earl spencer
Earl Spencer sits down to loud applause
Earl Spencer's tribute
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Dur: 7'53"

Diana's Brother Pledges to Protect Royal Princes

Earl Spencer has paid a powerful tribute to his sister Diana, Princess of Wales, attacking the media and pledging to play a greater role in the upbringing of the Royal princes.

In a heartfelt speech, Earl Spencer described his sister as the "very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty."

He told the mourners at Westminster Abbey and across the world that his sister was "a symbol of selfless humanity" and a "standard bearer of the rights of the downtrodden."

Earl Spencer made some poignant comments about the Royal Family, indirectly criticising them for their attitude to his sister.

He said that as the last year had demonstrated, she did not need the trappings of royalty to win the hearts of the world.

"She needed no Royal title to generate her particular brand of magic," he said, refering to the withdrawal of the title, "Her Royal Highness".

He pledged that he and what he called her "blood family" would look after the welfare of her sons.

earl spencer
Earl Spencer: Vow to protect the Royal princes

"She would want us today to pledge ourselves to protecting her beloved boys, William and Harry, from a similar fate - and I do this here, Diana, on your behalf," he said.

"We will not allow them to suffer the anguish that used regularly to drive you to tearful despair. And, beyond that, on behalf of your mother and sisters, I pledge that we, your blood family will do all we can to continue the imaginative, loving way in which you were steering these two exceptional young men, so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition but can sing openly as you planned," he said.

Brother Attacks Media

Royal Princes
Earl Spencer pledges to protect the young Princes

Earl Spencer maintained his composure through most of his tribute to Diana. But there was a edge to his voice as he made some barbed comments about the media and paparazzi.

"Genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum," he said.

"She talked endlessly of getting away from England, mainly because of the treatment that she received at the hand of the newspapers," he continued.

"I don't think she ever understood why her genuinely good intentions were sneered at by the media, why there appeared to be a permanent quest on their behalf to bring her down. It is baffling," he said.

Earl Spencer said the irony of her life was that she had been named after the goddess of hunting, but she herself was one of the most hunted individuals.

His voice faltered and almost appeared to break down at the end of his speech as he spoke of his feelings for the "unique, complex, extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana".

Stepping down, he was applauded loudly by the congregation in the Abbey, and the crowd outside to whom the service was being relayed on loudspeakers.

The full text of Earl Spencer's tribute