Memories of Princess Diana and the Royals

I’m a Londoner born and bred (I was born in the Old Kent Road in 1964). The house I lived in was 6 miles from central London. I worked as a self-employed draughtsman (technical drawings, used as the basis for manufacturing things). About half of my work involved going out on site surveys, where I would take measurements in order to produce manufacturing drawings. From about the mid 1990s the traffic in London got so bad that I gave up using a car for work in town, and instead used a bicycle. I remember one day when I stopped my bicycle at traffic lights on The Mall (a short distance from Buckingham Palace). I’m by the curb on my bike and a big limo pulled-up beside me to stop at the lights (where a large group of children were crossing the road). I found myself just inches away, through bullet-proof glass, from the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh. I was amazed at how well they both looked, despite their great age. It took more than a minute before we could get going again. During this time Queenypoos ignored me, staring straight ahead. The Duke of Edinburgh, though, turned his head round and we looked at each other curiously for a while. It was a strange moment before the lights released us and the Royal limo sped off to Buckingham Palace.

On the morning of Saturday 6th September 1997 I was in central London again to do a site survey. This time I was driving a car, because weekend traffic in London at that time was still sane. On the car radio I was listening to the funeral service for Princess Diana, which was taking place nearby in Westminster Abbey. There were loudspeakers relaying the service to huge crowds outside, which I could hear against the seconds time lag on the radio broadcast. Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, gave a now famous speech in which he criticised the royal family. Elton John gave a rendition of Candle in the Wind to honour Diana, and lots of other music was played. Amongst that music was Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending.

I’m no fan of the royals, but I did like Diana, because despite all her faults (of which there were many) she did have the guts to stand up to these inbreds. So, on the 20th anniversary of Diana’s murder, by way of tribute, here’s the mid section of Vaughan Williams’ The Lark Ascending, performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra with David Nolan on violin and Vernon Handley conducting…

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