Princes will head special memorial service for Lady Diana
The 10th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris is being marked with a memorial service in London and tributes across the United Kingdom. Prince William and Prince Harry will be holding a special memorial service at the Guards' Chapel in London.
Ahead of the poignant milestone, members of the public left floral tributes and messages at Kensington Palace, the focus of the outpouring grief in the wake of August 31 1997. The Duchess of Cornwall will stay away from the thanksgiving service after criticism that it was inappropriate for her to attend. She will head to her countryside retreat Ray Mill in Lacock, Wiltshire - the private family home she still owns and kept on after her marriage to the Prince of Wales. She pulled out of the live televised commemoration at the weekend, explaining the dramatic u-turn by saying she did not want to detract from the purpose of the day. William and Harry invited their stepmother, but the decision caused controversy. Her presence was always going to be problematic, with some adamant it was not right for the woman who had an affair with Charles while he was still married to the Princess of Wales to be there. It was reported in London's Evening Standard that the Duchess will soon fly off on a Mediterranean holiday without the heir to the throne. A Clarence House spokesman said: "We don't comment on any private holiday plans." William and Harry usually remember the anniversary of their mother's death in private. But this year, exactly 10 years to the day that Diana died, they will join the royals and the Spencers at the chapel at Wellington Barracks for the church service. William and Harry, along with Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, have been closely involved in organising the service, which will include some of their mother's favourite classical music, by composers Rachmaninov and Mozart. There will be four hymns, concluding with Diana's favourite, I Vow To Thee, My Country, and a reading from her sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale. The service, conducted by the Reverend Patrick Irwin, will also include two prayers written by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and an address will be given by the Bishop of London, the Right Reverend Dr Richard Chartres. The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Charles - now without his wife at his side - and more than 30 royals will gather along with Diana's siblings Earl Spencer, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes. Sir Elton John, Sir Cliff Richard, Lord Attenborough and celebrity photographer Mario Testino - all friends of the late Princess - were invited by the princes. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and former PMs Tony Blair and Sir John Major will also be among the 500 guests. Harrods owner Mohamed Al Fayed, whose son Dodi died in the crash alongside the Princess of Wales, will lay flowers at a shrine he has built at the London store. There will also be a two-minute silence.