Leading Article: A commemoration better kept in the family

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The Independent Online

Details of the service to commemorate Diana, Princess of Wales, on the 10th anniversary of her death have been made public. Lessons will be read by her two sons and her sister. Guests will include Sir Elton John, Sir Cliff Richard and the celebrity photographer Mario Testino.

The service – a service of thanksgiving – will be held at the Guards' Chapel at Wellington Barracks, and the proceedings will be televised live.

We appreciate the reasons why such a service might have been thought appropriate. A failure to mark the anniversary would have risked new accusations that the Royal Family was trying to write Diana out of the script. This slightly lower-key service might also be what those most intimately involved would have preferred 10 years ago, had passions not run so high. The message of reconciliation –between the families involved and between Queen and country – also comes over loud and clear. Are there elements here of trying to get it right the second time around?

We wonder, though, whether such a service is necessary. Neither monarchs nor national leaders of the calibre of Sir Winston Churchill have been accorded such an honour in the past. The commemoration also raises awkward questions, such as the invitation extended to the Duchess of Cornwall, now wisely declined. There is also the matter of which flag, if any, should fly over Buckingham Palace, and whether it and the Union flags that have proliferated on public buildings should be lowered to half mast.

Earlier this summer, the Concert for Diana was a fitting popular commemoration. We cannot help but feel that the anniversary itself would be more suitably observed privately, in the family.