On Aug. 31, 1997, Princess Diana died in a car accident in Paris. The days following her death were among the most difficult of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, as the public was dissatisfied with Buckingham Palace’s radio silence. However, on the day of Diana’s funeral, the monarch surprised everyone by bowing as her former daughter-in-coffin law’s passed by. Another royal, who could have done the same, refused, and this went unnoticed.
Continue reading to learn who that royal was and why he refused to bow.
The queen and royal family were heavily criticized following Princess Diana’s death
When Princess Diana’s death was announced, the queen and the rest of the royal family were hundreds of miles away at their Scottish vacation home, Balmoral Castle. When a statement about the princess’s death was not released right away, the public was confused. When the family did not return to London and refused to make any public statements about the tragedy, some of the confusion turned to anger.
It was viewed as cold and irritated many people when it was revealed that the family was carrying on with business as usual, including Queen Elizabeth taking Prince William and Prince Harry to church the morning after their mother died.
The royal family finally returned to London on Sept. 5, following public pressure to do so, and the queen spoke during a live broadcast in which she paid tribute to her former daughter-in-law.
Queen Elizabeth bowed as Diana’s coffin passed, but who refused to?
Princess Diana’s funeral was held on September 6, 1997. Many people remember her two sons, William and Harry, who were only 15 and 12 years old at the time, walking behind their mother’s coffin. Another image shows the queen bowing as Diana’s coffin passed her, which was viewed as the ultimate sign of respect from a woman who is not required to bow to anyone. It was also unexpected, given what had happened between the royals and Diana in the years leading up to her divorce from Prince Charles in 1996.
“It is known that everyone bowed before the queen, who is the symbol of national unity,” Alberto Angela said in the Italian documentary series Ulisse. But it was Elizabeth who bowed her head that day as a mark of respect for the passage of Diana’s coffin, the woman who had defied the palace’s conventions more than anyone else.”
Princess Margaret was one of the royals who stood by Queen Elizabeth’s side but did not bow. Because she had been feuding with Diana and still held a grudge, the Countess of Snowdon didn’t seem to mind that thousands of onlookers and millions more at home were watching.
Margaret didn’t even bow her head in respect when Diana died in 1997, according to Express. She apparently gave the casket a sloppy salute that has been compared to shooing away a fly.”
The shocking comment Princess Margaret made after Diana’s death
The princess of Wales used to be close to the queen’s sister, but that changed after Diana’s divorce from Prince Charles and her explosive Panorama interview.
Margaret showed no remorse or sorrow after Diana’s death, despite her shocking remarks. According to Craig Brown, author of Princess Margaret: Ninety-Nine Glimpses, the countess referred to the public’s grief over Diana as “hysteria.”
“She compared the hysteria to Diana herself… Brown wrote, “When she died, she got everyone to be as hysterical as she was.”
Margaret died in her sleep on Feb. 9, 2002, five years after Diana’s death, from a stroke.