One of the saddest tragedies to rock the royal family was the death of Princess Diana in August 1997. The mother of Prince William and Prince Harry died from the injuries she sustained in a car crash in Paris. The Princess of Wales was just 36 years old when she passed. When news that Princess Diana died spread, many mourners went to Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace to leave flowers, cards, and gifts.
Though the Brits are known to hide their emotions, the death of Princess Diana inspired very public displays of grief. People could be seen crying in the streets in the days following the accident. In the documentary Diana, Our Mother, Prince Harry shared what he remembered from the difficult time. He said, per Town & County Magazine, “It was very, very strange after her death, the sort of outpouring of love and emotion from so many people that had never even met her.”
An estimated, 10 to 15 tons of bouquets, as well as, candles, photographs, and personal notes were left in honor of the late Princess. Question is, where did it all go?
The flower tributes to Princess Diana were collected by volunteers
As beautiful as the millions of flowers honoring Princess Diana looked at her funeral, they were a bit of a nuisance in the days that followed. As the hearse was carrying the coffin from Westminster Abby to her family estate at Althorp, the flowers made the journey a bit difficult. The car had to repeatedly use its wipers to remove stems from the windshield and eventually pulled over to remove the flowers.
Following the funeral for Diana – which was attended by over a million people and watched on television by an estimated 2.5 billion people – volunteers had to clean up the floral tributes. According to BBC, members of the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and dozens of volunteer groups sorted the flowers and other gifts left behind by the mourners. The clean-up crew efficiently collected all of the offerings and moved all of the live flowers to various hospitals and nursing homes, while the decaying flowers were used for fertilizer to grow flowers in Kensington Gardens, per CNN. The cleanup of Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, and St. James Palace took about five weeks to complete.
Though Princess Diana no longer has a 60 million flower memorial overflowing the royal grounds, her memorial garden at Kensington Palace is full of beautiful flowers and people who want to honor her memory.
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