Crowds lined the streets for Princess Diana in Aylesbury - were you there?

The tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, left the people of Aylesbury Vale shocked, stunned and needing somewhere to express their grief.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 26th October 2018, 12:15 pm
Updated Friday, 26th October 2018, 12:25 pm
Princess Diana's visit to Aylesbury in May 1989
Princess Diana's visit to Aylesbury in May 1989

Now, 21 years on, The Bucks Herald looks back at the Princess's association with the town.

In the days after the tragic accident in August, 1997, queues formed as mourners waited patiently to sign a commemorative book, lay flowers and light candles at St Mary's Church in Aylesbury, and in Hale Leys Shopping Centre, which The Princess opened in 1983. heartfelt tributes were left under a large photograph of her.

A wedding exhibition, organised by The Bucks Herald, was rescheduled, and Charter Day cancelled. A record about Princess Diana, made by a band from Haddenham called Royale, was also shelved.

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Princess Diana's visit to Aylesbury in May 1989

And a local councillor lost her seat in a district by-election after causing outrage by calling her death 'irrelevant.'

Much of the affection for the Princess was no doubt helped by her dazzling visits to the Vale during the 1980s. Her first was on Wednesday March 2, 1983. Wearing a bottle green two-piece suit with a matching tricorn hat, and being snapped by the national media, she unveiled a plaque to mark the opening of Hale Leys. Thousands of people lined the route from the shopping centre to the Civic Centre, chanting 'we want Lady Di!'

The Bucks Herald managed to print its paper with pictures of the Princess on the front page, before she had even left the town. Copies were seen being placed inside the car that she left in.

In August of the same year the Princess made the first of what would be several visits to Stoke Mandeville Hospital when she accompanied Prince Charles for the opening of the National Spinal Injuries Centre. She returned for the 34th international Stoke Mandeville games in July 1985 and to open a 750,000 scanner for the centre.

Princess Diana's visit to Aylesbury in May 1989

In May 1989 the Princess visited Spring Hill Centre and commented how beautiful the site was. Dressed in a white slim fitting linen suit, she then made her way to the shattering noise of students from Aylesbury College hanging out of the windows calling out a welcome, while pupils from the Sir Henry Floyd School lined the route. She was offered a cocktail at the college, which students wanted to name after her. The Princess agreed, but declined to indulge because she said she didn't drink. After visiting Rayners Hedge Rehab Centre, a crowd of more than 2000 people greeted her on a walk-about of Market Square. The chairman of the district council presented her with a porcelain figure of Aylesbury's most famous resident- its duck.

One-year-old Toby Russell chose to give her some red roses. "I have always wanted to meet her," said proud mum Ann. "She is one of the nicest Royals and she is wonderful with the children."