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Diana: Few Stiff Upper Lips

It has been a year since the death of Princess Diana in a high-speed, drunk-driving accident in Paris. That means it also has been a year since the start of the press coverage of her death.

The press came in for a lot of criticism for that coverage. Much of the criticism was justified, too.

Some may have been motivated to some extent by the promise of big audiences - and big ratings - and the appeal of a dramatic, easy-to-understand story with characters Americans really cared about.

But it's hard to discount the surprise of this story. Even seasoned reporters, with long experience of Britain and the British, were caught off-guard by the outpouring of emotion the princess inspired.

We were accustomed to the "old" England, the stereotype of the "stiff upper lip" that, during the Battle of Britain, turned out to be pretty much true. The British were courageous. The enemy was raining down death and destruction, but the British weren't going to give an inch - or a tear.

One year ago, we saw how much Britain had changed. The people had lost their Princess - without warning, without a proper goodbye. Quietly, bravely - but full of emotion - they lined the streets of London, to mourn.

It was unlike anything we'd ever seen. A fascinating, challenging story. We had to report it - and remember it - one year later.

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