Grantham Journal column: Moved by tribute to Diana

Peter Clawson.
Peter Clawson.

Of all the TV programmes and documentaries commemorating the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic death, the one which moved me most was the Sunday ‘Songs of Praise’ tribute.

It featured ordinary sufferers and carers with no axe to grind or political motives, expressing the natural love which the nation’s beloved ‘People’s Princess’ generated wherever she went. That, together with some of her favourite hymns and genuine stories of the kindness she gave freely worldwide, brought tears to my eyes throughout the beautifully produced and sensitive programme.

For one brief interlude all the conspiracy theories concerning Diana’s death were reserved for other much more controversial productions. They have persisted for 20 years and will probably outlast all those of us whose lives she touched, however briefly, unless someone suddenly breaks ranks and finally comes out with the truth. Whatever that is, no one can deny the heartache and pain she went through during a life cut short.

But before the worst of it, we know that there were idyllic moments where she found solace, especially with her sons, William and Harry. Some of these were at her sister Sarah’s home not far from Grantham. We know about this because on quite a few occasions local people caught sight of the royal trio enjoying themselves in our then thriving market, on the traditional fair we all love so much and at the cinema.

Although it was impossible for them to remain completely anonymous anywhere, I for one am grateful that Grantham was one place they were not hounded by the media.

There were crowds on St Peter’s Hill when Diana planted a tree on the green, but they were all adoring fans made up of the kind of ordinary folk she had always tried to care for and help wherever possible.