Carrying on from yesterday, here’s part 2, and another tape that’s listed in my database as something else – it was supposed to be Picket Fences, the drama show from (I think) one of the writers of LA Law. I don’t think I ended up watching much of it, so it’s not a big loss to me.
Back to the funeral. This tape starts off in the middle of Tony Blair’s reading, so I clearly had two VCRs on the go that day so I wouldn’t miss any of the excitement swapping tapes.
We left the last tape just as Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother, starts his eulogy, and very moving it is too. But also, marvellously barbed in places. When he talks about Diana’s young sons, how she brought them up so well, he talks about the efforts that “We, your blood family” would take to continue this work. A very pointed bit of side-eye at the royal family. The feeling, at the time, was that the royals weren’t doing enough. They weren’t sad enough, they wouldn’t fly the royal standard at half mast (the royal standard is never flown at half mast). There’s a whole movie made about how Tony Blair forced the Queen to appear more in public and to make the funeral a much bigger public occasion. His sense of what the public needed was spot on in this case.
Towards the end of his speech, Spencer is clearly having trouble keeping it together. Having performed a similar duty at my mother’s funeral a few years ago, it’s hard to make it all the way through. The huge round of applause at the end, completely unexpected and not really the norm at a funeral, indicates the depth of feeling there was.
After his speech, there’s another hymn, Make Me a Channel of your Peace, one that was very familiar to me at the time because My wife and I were members of the church orchestra at the time, and this was a popular choice of hymn. It’s very sweet to see mourners outside the abbey, listening to the service, singing along.
After some more prayers, another hymn, the coffin is taken from the Abbey accompanied by some John Taverner music.
Then the coffin is taken by car back through the streets of London, heading up to Diana’s family home, Althorp House (pronounced Althrop by the family for reasons surpassing understanding).
There’s the odd moment, as when the little boy on the right hand side has noticed the camera pointing at him, and gives the tiniest of waves.
I should note here that the YouTube video that’s in this post has had YouTube ‘smoothing’ done to it, so the picture is quite severely cropped, and it also looks a bit stretched compared to my VHS copy.
As the hearse approaches the M1 it seems incongruous for Dimbleby to be sombrely intoning the route. “Down Hendon Way, past Brent Cross, and around Staples Corner.” A strange mix of pomp and prosaic.
This is the point where the hearse is starting to be seriously laden by the flowers thrown by mourners along the route.
Shocking to see Tesco haven’t covered up their big sign out of deference to the people’s princess as she approaches Brent Cross.
Just before it joins the M1, the flowers on the hood of the hearse have to be removed. Safety first.
Once it’s on its way up the motorway, we go back to the coverage in London. Cutting back from Krishnan Guru-Murthy to Dimbleby, he’s talking but we can’t hear him – then he prods a button at his side and his microphone kicks in.
Fiona Bruce asks one of the mourners if this was a cathartic moment. I wish she’d replied “Well I’m sure it would be if I knew what cathartic meant.”
We go to Martin Lewis for a news bulletin which recaps what we’ve just watched.
Then, the broadcast lapses into some pieces from the regions about how people not in London celebrated and reacted to the funeral. Inclusive I’m sure, but very banal.
Lord Attenborough is interviewed by Dimbleby, with lots of nice words. But best of all is Chris de Burgh, with his own tribute song for Diana. That’s right, Elton, you slacker. He didn’t just take one of his classics, like Lady in Red or Patricia the Stripper, and slap on some poorly scanning replacement words. No sir, he wrote a whole new song, recorded it the night before, and there’s even a video to go with it. That’s a true professional. Here’s a link to this interview.
Joining de Burgh later is another close friend of the princess, Wayne Sleep.
Dimbleby also talked to two charity workers who worked with Diana, Gerry McGrath and Victor Adebowale.
“The procession, and the hearse, has just reached Newport Pagnell”
And this is the point where this tape finishes.
As with yesterday, here’s someone else’s uploads of (most of) this day.