On the morning of 31st August 1997 I flew to the Philippines to conduct some membership training.  It was my first time in Manila airport and so I was still getting myself orientated when I arrived at Passport Control.  I handed over my passport and was a little disconcerted when the lady at the desk said “Oh, you are British. I’m so sorry!” I was tired so I didn’t hang around to question her about what she meant.  I just thought she was a bit odd.

When I arrived at the hotel, things got even stranger.  I had been upgraded to the Executive Floor which had its own check-in desk.  When I arrived on the 16th floor, I sat down at the desk and gave the lady my name – at which point she burst into tears.  Rather embarrassed, I went round the desk, placed my arm around her shoulders and asked if she was ok.  “I can’t believe she’s dead,” she kept saying, whilst rocking slowly back and forth.

Princess DianaAnd then it came out – Diana, Princess of Wales, had died in a car crash in Paris.    The hotel receptionist was inconsolable!

I’ve experienced receiving home news in different countries quite a lot, but the reaction to this one was huge (by the following morning, there was already a remembrance book in the hotel lobby).

Personally, I was never a massive Diana fan but she clearly made her mark on the world.  Can you remember where you were the day Diana died?


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