'Unique Ceremony' Befits the 'People's Princess'

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LONDON: Though Buckingham Palace decided against according Princess Diana a royal state funeral, "everybody feels she's being treated right," reports TIME London correspondent Helen Gibson. Gibson says the Westminster Abbey burial, slated for Saturday, is virtually a royal funeral, with a long court procession.

"Normally, they'd have all the ambassadors and heads of state attend, but the emphasis is going to be on Diana's friends and her charities," Gibson says. "That's exactly what people wish for her. She was very much a regular person in the eyes of people here. That was one of her great charms that they thought of her as a friend."

Gibson notes people are waiting in line for hours to sign registers of condolence, and are constantly adding to the deluge of bouquets amassed outside the gates of the palace. Had the Princess of Wales been "lying in state" an honor reserved for heads of state and members of the royal family the public would not have been allowed to pass by and pay their last respects. For the record, Buckingham Palace officially describes the funeral as a "unique ceremony for a unique person. The status is irrelevant."