AMONG the many millions moved to tears, there is one small, yet articulate, group whose present protestations of respect for the memory of Diana strike a false note.
We speak of those republicans - overt and covert - who have pounced cynically upon overwhelming national grief as a weapon to wield against the Crown.
All too recently, it was obligatory for hard-bitten Left-wingers and militant feminists to deride Diana for being spoilt and empty-headed. Now, not a few of these very same commentators may be heard lauding her as one who was a light to the rejected.
They have leeched on to this image of her as a royal outcast, revered by society's outcasts, to advance their own destructive cause. They have rushed to exploit popular remorse because they can hardly wait to consign the British Monarchy to the dustbin of history.
But republicans can spare us their crocodile tears. Not only do they misread the national mood, they wilfully misunderstand the woman so cruelly taken from us.
For all her charismatic appeal, Princess Diana was no radical firebrand.
She was the daughter of an earl, the mother of royal princes, and her dearest wish was that her elder son William would one day be king.
Yes, it is abundantly true that Diana, with her gift of love and laughter and her refusal to be constrained by the stuffier aspects of court protocol, stretched out her hands to comfort realms of human suffering that others - be they royal or political - rarely reach.
As both Queen and Prime Minister have readily acknowledged, there is much that Diana's life and death can …