Year in Review: 1997


Re-rank the list of top news stories of 1997


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Princess Diana's death stuns the world

Weld steps out -
Cellucci steps forward

Mother Teresa is laid
to rest at age 87

Chinese rule returns
to Hong Kong

Supreme Court strikes
down 'Net decency act

UPS strike disrupts thousands of firms

Heaven's Gate cult commits mass suicide

Mars Pathfinder explores Red Planet

Ellen comes out, marking a first in TV

For the first time, a mammal is cloned

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From Boston to London, a day of
tears and shock

Many Britons felt a kinship with Diana

By Beth Daley, Globe Staff, 9/1/97

1961 - 1997


Britain buries Diana
in Regal ceremony

Palace may take - or leave -
her populism

LONDON - Clutching a dozen red carnations moistened with her tears, Eliza McMullen gazed at a foot-deep bed of flowers at Buckingham Palace's gates.

''I know Princess Diana is dead, but my mind doesn't believe it,'' she said.

''I came here, like everyone else because we're bewildered, we are hurting, we have no answers, no place to go,'' McMullen said.

The British mourned one of their beloved yesterday, a princess whose real-life problems evoked many of their own. Many said they felt a kinship with Diana, through her marital problems with Prince Charles, her eating disorder and problems with the royal family.

''She was a real person, vulnerable,'' said Janet Dinsmore, of London. ''She suffered so much. We understood that, we know how she felt. No other member of the royal family had that.''

Yesterday, pubs were silent, restaurants half filled. Small groups of people huddled on sidewalks, hugging, crying. An eerie silence hung over thousands of every nationality in front of makeshift shrines at Buckingham Palace and Diana's home, Kensington Palace.

Tidbits of news were shared on roadways among drivers. But whatever details became known, they were little comfort.

''Today, England cries,'' said Tom Coleman, walking near Buckingham Palace. ''My wife and I saw Di married, we camped out all night. Now we are seeing her death.''

Yesterday, while in disbelief, many mourners' hurt was turning to anger that the deaths might have been caused by the chase.

In front of Kensington Palace earlier in the day, mourners shouted and jostled at news photographers, according to reports.

At Buckingham Palace last night, a woman shouted at a news crew for getting too close to her when they filmed her placing flowers.

''Have some respect,'' the woman yelled.

''I think it's horrible the way the press followed Diana around all the time,'' said Jill Sewell, an American student. ''She shouldn't have died and I think the photographers are to blame.''

But others looked inward.

''We have only ourselves to blame,'' said Jim Barry, a London taxi cab driver. ''We all loved seeing Di in the papers. We encouraged it.''

Thousands flocked to Buckingham and Kensington palaces to pay respects.

A card laid outside Kensington Palace read: ''To live in hearts you leave behind is not to die. You will live in our hearts.''

Most people simply walked about, tissues held to their eyes. Others held onto one another, and sometimes, to strangers.

''I saw her first on the night that she got engaged when I sat outside Clarence House with a friend singing 'Congratulations, Congratulations' all night,'' said Gill Marseilles, 56, of London.

''She came out and waved at us. Poor girl, she didn't know what she was letting herself in for.''

''We had a birthday party tonight for my daughter,'' said Jeanette Blair. ''But even my daughter was crying. We came here instead.''

Others said they were waiting for word that the royal family would give Diana a state funeral, even though she is divorced from Prince Charles.

''We won't forget if they don't give her one,'' said Barry. ''The public -- we -- won't stand for it.''

Others speculated that Diana's death will mark the beginning of the end for the royal family. Many said Diana's refusal to live an unhappy life with a husband made her a hero for women.

''She was an inspiration to us,'' said Dinsmore. ''People felt that if she could leave her husband and stick up for herself, others could too.''

Others said Diana's death was Britain's greatest tragedy.

''Americans remember where they were when Kennedy died, this is our tragedy,'' Barry said.

''It just knocks you out,'' Coleman said. ''You sit here and say there was this amazing woman, a mother we all respected. And she's dead. She had been through so much. We do not deserve this; she was our Di.''

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