Her glamor and style still captivate, her good works still bring comfort, her smile captured in endless news footage and on countless magazine covers still radiates. Is it any wonder that as the anniversary of the death of Princess Diana approaches, it is so hard at times to believe she is really gone? More than 2 billion people watched her funeral on TV, and Britain seemed paralyzed with grief for a week following her death. But the investigation into the horrific crash in Paris on Aug. 31 that claimed her life at 36 (as well as the lives of Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul) has yet to provide answers. Memorials from the museum her brother Charles erected at Althorp to the shrine soon to be unveiled at Harrods by Dodi's father, Mohamed keep her legend alive. Her legacy too endures: the press has become more considerate of the royals, the Queen more caring of her subjects. But for those touched most personally by her passing her dashing young sons, her grieving ex-husband, the crash's sole survivor the loss is all too real. On the following pages, read how their lives have changed.
On Aug. 23, 15,000 were expected to follow part of the route, from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey, taken by Diana's casket last year. On Aug. 31, the anniversary of her death, the Spencers will gather for a private ceremony at Althorp. But Princes William and Harry will be vacationing at Balmoral, where they always go in late August, and where, it is hoped, the familiar surroundings will bring them comfort.
"Up there nothing changes," says author Brian Hoey. The boys' companion Tiggy Legge-Bourke, 33, will be on hand (though presumably not for sports outings after her recent blunder in allowing the princes to abseil rappeling headfirst down a steep incline without helmets) as will their cousins Zara, 17, and Peter Phillips, 20, Princess Anne's children. Days will be spent shooting, fishing or biking. There will be movies too. "They like to watch them after dinner," says Hoey. "If it's a war film, Prince Philip will tell what the filmmakers got wrong. He used to make William laugh out loud."
In fact, William and Harry (who turns 14 on Sept. 15) seem to be adapting with ease. "The boys are doing surprisingly well, partly because they're not being pulled in so many directions [now that Diana is gone]," says Majesty editor-in-chief Ingrid Seward. That isn't to say they don't miss their mother. Bubbly Harry now often seems lost in thought. "He's the one showing the effects of his loss," says the British Press Association's Archer. "But William could be storing up problems for later."
Though reporters have kept a respectful distance since Diana's death, it didn't help that a birthday surprise the boys had planned for their dad a specially written play by Stephen Fry, starring Emma Thompson and the young princes was spoiled by a newspaper report of it. Still, as a future king, says Archer, William "must learn to live with the legitimate interest of his subjects."
He has made something of a career out of his angst over architecture. He's also passionate about polo, not to mention his place in history as next in line to the British throne. But the role that now most defines Prince Charles is that of single parent. And, like most people new to that task, he has spent much of this year figuring out how to juggle professional duties and parental responsibilities.
Racked by grief after Diana's death, Charles immediately canceled most of his engagements to be with his boys. And as time went on, he arranged, when school holidays allowed, to have them join him. In November, 13-year-old Prince Harry was at Charles's side during an official trip to South Africa, where they were entertained by Zulu dancers and the Spice Girls. Then, over Easter break, both brothers tagged along on a royal visit to Vancouver, followed by a skiing vacation at Whistler, B.C.
"The prince has warmed to the task of being a single parent," says British Press Association royals correspondent Peter Archer. He has engaged in public displays of affection exchanging a goodbye kiss with William on Aug. 4, for example, as they boarded separate planes for a vacation in Greece and indulged in kid-friendly outings, such as a trip with Harry July 6 to see a London stage performance of Dr. Doolittle. He has even been heard poking fun at himself. Meeting Doolittle's cast, Charles quipped, "They say I talk to plants; now I'm talking to a Pushmi-Pullyu."