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Tributes paid to Princess Diana on twentieth anniversary of her death

The twentieth anniversary of Princess Diana's death was commemorated yesterday
By Laura Elston and Tony Jones, Press Association

Tributes have been paid to the "truly extraordinary" Princess Diana 20 years after she was killed in a car crash.

Admirers of Diana, who was killed in a Paris car crash on August 31 1997, gathered yesterday at Kensington Palace to mark the anniversary.

Her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, have already paid tribute to their mother, visiting the floral tributes and pictures left at the gates of her former home.

The brothers toured the site on Wednesday and laid flowers on behalf of well-wishers who had gathered to see the royals.

They also met representatives of charities their mother supported and Harry told them her death was a tragedy for them – as they were preparing to work with the princess – as well as his family.

He said: "I can imagine for a lot of you it was like, 'right here we go, now we've got her, we've got the thirst, we've got the attention, now let's do something', then suddenly she's snapped away. If I can put it [this way], all of us lost somebody.''

Diana was also remembered at east London's Mildmay Mission Aids hospital, which she visited regularly when it was a hospice caring for HIV patients.

The institution held a remembrance service and past members of staff shared their memories of Diana along with the hospital's patron, actress Linda Robson, and dancer Wayne Sleep, who famously performed with the princess.

Elizabeth Emanuel, co-designer of Diana's wedding dress, tweeted: "Thinking of the wonderful times we spent with Diana and the great joy she brought into our lives and all those who knew her."

She posted a photo of the Emanuels tending to the train of Diana's bridal gown inside St Paul's Cathedral in 1981.

The princess's friend Rosa Monckton described her as a "truly extraordinary woman".

In an interview with The Times, Ms Monckton said: "She was everything to everybody. She broke down the walls. She busted the myth of being a fairytale princess.

"I think that given the life she had, when you think what she had to overcome, and all of this in the public eye, I think she was a truly extraordinary woman. Very damaged, very flawed, as we all are, but underneath it all this incredible resilience."

Diana's former head chef Darren McGrady recalled her caring side.

"When Princess Diana heard I had become a father she sent this note and flowers to the hospital," he tweeted. The handwritten message congratulated him on the "safe arrival of your little lady".

Former British prime minister Tony Blair called Diana the ''people's princess'' on the day she died, and in a magazine interview with his former spin doctor Alastair Campbell, William echoed the words of his brother.

He said: ''I think she would have carried on, really getting stuck into various causes and making change.

''If you look at some of the issues she focused on, leprosy, Aids, landmines, she went for some tough areas. She would have carried on with that.''

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