1997 holds many memories for me. It was the year of my GCSE results. It was the year my grandmother died. It was the year Diana, Princess of Wales died.
I have felt guilty for 20 years. You see, I asked my mum to buy the newspaper with the photos of Diana on holiday. I wanted to see her being happy. But it was people like me that encouraged the paparazzi to chase her and ultimately played a part in her death.
My parents went out to do the weekly shop and my sister and I switched the TV on to watch a video of Men Behaving Badly (yes, no DVDs or streaming back then!). Instead we were hit by rolling news, the first time I’d ever seen such a thing (BBC News channel didn’t exist until months later).
I sat in disbelief absorbing the shocking news that a princess, a mother, a patron, a champion was gone.
The fairy tale was over once and for all and the ending wasn’t happily ever after.
My mum is a huge fan of the Royal Family and this has been passed on to me. I ruined her enjoyment of the royal wedding by crying through it. Well, I was only 2 months old! I had a Princess Diana cut-out doll with loads of 1980s dresses and I had colouring books.
I recall the shock when the separation was announced in 1992. My incredulity at the Panorama programme. My sadness that our future queen would no longer take the throne and complete the fairy tale.
Diana was beautiful. She was the woman that little girls wanted to be before the nonsensical celeb culture took over. She had style, she had grace, she had dignity and self respect. She pushed boundaries and raised awareness of fantastic charities. She was human, had her flaws and we loved her despite them.
I remember when I was teaching 10 years ago and mentioned Diana to the class and they stared at me blankly. She died before they were even born and so for the next generation has already moved into the history books.
And now 20 whole years have passed since that tragic summer. My thoughts are with her family today.
For me, Elton John was right: her candle burned out long before her legend ever will.