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Queen broke protocols as sign of respect at Princess Diana’s funeral

Twenty five years ago today (September 6), Princess Diana was laid to rest after her life was cut short by a tragic car accident in Paris on August 31 1997.

Diana's sudden death shocked the nation and left millions in mourning. Her funeral saw 2,000 people attend the ceremony at Westminster Abbey, with more than a million others turning out to pay their last respects to the People's Princess.

It became one of the biggest televised events in history, with estimates suggesting that around 2.5 billion people watched the funeral on TV worldwide.

Diana's untimely death came at a time of tension among the Royal Family, who were criticised for their response. However, although Diana was no longer a royal, she was honoured in several poignant ways that went against royal tradition.

Here's how the Queen broke protocol during Princess Diana's funeral.

Did the Queen bow her head at Diana's funeral?

Traditional royal protocol states that Queen Elizabeth is bowed to by those who greet her, however, she does not bow to anyone herself.

But the monarch has broken this protocol once — on the day of Princess Diana's funeral.

During the funeral the Queen shocked the nation when she bowed her head as Diana's coffin passed Buckingham Palace, and soon other members of the Royal Family were following suit.

The poignant tribute came after the Royal Family had been heavily criticised following Diana's death as they remained hundreds of miles away at Balmoral and didn't immediately release a statement about the tragic accident.

Why was Princess Diana given a royal funeral?

Despite no longer being a member of the Royal Family following her split from Prince Charles, Diana was still given a royal ceremonial funeral in another break of protocol due to her popularity among the public.

It was reported that Diana's funeral had actually already been planned for 22 years at the time of her death, and was designed for the Queen Mother's death.

Codenamed Operation Tay Bridge, the funeral plan was used as the basis for Diana, however unlike the Queen Mother, she did not receive a state funeral.

It was reported by Channel 4 after the funeral that Prince Charles had overruled Queen Elizabeth, who wanted to give Diana a private funeral and mourning place, rather than have her body rest in a royal palace before the funeral.

However, Buckingham Palace quickly denied the claims as they said: "It is simply untrue to suggest that the Queen ever opposed arrangements over where the princess's body would lie".

How the Queen broke flag protocol for Diana

Another break in royal protocol for Diana's funeral came when the Queen agreed to fly the Union Flag at half-mast over Buckingham Palace on the day of her funeral.

At the time of Diana's death it was a traditional custom for the Royal Standard flag to be be flown over Buckingham Palace when the monarch was present.

When Diana died, the Queen and other royals were at Balmoral, so no flag was on display at the Palace.

Tensions started to build with a growing feeling that a flag should be flown at half-mast in a mark of respect to the late Diana.

The flag above Buckingham Palace had never been flown at half-mast before, but the Queen made the decision to allow royal protocol to be broken on the day of Diana's funeral.

Since then, the flag has been lowered to half-mast a number of times, including on the first anniversary of Diana's death, the September 11 attacks in 2001, the July 7 London bombings in 2005 and upon the death of the Queen Mother.

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