Kate Livingstone: Someone with so much to offer

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It’s hard to believe that it’s 20 years since Princess Diana died.

The tragedy is one of those events where everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news for the first time, along with JFK – yes, I’m that old, Elvis and Michael Jackson.

Funnily enough I don’t recall the news of the old Queen Mum’s passing but then she was 101 so it wasn’t entirely unexpected.

It was a Sunday morning and in the days before all this social media interaction – you remember the times when people relied on newspapers, radio and television to get all their news.

I was pottering about in the kitchen on that fateful day getting the kids’ breakfast when suddenly I was aware of the sombre tone from the radio newsreader.

It was unthinkable what he was saying.

That beautiful young woman who only days before we saw enjoying a break in the sunshine was gone.

Like most mums, my thoughts turned to those two young boys who we were told where on holiday in Balmoral.

First they had their parents splitting up and now their mother was gone.

Yes, they had a very privileged background – one which most of us could only dream about – but no matter how much they had the one thing that had been taken from them and could never be replaced was there beloved mum.

In the following days everyone seemed to go about almost in a daze. The outpourings of grief for ‘The people’s princess’ were unprecedented.

Flags flew at half mast, books of condolence were opened and flowers, masses of them, started being left at places connected with Diana.

Then the row broke about the Royals staying at Balmoral. There were people who believed, fuelled by the media I think, calling for the Queen to return to London.

But I for one always backed the Royal Family and the Queen’s decision to stay at Balmoral and protect those young, motherless boys for as long as possible.

On that occasion, and perhaps never again, it appears she put being a grandmother before being a monarch.

As we approach the anniversary today (Thursday) there’s been much written in newspapers and commentary on TV about those fateful days.

It’s strange watching the hysteria – as well as the fashions and haircuts from 20 years ago! – but the one thing that has never changed is the sadness at the loss of this young woman with so much to offer.

What is it they say? Only the good die young ...