There were millions of words of sadness and thanks, messages of condolence on scraps of card and paper, in formal books, even on the Internet. These are a small selection
"I didn't realise until she died how much she did really. I've never really been interested in the Royal Family. I don't particularly admire them."

Racheal Haile, 22-year-old English literature student

"I am greatly distressed at the news of the death of Princess Diana and the awful suddenness in which it came upon us all.

"My deepest sympathy goes out to all the Royal Family and particularly to her two sons, to whom she was so devoted. She will be remembered with great gratitude by so many of those who she endeavoured to assist in so many ways."

Cardinal Hume, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales

"I've got no time for the Royals. I've never laid flowers anywhere and I've never signed a book of condolence, but I've taken time off work and I'd do so again and again and again."

Susan Jarrett, a 39-year-old advertising agency supervisor

"It's very important to me to come here and pay my respects to Diana. She was the queen of the people and has been torn from us in the most tragic manner."

Anne Kersey, a 40-year-old former airline stewardess, Knightsbridge

"This is all very touching and there is a real air of sadness. People have been crying as they leave the building."

Sharon Lillee, 44

"We are spending the day singing bhajans and kirtans (devotional songs) for her atma (soul)."

A temple spokesman, Hindu Temple in Neasden, north London

"I've never seen anything like it. It's quite overwhelming. I've had the odd tear or two welling up in my eye."

Outside the Palace gate, a policewoman

"The shame is she's not here to see this, how much people loved her.

"This is breaking my heart. She was so full of life and fun, the best of them all. We can't bring her back, but we can tell her what we feel."

Pensioner Emily Grayson, 72

"I am utterly devastated. The whole of our country, all of us, will be in a state of shock and mourning.

"Diana was a wonderful, warm and compassionate person who people, not just in Britain, but throughout the world loved, and will be mourned as a friend.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, particularly her two sons, and with all the families bereaved in this quite appalling tragedy."

Tony Blair, Prime Minister

"I cried my eyes out when I heard about Diana. We're nearly the same age, two sons, you know what I mean. It's so sad for the boys. It just makes me want to make the most of everything."

Mother, Angela Warwick, 38, of Pimlico, London

"I am ashamed. I am from Paris. Forgive me."

Mestari Kadar, 29, a chef from Versailles

"I thought Diana deserved to be happy and should have been allowed to see Dodi in peace. It's a great loss to the nation."

Nurse Annette Dejoya, 51

"When I heard of her death I was devastated. I thought it was a dream and I would wake up and it wouldn't be true.

"She helped change my life. I really don't know what I would have done without her."

Mr Seabrook, 27, security guard, Ilford, Essex, met Diana when previously homeless

"The prayers of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, indeed the whole Church of England, will be with the families of Diana, Princess of Wales and Mr Al Fayed at this tragic moment."

The Rev Dr William Beaver, a spokesman for the Archbishop of Canterbury

"Like, I suspect, everyone else in the nation, I am speechless with shock at the horror and sadness at this terrible tragedy.

My thoughts and prayers go to her family both near and far."

Paddy Ashdown, Liberal Democrat leader

"I loved Princess Diana. She was so beautiful and nice to everyone. I am very sad."

Seven-year-old Jade Tilleyer, Northolt, Middlesex

"We are shocked and saddened. This tragic news will shock and sadden people around the world.

"I always found the Princess to be warm-hearted and vulnerable. She was one of the icons of our age and she will leave an imperishable memory in the minds of millions."

John Major, former prime minister

"I'm absolutely shocked. My heart goes out in particular to Prince William and Prince Harry."

William Hague, leader of the Conservative Party

"I can't believe we will never see her happy, smiling face again."

Margaret Forsey, 31, from New Zealand

"The fact that the guy had been drinking makes the tragedy even more unbearable."

Joshua Waters, 30, from Nottinghamshire

"This should never have happened. I feel angry about it. It's not right."

David Hickey, 60, from Northhampton

"This is a ghastly tragedy."

Sir Edward Heath

"We didn't know her, but we feel so empty."

Tricia McDonald, 30, housewife, from Hove, Sussex

"She touched all our lives and is simply irreplaceable. She had to endure so much pain and suffering throughout her life but always battled on. I suppose the only consolation from this whole tragic affair is the fact that she died with the man she loved."

Mary Hilton of Charing, Kent

"Diana loved children. They knew her as the pretty lady in the photos. This country has lost its shining light. Lots of people criticised her but she had so much love to offer.

Hazel Johnson, 34, from Bracknell, Berks

"I am shocked and broken-hearted."

Henry Kissinger, former US Secretary of State

"She was a saint, not just a Princess. The people will never ever forget Diana. Her star will always shine."

Mike Ashford, 25, of the Rhondda valley, south Wales

"It has ended, at a young age, the life of a person who held a particular fascination

for many people round the world."

John Howard, Australian Prime Minister

"I heard the news and I just broke down. She was such a lovely person. I can't imagine life without her."

Marjorie McTaggart, 48, from Bolton, Lancs

"I heard news of her death with great shock and distress. She was well loved and admired and was emerging as a potent symbol of our common humanity."

Chief Emeka Anyaoku, The Commonwealth Secretary General

"Finding answers in the difficult days ahead will not be easy."

Martha Viners, 78

"I think she will be turned into a saint. She deserves nothing less. I am shocked. It is not the way anyone should die. I don't think that the press alone are to blame - I think it is everyone's fault."

Ian Leckie, 25, Glasgow

"She was a real lady, an example to us all. I still can't believe it has happened."

Susan Laney, 49, of Mill Hill, north London

"It is like losing my own daughter, my own flesh and blood. She was so wonderful, so beautiful, so caring. She could have just sat there and enjoyed her position, but she didn't. She worked so hard for so many good causes. She had a heart of gold and was brave and courageous even when her own life was in turmoil."

Margaret Glover, 64, of Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland

"The Princess of Wales was Centrepoint's patron for a number of years and we were always struck by her interest and commitment to homeless young people - not simply as a deserving cause but at a very personal level. We will miss her very much."

A spokesman for Centrepoint, the charity for the homeless

"Diana was an angel. It is a sad, sad day for England."

Sam Galloway, 22, from Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria

"The world has lost a diamond. I just hope the people of the world are given a place where they can pay homage to Diana. Her spirit must live on forever. She must never be forgotten."

Martin Dixon, 45, from Basildon, Essex

Messages to the "peoples princess"

"Rest in peace. You will be remembered for everything you have done."

Pensioner Jean Witek, of London

"Thank you for putting a sparkle in our princess's eyes."

Elizabeth Dews from Bahrain

"To William and Harry: your mother seemed not to know how important she was to the entire world. She had both courage and beauty and will be sorely missed. Do not follow other people but use your mother's example and follow her path."

American couple, from Portland, Oregon

"Diana, my eight-year-old daughter Leanne died of leukaemia in January. She always wanted to give you flowers - she can now do this in Heaven. God not only has our princess in his garden; He has you as well."

The Kisko family, Aldershot

"Diana, thank you for being the brightest star. I want you to have my wedding bouquet (I was married the day before). You will never be forgotten. Love always."

Jane Harris

"Dear Diana, thank you for treating us like human beings, not criminals. You were one in a million, from David Hayes and all the lads in HM Prison, Dartmoor."

"To the greatest, most caring lady ever to grace this earth, with love from Elga."

"Di, sunflower of England, you shone over the world, Colin and Janet."

"Thank you for bringing heaven and earth closer together, from Middlebury College, NYC, USA."

"A person is not judged by how much they love but by how much others love them. Be happy, Tracy, Keith, Charlotte and Thomas."

"We'll look after your boys."

Katy Fox, Alicia Sur-Szpiro, 15

"Through the good times and the bad you carried on, you cried for the poor, you cried for the ill, for the world to be happy was your biggest thrill."

Marika Stamatis

"Bye, bye, Diana."

Jocelyn Stephens, 7, Humberside

"What a waste. Our prayers are with you and your lovely sons." Elizabeth Williams, granny, Liverpool.

"Our nation needed you."

Anthony Jones, dad of two

"You are safe now my little angel."

Arthur Miller, grandfather

"When I first met you in 1995 you gave me such strength. I only wish I could have been there for you."

Josephine Rogers, cancer victim

"Our holiday has been shattered with the news of your death."

Frank Delzen, 49, Dallas, Texas

"The good on earth are always snatched the earliest."

Jenny Goodall, Barnsley

"I feel appalling guilt at the senselessness of your death in my home city."

Leanne Vichi, Paris

"We are still in deep shock. The tears have yet to flow. But when they come we don't know how we will ever stop them."

John and Barbara McIntyre

"The children should have returned to school this week but it was at their insistence that we travel to London. It was the right decision for we cannot bear to be without you."

The Mechin family, Stockport

"Your loss must bring all families closer together."

Tim and Jane Robinson, 26, New Forest

"When you looked into someone's eyes you showed so much love. You will always be in people's eyes, especially mine."

Raymond Hussey, 21, from Stepney

"Hope that you rest in peace now that you find true happiness."

Helen McCash, an accountant, from Hertfordshire

"I took you for granted like so many did. Please forgive me. I didn't realise how much I cared till you had gone."

Hayden Jones, 25, a writer, from London

"I hope the boys will grow up the way you wanted them to."

Theresa Chung, 54, jeweller, from Plymouth

"You were the heart and soul of the country. Your soul will live on in our hearts forever."

Mark Allan, 21, student, from Watford

"How can I ever forget you?"

Roger Williams Cruise, 55, caretaker from Berkshire

"A totally unforgettable lady."

Linda Shanahan, 40, housewife

"How could I ever forget you?"

Micheal Shanahan, 40, printer

"We will all miss you so much."

Hayley Shanahan, 10, Watford

"You were my role model."

Ann Lane, 41, mental health administrator, Chiswick

"You deserved to be happy. You did everything right for the country."

Aimee Richardson, 16, student, Bexleyheath

"Thank you for your love and campassion and dedication to all people."

Sister Rita Cahill, 71, nun, County Tipperary, Ireland

"Thank you for the love you gave to the poor. May the Lord make you a saint."

Josepha Burgos, 58, housewife, from the Philippines

"It is sad that you had to die for us to realise how much you were loved."

Theresa Flynn, 57, cancer researcher, Oxted

"Such a vibrant life cut short."

Vera Lewis, 46, civilian worker at Brixton police station

"Dolphins have strength to be free. Now you are free with Dodi in heaven."

Selai Yabaki, 17, student

A homeless man who couldn't afford flowers left behind a copy of The Big Issue featuring an article by Diana on homelessness.

"Thank you," he wrote on a piece of paper.

Messages posted on the Internet

"How could one who has all the opportunity to be Royal bring herself down to show the rest of us her heart? I will always be grateful for your way of showing us what class is really about ... Most of all I will remember the beauty in your soul."

Dane, Poland

"She is gone and no one will change that. Sure... She was attractive, famous, and still a young woman. So what... why make such a big deal about Her death? Hundreds of young people die every day and nobody gives all of them even a fraction of the attention they give Her. Are they worse than She was? Hm... I don't think so. Why shouldn't we let Her rest in peace and get off her back for good."

Tomasz Grzesik, Chicago

"She had everything. That is what we thought. But, sadly, happiness is something that can't be bought. She had more than her share of personal sorrows, but that sweet smile never left her as she dreamt of better tomorrows. And in her world of unseen stress she tried so hard for that bit of elusive happiness. To add to her misery, was the hounding by the press. Laying bare her smallest actions for the world to see. Now she is beyond all that and at last free. Rest in peace sweet Princess Di."

V S Shirali, Mahim, Bombay, India

"You never say goodbye to someone that you love; you just say, I will see you tomorrow, for life on earth is so long there is no time in Heaven... I know that you and your family will be in my prayers for some time to come. So I shall say, I'll see you tomorrow my sweet Princess. May God Bless and Be with You All. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18."

Lauri Stanger, Sheridan, Wyoming

"She did so much good, so many simple things a Royal would never do. She showed the world that she was a great soul. She has been quoted as the "Queen of Love" and the "Queen of LIFE", for no one shall forget her. My thoughts, prayers, and heart go out to her children in this time. Words cannot express what I and the world feel. She lives on in our hearts and dreams, and through her life... ours is better."

Mark Bailey, United States, Vermont

"May Heaven be all the more a desired place to host such an angel as she... God bless you."

Keri L Williams, Brownstown, IL USA

"I know that she now rests in a much happier place where she will never have to run from a flash again. Goodbye kind princess."

Christina Sawyer, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA

"I feel deeply sorry for the tragedy. Princess Diana is and will always be the most beautiful and kindest princess. I really do feel empty after knowing she's gone. Princess Diana... rest forever in peace. Sincerely, Alan."

Alan Ko, St Louis, MO

"I don't know you personally Princess, but you will surely be missed by me and the whole world. Whoever did this to you must pay. My heart cries for your children. Not only they lost a wonderful mother but a best friend as well. Farewell Princess. At least you are in better place now than all of us here on earth. Sweet dreams my Princess."

Carla Acera, Covina, California

"My heart goes to the family and friends of such a beautiful woman! I only wish that I had personally known her! I treasure her as I do Jackie Kennedy! Both wonderful women! Diana is in my prayers! Now she is finally at rest and at peace! May she rest in the peace of Christ! I think of the song "Bring Him Home" - change the words to "Bring Her Home"!! God love her."

Bill W Barette, Negaunee, MI, USA

Compiled by Jennifer Rodger, Tom Kelly and Holly Andrew