The Queen bows to her subjects

The Queen will today broadcast to the nation her grief over the loss of Diana, Princess of Wales, as the Royal Family bowed to public criticism over their behaviour since Sunday's tragic deaths.

Although Palace officials insisted that the decision for the Queen to appear on television was one of many options "under discussion" all week, it came just hours after a round of criticism from the public and politicians via the media about their absence from the scenes of deep mourning at London palaces.

On an extraordinary day, the Palace responded to the criticisms made of it one by one, an apparent admission of the its slowness to react to the outpouring of national grief. At the same time, the House of Windsor showed how stung it was in a statement issued by the Queen's press secretary Geoffrey Crawford. He said on television: "The Royal Family have been hurt by suggestions that they are indifferent to the country's sorrow at the tragic death of the Princess of Wales."

The concessions came thick and fast. In breach with Royal precedent, it was announced that tomorrow the Union flag will fly from Buckingham Palace at half mast after the Queen has left for the funeral service at Westminster Abbey. This meets the growing chorus of demands from many ordinary people who have complained that there has been no flag at all. Traditionally, only the Royal Standard is flown - and then only when the Queen is resident.

Later, Prince Charles appeared outside Balmoral with William and Harry, as they inspected floral tributes left by public; an apparent reaction to allegations of aloofness aimed at the family. As the young princes read the messages, the Queen stood apart from the rest of the royal party.

Meanwhile, Princes Andrew and Edward flew to London yesterday and staged a walkabout among mourners, countering complaints that the Royals have remained bunkered inside their Balmoral retreat while outside the nation grieves.

The Queen has also abandoned plans to take the Royal Train overnight from Balmoral and will fly to London today to prepare her broadcast - in time for the evening news bulletins - and then stay at Buckingham Palace. It is possible she could then pay her respects at Diana's coffin in the Royal Chapel and walk among the many mourners queuing at St James's Palace to sign books of condolence.

The establishment moved quickly yesterday to back the Palace, an acknowledgement that the raw emotion of the past days has threatened to cause lasting damage to the monarchy. But even the choice of Mr Blair's phrase of Diana as the "people's princess" raised the question in some people's mind of what this said about the status of the other Royals in the public's affections.

A sign of the massive grief is the prediction last night by Scotland Yard that up to six million people will crowd into central London for the funeral.

There was also surprise in some quarters that no member of the Royal Family will take an active part in Diana's funeral service at Westminster Abbey, details of which were released yesterday.

The tribute will be read by her brother, Earl Spencer, and Diana's sisters will each read poems, while the Prime Minister will give a reading from the bible. The choice of participants - which came after "discussions" between the two families - clearly reflects a bias towards Diana as a Spencer and ambassador for Britain rather than a royal.

A concerted attempt to rally behind the Windsors came yesterday as politicians and church leaders urged the end of public criticism.

Conservative leader William Hague said: "Please, let us all come together now and stop converting our grief into criticism of the Royal Family. Saturday's funeral should be a dignified, united expression of national sorrow." Tony Blair has already made public his support for Prince Charles and others in the family.

In a joint statement, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York said: "We believe this is a time for us all to come together - in our grief, in thanks for Diana's life and in sympathy with those most closely affected by this tragedy."

A Lambeth Palace spokeswoman said one of the reasons for the statement was that " the archbishops are urging that this is a time for unity, as they have thought that the tendency to criticise the Royal Family is not helpful for the Princes William and Harry at this sad time."

Reaction to the Royal news was mixed among mourners outside St James's Palace. Legal secretary Mavis Daldy, from London, said: "I feel she's been pushed into making a statement. John Bradley, from Devon, said: "It's about time. In my opinion, it's a disgrace they've kept quiet for so long."

Andrea Lean, from Liverpool, said: "I'm glad. I just wonder why its taken them so long. They must know how people feel."

A Palace spokesman denied any suggested of a "knee-jerk" reaction by the Royal Family.

The clamour and the response

2 September "It isn't practical to lengthen the route without drastically extending the day". The Palace, responding to RAC calls for the route to be extended

3 September

"If the public is no longer impressed by stiff upper lips, by pushing grief-stricken boys into suits and sending them off to a church service where their mother is not even mentioned; if the future king cannot even put his arm around his young sons, then what and whom is it all for?" Suzanne Moore, The Independent:

"A sea of flowers the band plays... but no flag flies" the Sun

4 September

"Your People are Suffering. Speak to Us Ma'am" The Mirror:

"Show Us You Care - Mourners call for the Queen to lead our grief" the Express:

"Where is our Queen? Where is our flag?" the Sun:

"No flag flying, a Family far away, and the people feel uneasy" The Independent

3 September

Palace doubles length of route of procession

4 September

12.38pm Geoffrey Crawford, the Queen's press secretary, announces that the Royal Family has been hurt by suggestions that they are indifferent to the country's sorrow at the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

12.50pm It is announced that the Queen will return to London earlier than planned and will broadcast to the nation.

3.32pm It is announced that the Union flag will fly, for the first time, at half-mast from Buckingham Palace during the Princess's funeral.

5pm Princes Andrew and Edward walk among mourners in The Mall after visiting the coffin in St James Palace

6.15pm Returning from a church service in Balmoral, Prince Charles and Princes William and Harry stop to view the floral tributes to Diana laid outside the gates All through the viewing Prince Charles is holding his younger son's hand.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'