Diana: The Day Britain Cried

One of the pallbearers who accompanied the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, to her funeral at Westminster Abbey on 6 September 1997, was taken aback by the unprecedented outpouring of public grief.

“I thought [the funeral] was going to be quite sober and quiet, we’re English,” he says, in this excellent documentary. But he and his colleagues, who’d been kept well away from the outside world as they rehearsed their grim task, were staggered by what they saw and heard on that eerie day.

From that first wail of “Diana, we love you!” from a member of the public as the cortège left Kensington Palace, to the rainstorm of flowers that carpeted the hearse on Diana’s final journey, it was a day of the unexpected. 

Diana: The Day Britain Cried constructs a powerful minute-by-minute account of that day, from the chime of the tenor bell marking Diana’s departure from Kensington Palace on a lonely gun carriage to the remarkable journey of the hearse along a deserted motorway to her final resting place at her family home of Althorp.

Narrated by Kate Winslet, the documentary tells the story of the ritual and pageantry of Diana’s funeral and of how the decisions were made through those who were intimately involved – many talking to us exclusively and for the first time. Their extraordinary testimonies are illustrated with archive footage from the time, some of which has never been seen before.

Those interviewed include Sir Malcolm Ross, the senior Buckingham Palace courtier who was responsible for the planning and execution of the funeral in just five days; Captain Richard Williams, the chief pallbearer; Martin Neary, the musical director of Westminster Abbey; Graham Craker, Prince William and Prince Harry’s former Royal Protection Officer; Lisa Webb, who arranged the floral tributes from the two young princes for their mother’s coffin; as well as reporters, police and some of the people who joined the crowds.

Through these witnesses, the film explores the day of Diana’s funeral from beginning to end, as well as the wider impact of her death on Britain and the world.

Praise for Diana: The Day Britain Cried

“Gripping” – The Daily Mail

“An excellent documentary” – Radio Times

Producer: Lorraine McKechnie

Director: Leslie Woodhead

Narrator: Kate Winslet