Veteran royal correspondent Jennie Bond: Diana's death was the worst week in the Queen's reign

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BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond today joined die-hard Princess Diana supporters outside Kensington Palace to mark the 20th anniversary of her death.

The veteran presenter said it was “poignant” to be outside Lady Di’s old home exactly 20 years after she was called up in the middle of the night and had to race back to London from a holiday in Devon.

She said: “It is nice to be back. It’s amazing that so many of the old crowd – shall we say avid supporters – are here. It’s quite poignant to be here.

“I knew her quite well, and I remember sitting down with her in her flat in there and interviewing her.

“Her death was probably the biggest news story in my 45 year career.”

The 67-year-old journalist, who is covering the anniversary with the BBC, spoke with royal enthusiasts and posed for selfies in front of the palace.

She said she worked almost non-stop for seven days after the news broke early on August 31, 1997.

“There began the worst week in the Queen’s reign, and a most tragic week for the boys,” she added.

But 20 years on, she said, there were “no tears” as today was “more a celebration of her short life”.

Royalists: John Lughrey, left, with fellow Diana devotee Kathy Martin

Kathy Martin, 55, was among Diana fans outside the Palace gates where yesterday Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge met supporters as they laid tributes at a floral shrine.

She said: “I’m here to honour Princess Diana because I was so fascinated with her and what she did with her life. And she was so young when she died.

“We’re continuing her legacy and we’re continuing her memory.”

Ms Martin, who lives in Beckenham but is originally from Australia, added: “Today, 20 years on, I still can’t believe it. It feels like it just happened yesterday because she’s been in the media for quite some time now. Such sad memories.”

Vigil: Chris Imafidon

Chris Imafidon, 55, who chairs the Excellence in Education programme and has written a book on the royals, said: “Diana would have been in Grenfell, shaking hands with people who had lost their homes. That’s Diana for you.”

He added: “I’m sad. That was the longest day in my life, the day she died. Everything stopped.

“She was someone who broke down the barriers between the privileged elite and the downtrodden masses. She was a bridge.”

Self-declared Dian “super-fan” John Lughrey said he arrived at 2.45am this morning to begin his vigil.

The retired chef, 62, said: “I came here to show my respect to a special person. Princess Diana was born with two hearts. One was hers, the other was for the people.”


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