Riveting revelations as witnesses speak in new Diana doccie

Cape Town – DStv subscribers will be able to watch a new Sky documentary about Princess Diana today to mark the 20th anniversary of her death.

Diana: The People's Princess that will air on Sky News (DStv 402), Wednesday 23 August, at 16:00 South African time, with a rebroadcast at 21:00.

See the promo here:

In Diana: The People's Princess, a man who saw a "beautifully made up" Diana in her coffin, and a pall bearer at her funeral share their emotional stories, as well as journalists and members of the public who witnessed the scene of the crash.

The moving accounts come from those who witnessed first-hand the events surrounding the death of Princess Diana with the documentary that looks at Diana's final hours, the extraordinary events leading up to her funeral and the enduring legacy of her charitable work.

The documentary is broadcast ahead of the 20th anniversary of her death on 31 August next week.

One poignant recollection comes from the man who was military attaché to the British Embassy in Paris at the time.

Brigadier Charles Ritchie helped with the repatriation of Diana's body back to the UK, and more significantly broke protocol by deciding that the Royal Standard and not the Union Flag should be draped on the coffin.

In Diana: The People's Princess, Brigadier Ritchie says: "Her body was in a coffin, there was never a mark on her face, she was beautifully made up, she looked as though she was sleeping.

"The RAF sergeant as I recall said, 'Which flag shall we put on the coffin sir?' And I said, 'What flag have you got?' And he said the Union Flag and the Royal Standard.

"I said, 'Well my head says the Union Jack, my heart says the Royal Standard'. Unless it is a member of the Royal family that is dead the Royal Standard should not be used.

"And I said 'put on the Royal Standard I will take responsibility.'"

The Standard Flag is normally only used for members of the Royal family. From the time of her divorce Diana was no longer known as Her Royal Highness.

Speaking about the reaction to his unorthodox choice he adds: "I was merely told technically I was wrong, but when you saw the reaction of the public… An official communication then arrived to the ambassador informing him to thank me for the unconventional decision I had taken, full stop."

What it meant to carry her coffin

Also speaking in the documentary is Philip Bartlett, who was only 23 and serving in the Welsh Guards, when he was asked to be one of the pall bearers on the day of Diana's funeral.

In the programme he talks movingly about what it meant to carry her coffin and escort the gun carriage through the centre of London on the way to Westminster Abbey.

Talking about the first moment they lifted her coffin and the huge responsibility of that day he says: "It was the first time we actually felt the weight of the coffin, we lifted it up and we thought this is quite heavy this is."

An American couple who were among the first people to witness the scene of the crash inside the tunnel in Paris share their story, along with journalists who reported on the news that the Princess of Wales has died.