People Are Sharing Stories Of Where They Were When They Learned Of Princess Diana's Death

THIERRY SALIOU / Stringer // Getty
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It’s hard to believe that today marks the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. Many still remember exactly where they were when the news of the car crash in that Paris tunnel broke — and as all the people tweeting about where they were when they heard Diana had died can attest, her impact is still felt profoundly all over the world today.

Like many, I also vividly remember where I was when I heard the news. I was 12 years old, and my family and I had been watching a movie; when we turned off the movie — a DVD, I believe; we got our first DVD player around that time — the TV was full of reports of Diana’s death on practically every channel. It didn’t quite seem real; Diana and Prince Charles had gotten married about four years before I was born, so they’d been a fixture of the cultural landscape for my entire life. Although they’d announced their initial separation when I was 7 and divorced several years later, I still couldn’t wrap my brain around the idea of a world where Lady Di didn’t exist.

At the time, I didn’t quite realize the enormity of the event, largely because I wasn’t yet in tune with how beloved Diana had been by so many people. It’s true that she wasn’t perfect; she did, however, do a huge amount of good, and she gave a lot of hope to a lot of people. She was relatable — a real-life Cinderella — and even after the end of her marriage to Charles, she continued the work she had been doing, as well as taking control of her own narrative.

That’s what all of these stories of where people were when they heard she had passed had in common: They each reflect exactly how much impact one person can have on another, even if they’ve never met. And they reflect how that impact can continue after someone is no longer with us — perhaps reminding us of the lessons we can learn from them long after they’re gone.

Where were you when you heard the news?

1Somber Music

A lot of stories involve the radio; many people were in their cars or getting ready for the day when they heard the news.

2Just Landed

The confusion is understandable.

3Stuck In Traffic

Upsettingly iconic.

4The Start Of The School Year

Kids were just as struck by the news as adults were.

5Early Memories

The details can be unforgettable.

6During A Trip

For many, the memories are still fresh.

7Unreality

I wasn't the only one stuck in the mindset that it couldn't possibly be real; it was a common reaction.

8When It Hits Close To Home

One of the bittersweet aspects of tragedies is how they bring people together, even when they're at a distance.

9On The Phone

Sometimes, you just need your mom.

10Change The Channel

Childhood memories can prove to be lasting.

11A Call From The Boss

It's interesting to me how, when something happens that we can't quite process, our impulse much of the time is to think it's a joke.

12Up All Night

I think this may have been what a lot of adults did that night, depending on the time zones they were in.

13An Old Flame

Shocking news can inspire strange memories.

14At A Game

That must have had quite an affect on the crowd.

15Only A Child

This Twitter user was only 5 years old when it happened, but she remembers vividly where she was. Her full thread starts here.

16When The Sadness Travels With You

Devastating.

17Another Hotel

Some things are too important to miss.

18In Shock

When your brain just can't fathom what just happened.

19In Boot Camp

Hard to believe, indeed.

20New Parenthood

None of us will forget.