Princess Diana death: How Royal protocol was BROKEN when body returned to UK Latest News

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Princess Diana death: How Royal protocol was BROKEN when body returned to UK Latest News


Diana's body is returned to RAF NortholtGETTY


TRAGIC: Diana’s body is returned to RAF Northolt in on August 31, 1997

Brigadier Charles Richie speaks of the Princess’s tragic death on tonight’s Sky documentary, Diana: The People’s Princess.

The programme looks at her death in August 1997 in Paris and the events leading up to her funeral.

Richie was a military attaché to the British Embassy in Paris at the time and helped with the repatriation of Diana’s body back to the UK.

But he has revealed how he broke protocol by deciding that the Royal Standard and not the Union Flag should be draped on the coffin.


Diana's coffin had the Royal Standard draped overGETTY


ROYAL: Diana’s coffin had the Royal Standard draped over it for her funeral

He told Sky: “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.”


“I was merely told technically I was wrong”


Charles Richie

“And I said ‘put on the Royal Standard I will take responsibility,’” Richie continued.

The Standard Flag is normally used only for members of the Royal family.

Diana finalised her divorce from Prince Charles a year before in August 1996.

Despite the break of protocol, the reaction was positive.

Richie added: “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.”

The reaction was so positive the flag was used for the funeral too.

The documentary will be shown on Sky One at 8pm tonight, ahead of the 20th anniversary of her death on August 31 next week.

It will also feature a US couple who were among the first people to witness the scene of the crash in the Paris tunnel.

This isn’t the only documentary coming up on the Princess.

Diana, 7 Days will air on BBC at 7.30pm on Sunday, August 27.

It will detail what happened in the lead-up to her death and the outpouring of grief that gripped the nation afterwards.

The forthcoming programme will feature interviews with Diana’s sons and siblings, as well as former Prime Minister Tony Blair.

This comes as unseen pics of Diana escaping the Royal limelight on holiday were revealed.

Princess Diana death: How Royal protocol was BROKEN when body returned to UK Latest News

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Princess Diana death: How Royal protocol was BROKEN when body returned to UK Latest News

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