A poignant special tribute to Diana Princess of Wales is being made today by a Sussex royal super-fan.
Julia McCarthy-Fox has been dubbed Britain’s most devoted royal watcher after photographing members of the royal family for more than 30 years.
She has travelled thousands of miles across the UK taking photos of royal events and attended many of Princess Diana’s engagements until her withdrawal from public events.
Today, on the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, Julia, from Southwater near Horsham, is sharing some of her previously unseen photos in the princess’s honour.
And she recalled Diana’s ‘special skill’ that made ordinary people feel extraordinary.
“Very early on it became apparent that Diana had a kind of magical aura around her - she seemed to radiate joy as she plunged into yet another walkabout and had a knack of spotting anyone in a crowd who was shy or nervous, ensuring that she shook their hand and shared a few words with them.
“Everyone wanted to reach her, metaphorically and literally, and she was sometimes almost hauled over barriers as people clamoured to grab at her to shake hands from several rows back in the crowd.
“I spoke to her several times and although I can remember nothing of what was said I can still recall how exciting it was to be that close to her.
“The crowd would buzz for ages after she had passed and everyone had a glow about them.
“I have no idea what her secret was, but I do know that meeting her was something that people never forgot.
“For a few special moments she made ordinary people feel extraordinary, and that was a remarkable skill.”
Julia said she felt a profound sense of shock and sorrow when she first heard that Diana had died following the car crash in Paris which also killed Dodi Fayed.
“During the afternoon my mother and I took some flowers from the garden to London and placed them right on the railing at Kensington Palace alongside a small number of others - having given the Princess flowers in life I wanted to do so now to say goodbye.
“We could never have imagined the flowers that were to follow, nor the scale of the huge outpouring of grief.”
Julia and her mother Zachary returned to London on the day of the princess’s funeral, setting up camp in The Mall.
Added Julia: “As the hearse taking the princess on her final journey passed on its way back down The Mall single flowers were thrown into its path and as it disappeared from view, with roses on the roof and carnations strewn in the road behind it, Diana was gone for the last time.
“What a sad fairytale that had turned into.”