This month sees the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana.

Her death deprived me of several front page stories in the newspaper I worked for at the time but this is hardly the time to discuss that!

I lived in New Zealand at the time and we got the news of the car crash on a Sunday morning and the death of Diana later on Sunday afternoon.

It was a terrible tragedy.

I was not a huge fan of the princess (unlike both my sisters) but I certainly admired the work she did.

Two things remain with me: the fact that she was the first royal to shake hands publicly with someone with AIDS and her campaign against landmines.

Whether I was a total fan or not, I, like everyone else, was saddened by the death of a woman who left two young sons behind her.

What I could never, ever understand was the reaction of the British people.

I have just finished watching a documentary on TV where both her sons spoke about the events that basically led to them sharing the profound grief of losing a mother with an hysterical public in the name of duty.

I have never seen Helen Mirren’s portrayal in The Queen because I don’t want to watch it.

It deals with the Royal Family’s death of Princess Diana. More, it deals with the British response to that death and I think it was absolutely horrendous.

I have just finished watching a documentary about the accident and the death of the princess.

It is tragic for so many reasons but mainly it is tragic for the way the people of this country reacted.

The Queen and Prince Philip may be the heads of state but they were also parents and grandparents. Charles may have been divorced but his children had just lost their mother.

Above all else, however, were a 15-year-old and a 12-year-old who had lost a mother.

I don’t care what royal title they had. William and Harry were children dealing with the most horrific loss possible.

How was this less important than the sadness of the people of Britain?

How on earth was this more important than the people demanding that the Royal Family return to London to support them in their grief?

Maybe the fact that I was a world away gives me less of an understanding. But I truly believe if I had been here I would have felt the same.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the 40th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley and how I felt about that.

But no matter how tragic that was for me, it was nothing compared to the grief that was experienced by his daughter, Lisa Marie, or his father, Vernon.

Both William and Harry have spoken out this week about the bewilderment and pain of hearing people wailing over the death of their mother while they were supposed to remain stoic and walk behind their mother’s coffin watched by millions.

Those who had truly loved Diana would have wanted to protect her children above all else but it seems that those caught up in what could only be described as mass hysteria believed that the need of the public to see the Queen, Charles and his children was far more important than worrying about the needs of the children she left behind.

I think the response to Diana’s death had much to do with mass hysteria and very little to do with compassion.

Compassion would have meant putting the needs and grief of two young children before the needs of the British public and that certainly did not happen. Why should the Queen have been with “us” in “our” grief? It was not our mother who died! And I am sure Diana would have agreed!