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Princess Diana The Queen of Hearts. The story of the day I shook Her hand
A day to remember.
Princess Diana was born on the 1st of July 1961, and was relatively unknown until the 24th February 1981, when she was thrust into the limelight after becoming engaged to Prince Charles, She was a sweet little thing, shy and quiet, and the world took her under their wing and fell in love with her. On the 29th of July 1981 they married in St Paul's Cathedral in London, and quickly became one of our most loved monarchs. There are many stories written about her life, her children and her subsequent divorce, and of course her death. Which still to this day, remains one of the greatest mysteries and tragedies. So i am not going to tell her life story here. Instead, I am going to tell you about the day that I met Princess Diana, Queen of Hearts.
I remember the day started out as it usually did. Sunshine, showers and me on my bicycle. I had been to work, and was now doing the thing that I always did at that time of the day. I was going for a ride on my old bike, and pick up a few things for supper. I had totally forgotten that this was the day that Princess Diana was coming to Marlow. It hadn't been advertised as they did not want too many people crowding outside the small Cottage hospital just down the road from where I was living. I had heard about it from one of my friends who was working at the hospital. So, off I went, whistling away, that's what I do when I ride my bike, I whistle! It stops me being scared of falling off. Which I have a habit of doing. I remember turning left at the corner of my road, and suddenly seeing a large crowd of people standing further down the street. Coming closer, I realised that there was a big black car with a flag on top of the front bonnet. So, jumping off of my bike, I placed it against the nearest hedge, and leaned forward through the crowd. There was only one layer of people in front of me, so it was easy to squeeze to the front. I am little, therefore I can step sideways, wiggle a bit, and voila, there I was standing in the main part of the courtyard. I saw that the car had just pulled up to the front door of the hospital. Not more than three metres, nine yards away. The bodyguard or secret service man got out the car and started talking on his walkie talkie. I don't know what they were expecting, but I don't think that Marlow has it's own terrorist gang! Unless you count the pensioners who were shoving themselves to the forefront, whacking a few people with their brollies! They maneuvered their handbags, swayed their hips, and then when they got to the front, they settled, as older people do, like a cushion thrown onto a chair! All squidgy and plump. No one else got a look in. This was their day, their Princess and nobody was going to stop them meeting her. We all looked across to the car. The air was electric. It was strange because I have met the Queen and Prince Philip her husband, and there was not this air of expectancy with them, Oh, people were excited to meet the Queen, of course, but It was more of a party atmosphere. But not here, not with Diana, We seemed to be holding our breaths, as though something magical was about to happen. And then it did. A leg emerged from the back of the car, a shoe, shiny and silver stepped onto the tarmac. And then there she was. We all breathed out, you could hear the sigh. The reverence was like being in a Cathedral, we gazed at this amazing young women with something like awe. I don't know why, and I don't know what it was that made it so special. She had her head down, just like you saw in the pictures, and she had the famous shy smile, as she looked under her lashes at the bodyguard. Thanking him, she turned and walked straight towards me. I looked at her as she walked towards us. The one thing that I remember the most was that she was so tall. She looked like a proper fairy princess, and as she held her hand out to me, I looked at her smiling face, reached forward, and feeling somewhat stunned, I shook her hand.
Outside the box.
For that few seconds that we held each others hands in a shake, I looked into her eyes. This women was a million miles away from my lifestyle, and a billion times ahead of me in status. But as we shook hands, I realised that under any other circumstances, we could have been friends. I am not being dramatic, I mean as were the same age, well, one year's difference, She was just a normal girl. This might sound strange, but after seeing the other Royals on TV, and in person, they always had this air of 'Royal' about them. They were a cut above us, and don't you forget it. But Diana was different. She almost seemed apologetic for dragging us out in the cold. I heard her keep saying, 'sorry, are you warm enough?' to the older people, and 'Don't worry, you can go home in a moment, and have a lovely cup of tea'. That's what made her different. She was normal and sweet. The people loved her, you could see it on their faces. She could have been any one of us, caught up in a bizarre and strange situation, led and manipulated into a loveless marriage. After walking around talking and shaking hands, Diana turned towards the hospital, and started to walk towards the door.
But then a dramatic moment happened.
The caring Princess
There was a sudden commotion to my right, and through the crowd I could see someone on the floor. The crowds starting clustering around the heap of clothing that seemed to be laid out on the floor, from where I stood it looked liked someone had taken their clothes and thrown them on a pile in the street. Then the clothes moved slightly. Diana, who was by this time about to step inside the building, turned, realised that something bad was happening and ran straight towards the crowds, pushing through people and when she got to the barrier that had been placed around the building to keep the crowds back, bent down and tugged the ribbon out of the way. She then proceeded to run towards the fallen heap of clothes. By this time the security guards were going mad. Four rushed out of the building looking around with panic on their faces, the one who had been standing by the car, who had been watching Diana, like a hawk, ran madly towards her. This was a serious security breach on their part. It may be a sleepy town, but for Diana to dive into the crowds like this, put her in serious danger, and them in certain failure and obvious dismissal of their jobs.
The crowd parted, to see our Princess of Wales, kneeling on the floor,reaching down to help a pensioner who had collapsed. The crowd went silent. You could hear the irate breathing of the old man, and Diana's gentle voice saying, 'It will be alright, you will be fine' .for a second it seemed as though time itself had stopped. You know what I mean. The picture, that is a snapshot in your mind for ever. Diana, kneeling down to help an old man who had collapsed from a suspected heart attack because of the excitement. Then, time rushed back, and the security guard gently helped Diana to her feet. Nursing staff from inside the hospital rushed out and helped the man.
Diana was lead away back towards the door of the hospital, and, waving she went inside.
For a few moments, I stood and watched her go, seeing her look back at the man with a look of worry on her face. At that moment I was so proud of her. She never gave a thought to her safety. She never gave a thought to the fact that this could have been a ploy to get to her. She just wanted to help the old man. That was the first and last time I saw our Diana Princess of Wales, live. As I started to walk away, I thought how lovely she was. And my thoughts at that time were for the old man.
The next day it was all over the front page of the newspapers. It shouldn't have been, it was just a small local do, but because of the startling events of the day, she had the picture flashed all around the world.
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The day the lights went out.
I cried when she died. I cried buckets. I remembered the day, a few years before, when I saw her with the old man. I couldn't get the picture out of my mind. I watched the scenes on TV, over and over again. The car, the tunnel, Dodi, the french police, the reporters, camera's flashing, lights screaming bright overhead. The sounds of the crowd, and the commentators. Even then, at the back of my mind, I knew something was wrong. The picture was all wrong. No way, no accident. When I analysed it more closely, the fact that she was made to wait in the foyer of the hotel in France for the car to come around to the door, the car that flashed and clipped her car, and disappeared never to be found, and the fact that she was taken into an ambulance and less than an hour later, preserved from the waist down in formaldehyde, I knew. This innocent girl who was one of the people, had been murdered.