How would you explain it now? That for a week after the crash there was literally nothing else on the TV, on the radio, in the papers? That crowds gathered at random spots associated with the life of a woman they could never have met and threw flowers. That, on the day of Diana’s funeral, millions of people lined the funeral route and howled in hysterical despair? That it seemed like the world could never be the same again but that, actually, nothing really changed at all.
I like to be aloof and say I rose above it all. I did have an excuse: I was trapped in a summer job at a steel-pressing warehouse. I even worked on the day of the funeral: me and a few others struggled out at lunchtime and found only one place open and serving. The woman who gave us our fish and chips handed them to us with the unsaid accusation that we weren’t grieving enough.
And, in Paris, here is the people’s memorial to the people’s princess. It doesn’t seem like it draws much attention now. A lot of the scribbles and comments date from a few years ago; many of the photos are fading. We came across it by accident and were the only ones there. Maybe there are other places for the faithful to go or maybe the flame of that burning hysteria is now flickering, soon to be extinguished.