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Remembering A Princess

Ten years ago Camilla Parker Bowles - as she then was - walked into a supermarket and was jeered by the customers. Some of them, so the story goes, even pelted Prince Charles's future bride with bread rolls. Such was the anger at Diana's death.

Ten years ago there were so many irrational reactions. The millions of bunches of flowers littering the lawns outside Royal Palaces. The crowds who lined the sidewalks openly weeping. Yes, memories have dimmed in the subsequent decade.

But our national preference has always been for big anniversaries. The faithful still journeyed to Graceland thirty years after King Elvis passed on, and by golly we Brits will do our Princess proud later this month as well.

There's already been a grand rock concert in London on what would have been her 46th birthday. There are exhibitions of paintings, photographs, fashion, memorabilia, celebrations of her charity work -- and heightened bursts of publicity for the conspiracy theorists who insist she was deliberately eliminated in that Paris tunnel.

The effect of her death was to legitimize public grief - an extraordinary idea for we buttoned-up Brits. It also jolted the Royal Family. They commissioned market research which proved what we already knew - how out of touch they had become. So the Queen came out of her castle and softened her tone. Her family has learned, the hard way, to adapt.

That's Diana's legacy too. The two Princes, William and Harry, have asked the Archbishop of Canterbury to compose a special prayer. And on the exact anniversary there will be a special religious service televised worldwide. Even Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall now, is planning to be there under the arc lights.

Bread rolls will not be required.
by Ed Boyle