Flowers Strewn on Diana's Island
Spokeswoman: 'It's Ashes to Ashes'
Brother Says 'Thank You'
In an extraordinary acknowledgement of people's grieving over the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, her family have agreed to the release of photos of floral tributes being spread around her island grave.
The pictures show her brother, Charles, among huge numbers of flowers on the island which is in an ornamental lake on the ancestral estate, Althorp in Northamptonshire.
There is a striking difference to the great piles of floral tributes outside Althorp and at other places associated with the Princess: the cellophane wrappings are gone and the blossoms and foliage lie naturally on the ground.
Diana's burial on the island on Saturday, following the funeral service at Westminster Abbey in London, was purely a family matter, out of sight of the cameras.
But on Monday afternoon Lord Spencer agreed to a request from the Press Association (PA) news agency to allow one of its photographers, David Jones, to record the scene so the world could see Diana's resting place.
He said: "It really is a tranquil haven. It is a very peaceful scene.
"There was nothing but the rustle of the leaves in the trees, the sound of ducks swimming on the lake and the birds singing.
"There was no sign of where the Princess lay, merely a pathway which had been cut through the shrubbery and is now a carpet of flowers."
Earlier, the Spencer family had pinned a note to the gates to thank people for all the tributes they had left.
"The flowers have now gone to cover the island where she is buried," said the notice. The messages will be collected and retained."
A spokeswoman for the Spencer family said: "The temporary bridge to the island, used for the burial, has already been removed. The flowers will be carried across by boat.
"There was no intention of removing them after the flowers had wilted. It's ashes to ashes. They will stay there and help more flowers to grow one day around the grave."
Lord Spencer has expressed his thanks to all those who mourned her death. In a statement, he said:
"I would like to thank all the people, from all over the world, who have communicated their grief at Diana's loss to me and my family over the past eight days.
"The flowers, the letters, the telegrams - all in their tens of thousands - have been a source of comfort and pride to us, and have genuinely helped us to mourn her death," the earl said.
"The knowledge that Diana's life gave so many people, so much, can now be balanced by the hope that, in death, her legacy will be immortal."
Hundreds of people have continued to pay homage to Diana at Althorp. The gates to the park are surrounded with flowers, candles, cards and toys. To the left of the gates, the bouquets have been arranged in the shape of a heart. Flowers are also spread out for hundreds of yards along the walls of the estate.
Many people had said they would be happy to pay to see the island providing a portion of the money went to charity. That may have been one reason why the family was happy to have the photographs released.