Princess Diana Had One of the Largest Funerals Ever Watched

As one of the most famous women in the world, Princess Diana captivated people around the globe. So, when her life tragically ended on September 6, 1997, her funeral in London was one of the most-watched TV events in history. Thousands lined the streets to pay their last respects, with millions of flowers laid at her home at Kensington Palace as a way of saying goodbye to the iconic member of the Royal Family. Approximately 2,000 people attended the actual funeral, including dignitaries, celebrities, and members of the fashion industry, as well as family members. At its height, it took 6½ hours of standing in line to reach St. James Palace and sign the condolence book. Back in 1997, only 10% of British people had home Internet, meaning a heartfelt tribute on Instagram or Facebook wasn’t an option — expressing their grief in-person was the public's only outlet. According to estimates, roughly 2.5 billion people watched Princess Diana’s funeral worldwide on television — nearly half of the world’s population at the time. Because the ceremony began just after 9 a.m. in London, many Americans woke up in the middle of the night or wee hours of the morning to view it. While Diana’s funeral was decidedly public, her burial was a quiet, private affair, taking place on the same day. Reportedly only a few people, including Prince Charles, Prince William, Prince Harry, Diana’s mother, her three siblings, a friend, and a clergyman, were present as Diana was laid to rest at her childhood home, Althorp in Northamptonshire. The grave remains there to this day, on an island in the middle of a lake on the estate, but it's not open to the public. Guests can, however, visit the estate.