state funeral, a private burial took place at Althorp.
The lead lining in Diana's coffin helps preserve the body and slows down the decomposition of the body - creating a airtight seal that fends off moisture. It was important that her coffin also be lead lined, especially as she lays to rest in a vault. It UK law states that a coffin must be sealed if it is for internment above ground.
Do Prince William and Prince Harry visit Diana's grave?
Yes, over the years, Diana's two sons Prince William and Prince Harry have both visited their mother's grave. In July 2017, the two princes attended a private service (opens in new tab) at her grave to mark 20 years since her death - it was held on what would have been her 56th birthday.
Held at Althorp House - where Diana is buried - the service was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (opens in new tab). The Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte were also at the ceremony.
And whilst Prince Harry is now living in LA (opens in new tab) - and thousands of miles away - he still makes sure to pay his respects on important occasions. On Mother's Day 2021, a spokesperson for the Prince told Insider (opens in new tab): "The Duke arranged for flowers to be laid at his mother's grave on Sunday morning."
The same day, Prince William's three children (born after her untimely death) wrote cards to their "Granny Diana" - as shared by the official Kensington Palace social media account.
This year Mother’s Day will be different once again. Many of us will be apart from our loved ones, but looking forward to a time in the not too distant future when we can give our mother a hug again. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/Bys6OCqtTTMarch 14, 2021
Has Prince Charles visited Princess Diana's grave?
Princess Diana's brother confirmed in an interview in 2001 that Prince Charles has never visited Diana's grave. Earl Spencer said: 'Prince Charles has an open invitation, as he knows, to come to the memorial but he has yet to take up that invitation."
Reported by the Daily Mail (opens in new tab), the interview was between the Earl and then-Radio Five presenter Simon Mayo. Asking why he thought Prince Charles had not paid a visit, Spencer added: "Look at it from his point of view. It's an ex-wife at the end of the day and maybe that's how he views it.
"He recently said he wanted to draw a line under the whole episode and let Diana rest in peace and maybe he views him not going there as helping that process."
No new information on whether Charles has visited Diana's grave has been shared since the interview. However, Cheatsheet (opens in new tab) report that a statement was released on behalf of the Duke of Cornwall, sharing that: “The matter of whether Prince Charles has visited the late Princess of Wales’s grave is a personal and private matter for him.”
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