By DANICA KIRKA
LONDON (AP) — Above all, there was shock. That’s the word people use over and over again when they remember Princess Diana’s death in a Paris car crash 25 years ago this week.
The woman the world watched grow from a shy teenage nursery school teacher into a glamorous celebrity who comforted AIDS patients and campaigned for land mine removal couldn’t be dead at the age of 36, could she?
“I think we need to remind ourselves that she was probably the best known woman in the English-speaking world, aside from perhaps Queen Elizabeth II herself,” said historian Ed Owens.
“And, given this massive celebrity persona that she had developed, to have that extinguished overnight, for her to die in such tragic circumstances, at such a young age, I think really came as a massive shock to many people.”
It was that disbelief that cemented Diana’s legacy as the woman who brought lasting change to Britain’s royal family, helping bridge the gap between centuries of tradition and a new, multicultural nation in the internet age.
First, there was the outpouring of grief from the public who streamed to the princess’ home at Kensington Palace to mourn the loss of a woman most had never met. That alone forced the royals to recognize that Diana’s common…