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Harry pays emotional tribute to 'the best mother in the world'

August 30, 2007
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Click here to read Prince Harry's moving tribute to his late mother

"To us, two loving children, she was quite simply the best mother in the world. But we would say that, wouldn't we?" said Prince Harry as he led a moving personal tribute to the mother he lost so young, at a memorial service in London on Friday.

Describing Diana as "our guardian, friend and protector", he spoke for both himself and brother William in saying she never let her "unfaltering love" go undemonstrated. She gave them a "stable home", a kiss at night, greeting them with a "beaming smile" on their return from school.

He talked poignantly of the "blessed years" they enjoyed with both their parents, and how "indescribably shocking and sad" it was to lose their mother at such a young age. For the future, he said, the important thing for them was to remember Diana how she would want to be remembered as "fun-loving, generous and entirely genuine".

And in a key message of support to both William and Harry the Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, pleaded for all the negative reports and questions still lingering over her death to stop. "Let this service mark the point at which we let her rest in peace," he said.

He paid tribute to Diana's huge influence on charitable causes, in particular her work with Aids and landmines. She herself was "vulnerable" and "never set out to be a saint" he said, but dealt with the inevitable weight of expectation and scrutiny that came with being a member of the royal family.

The hour-long service took place at Guards Chapel, the place of worship for the Household Cavalry of which William and Harry are both members. Wearing their regimental ties, Diana's sons personally greeted family and friends - many of whom avoided black in line with the theme of celebration - as they arrived for the hour-long service.

By 11.45am many of the dignitaries had taken their places, including Earl Spencer whose family had organised the living flower arrangements of English roses and rosemary for remembrance. The late Princess' celebrity friends Lord Attenborough, Elton John and his partner David Furnish - who arrived with Camilla Al Fayed on his arm - and singer Bryan Adams took up their places alongside senior political figures and their wives. Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife Sarah, Tony and Cherie Blair and John and Norma Major were all in the congregation.

The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester were the first of the royal party to arrive, swiftly followed by Prince and Princess Michael of Kent and their children Frederick and Gabriella, the Queen's niece Lady Sarah Chatto and her brother Viscount Linley and Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie. The Princess Royal, her husband Tim Lawrence and their son Peter Phillips entered the chapel just before Prince Charles's solo arrival.

He was greeted with warm kisses on both cheeks from his sons and the trio chatted together as they awaited the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh who had flown in from Balmoral. In a break from tradition Prince William, Harry and their father led the procession into the chapel, ahead of the monarch, to music from the Royal Academy.

The service was conducted by the chaplain to the Household Division - the Reverend Patrick Irwin - with William giving the first reading from the Bible followed by a reading by Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Harry's address.

Bringing the ceremony to an end was Diana's favourite hymn I Vow To Thee My Country - which, poignantly, was played at both her wedding and her funeral - followed by the National Anthem.

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Photo: ©
The two Princes, both wearing their regimental tie, personally greeted guests with handshakes and kisses as they arrived for the moving service. Here they wait with their father, Prince Charles, for the appearance of the QueenPhoto: © PA
Photo: ©
In a touching gesture William puts his arm around the shoulders of his grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh, as Harry welcomes the Queen minutes before the start of the memorial. In a break from tradition, the two brothers, joined by their father, led the procession to the front of the chapel ahead of the British monarchPhoto: © PA
Photo: ©
Assembled in the Guards Chapel in St James' Park - chosen by William and Harry because, as Household Cavalry officers, it is the place of worship for their regiment – were 500 of the late Princess' friends and family, including 30 members of the royal family and key figures from the world of politics and musicPhoto: © PA
Photo: ©
Famous guests at the hour-long service included Elton John and his partner David Furnish, who arrived with Camilla Al Fayed, sister of the Princess' late companion Dodi, on his armPhoto: © PA

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