GODDESSES WE LOVED AND LOST; SADNESS and Ultimately Tragedy Were Princess Diana's Lot. in This She Followed Two Other Great 20th-Century Icons, Movie Goddess Grace Kelly and John F Kennedy's Widow Jacqueline Onassis. Their Funerals, Too, Were Seen on TV by Huge Audiences and Became Occasions for Great Outpourings of Grief. Now Diana, like Princess Grace and Jackie O, Will Be Frozen in Time as Charm and Elegance Personified

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When Princess Diana went to Princess Grace of Monaco's funeral, it was the first time she had been parted from Prince William, then just 12 weeks old.

Until that day, frequent comparisons had been made between the two stunningly- beautiful women who became the most glamorous princesses in history.

But when the Queen asked Diana to represent the Royal Family at the funeral, these seemed irrelevant.

Here was the Princess of Wales, bursting with youthful charm and blossoming with the joy of new motherhood. She was just 21. The funeral, on September 18, 1982, was her first solo engagement since her marriage.

She was still so new to the ways of royalty that she allowed herself to shed a tear in public - against all the rules of protocol.

By contrast, Princess Grace's incredible life, packed with a glittering Hollywood career and a fairy-tale marriage, was over. She was 52 when she died after her car plunged from a mountain road.

Little could any of us have imagined that Princess Diana's life would end so suddenly and in such strikingly similar circumstances 15 years later.

News of Grace's death stunned the world. There was confusion and incomprehension. Ordinary people felt they had lost a part of their own lives. Her funeral was an opportunity for us all to try to come to terms with her death.

Two of Grace's children, Prince Albert, then 24, and Princess Caroline 25, followed her ebony coffin into the tiny Monegasque Cathedral in Monaco where she had married Prince Rainier 26 years before.

Her third child, Princess Stephanie, 17, still lay in a hospital bed after surviving the crash. Prince Rainier ordered doctors to spare her the ordeal of watching the funeral on TV.

Monaco is a tiny principality, little bigger than Hyde Park and with a population of just 35,000. But mourners and journalists from around the globe descended in droves for the funeral. Television crews lined the route to the funeral cortege, and a camera was allowed to film over the altar, capturing remarkable footage. …