Correspondence regarding death of Diana, Princess of Wales (1997)
On 31 August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales died as a result of injuries sustained in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. Her friend, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene; the bodyguard of Diana and Dodi, Trevor Rees-Jones, was the only survivor. The death of the 36 year old princess prompted an unprecedented international outpouring of grief, and her televised funeral was watched by approximately 2.5 billion people. The news of the deaths reached New Zealand in the afternoon of the 31st of August, and the following day the Governor General, Michael Hardie-Boys, sent a letter to the Queen expressing his sympathy on behalf of the country.
During the week following Diana’s death there was some confusion, both in Britain and in New Zealand, over the protocol of flying flags at half mast. At Govenment House both New Zealand flags were flown at half mast, however the personal flag of the Governor General was not, which caused concern to some members of the public. A statement from Government House was released to the public clarifying that this flag should never be flown at half mast, even for the death of a monarch.
These letters come from a folder of correspondence regarding the official response of the New Zealand government to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, created by the office of the Governor General.
Archives reference: AAKU W5931 14/
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