Princess Diana: How she has been remembered 20 years after her death

The world is remembering Princess Diana, the beloved royal who died 20 years ago today.

Diana died on Aug. 31, 1997, after she was in a car crash which killed her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and the couple’s driver, Henri Paul. Her funeral at Westminster Abbey in London was reportedly watched by 2.5 billion people worldwide.

The princess left behind two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, who were 15 and 12 years old, respectively, at the time. Now in their 30s, they went to Kensington Palace on Wednesday to visit a memorial garden for their late mother.

Here's how Diana has been remembered ahead of the 20th anniversary of her death.

Prince William and Prince Harry

Diana’s two children participated in a BBC documentary, “Diana, 7 Days,” which will premiere on NBC on Sept. 1 and looks at the week after their mother’s death.

“I couldn’t understand why everyone wanted to cry as loud as they did and show such emotion as they did when they didn't really know our mother,” William said in the program, admitting that he sometimes felt protective about it.

He said that “looking back over the last few years I’ve learned to understand what it was that she gave the world and what she gave a lot of people.”

The two princes also participated in “Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy,” which premiered on HBO in the U.S. in July. 

Both recalled what their mother was like in the documentary. William said that Diana “was very informal and really enjoyed the laughter and the fun, but she understood there was a real life outside palace walls and she wanted us to see it from a very young age,” the Washington Post reported. 

Harry, who called Diana “just the best mother ever,” also described Diana dressing him and his brother.

“I genuinely think she got satisfaction out of dressing myself and William up in the most bizarre outfits, normally matching,” he was quoted as saying. “It was weird shorts and, like, shiny shoes with the old clip-ons. And looking back at the photos, it just makes me laugh. I just think, ‘How could you do that to us?!’”

Elton John

The musician, who famously performed at Diana’s funeral, also appeared in “Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy.”

Diana was famous for her AIDS activism. John said, “It was considered to be a gay disease and for someone who was in the royal family and who was a woman and who was straight and to have someone care from the other side was an incredible gift.”

John tweeted a photo of him and Diana on Thursday with the caption: "20 years ago today, the world lost an angel. #RIP #Diana20" 


Lord Charles Spencer

Diana’s brother participated in “The Story of Diana,” an ABC documentary that premiered earlier this month. He was quoted as saying that his sister “was a special person, and not just a beautiful one.”

“Obviously 99.9 percent of the people had never seen her, or met her, but they felt something in her that was fascinating and intriguing, and a force for good," he said.

Spencer also participated in the BBC documentary. He at first thought Diana’s car crash was a “bump” and recalled a phone call with his sister, the Daily Mail reported. 

“My sister Jane called again and said it was looking quite serious, really quite serious,” he was quoted as saying.  “She was on one line to me but because of her husband’s job as the Queen’s private secretary I could hear him on another line and I heard him go, “Oh no”, and then Jane said: “I’m afraid that’s it.’”

Buckingham Palace

To honor Diana, the desk from her sitting room at Kensington Palace has been put on display in one of the Buckingham Palace rooms, which palace visitors can see until Oct. 1.

The display includes Diana’s photos, leather briefcase, ballet shoes, and case of music cassette tapes – including albums by Elton John, Diana Ross and George Michael.

Kensington Palace

One day before the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death, Prince Harry, Prince William and William’s wife, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, visited the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace.

The palace’s Sunken Garden was turned into the “White Garden,” which opened in April and will be up until September, People reported.

It “has been planted with flowers and foliage, inspired by memories of the Princess’s life, image and style,” according to the charity Historic Royal Palaces.

In February, an exhibit showcasing Diana’s clothing, titled, “Diana: Her Fashion Story,” opened at the palace.

“Trace the evolution of the Princess’s style, from the demure, romantic outfits of her first public appearances, to the glamour, elegance and confidence of her later life,” Historic Royal Palaces says online.

In January, plans were announced for a Diana statue at Kensington Palace.

“It has been 20 years since our mother’s death and the time is right to recognize her positive impact in the UK and around the world with a permanent statue,” Diana’s sons said in a statement at the time.

Kensington Palace said it hoped that the statue would be unveiled before the end of the year.

The Diana Award

The youth charity tweeted Thursday, “Princess Diana believed young people have the power to change the world. 20 years on we hold true to this belief #Diana20.”

Included in the tweet was a video of Diana herself speaking.

“As parents, teachers, family and friends, we have an obligation to care for our children in ways that clearly show our children that we value them,” she said in the clip. “They, in turn, will learn to value themselves.”

Piers Morgan

British journalist Piers Morgan paid tribute to Princess Diana by sharing several photos on social media.

“First time I ever met Princess Diana. ‘Ah,’ she sighed, ‘the man who thinks he knows me SO well…,’” Morgan captioned one photo.

In an interview earlier this year, Morgan said that he knew Princess Diana “very well” and once had lunch with her and William, now the Duke of Cambridge.

“It was a laugh-a-minute, and she was absolutely hilarious – she was mischievous,” he recalled.

Richard Branson

Billionaire businessman Sir Richard Branson shared photos and memories of Princess Diana in a blog post on his company’s website.

Branson said that he was able to get to know Diana when she vacationed at Necker Island, his private island among the British Virgin Islands. There, she would spend time her children and guests and play tennis with Branson.

And she always left handwritten thank you notes, Branson said.

“Diana was an incredible woman, who simply loved people and made time for everyone,” Branson said.

“Diana did so much amazing work for so many causes, ranging from children’s health and wellbeing to HIV/AIDS, leprosy to landmines,” Branson continued. “But it was her unique way with people that made such a difference – she didn’t just donate to a HIV charity, she held hands with people suffering with AIDS, she stood in minefields and met with millions. She inspired so many others with her compassion and humanity.”

Oliver Phelps

Actor Oliver Phelps – who starred in the Harry Potter films – remembered Princess Diana on Twitter early Thursday morning.

Phelps, 31, said he met Princess Diana when he was 6, and the two talked about Thunderbirds.

Joan Collins

The 84-year-old English actress on Thursday tweeted a photograph showing her with the princess. 

“Princess Diana was always enchanting,” she wrote. “Here backstage after Private Lives and as always charmed all.”

Presidential libraries

The Clinton Library shared on Twitter a photo of Princess Diana talking to former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The picture was taken a few months before she died, the tweet said.

The Presidential Libraries and Museums of the National Archives and Records Administration also shared photos of Princess Diana at the White House in 1985.

During the visit, Diana danced with former President Ronald Reagan and a young John Travolta.