front page 1997

On June 18, 2019, LNP celebrated its 225th anniversary.

The earliest newspaper to which today’s LNP traces its roots was the Lancaster Journal, first published on June 18, 1794, by William Hamilton and Henry Willcocks from a news office located in a tavern building at the King Street site of the current LNP building.

To celebrate 225 years of Lancaster newspapers, we present this series of 52 front pages from the history of the newspapers which would eventually become LNP. 

Death of a princess

From 1981 to the very early morning of Aug. 31, 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, was one of the most popular public figures in the world.

Born Diana Spencer on July 1, 1961, she would meet her future husband, Charles, Prince of Wales, at a family gathering when she was 16 and he was 29. After a short engagement – Diana would later claim that she and Charles met approximately 13 times before the official announcement – the couple was married on July 29, 1981, at what was billed “the wedding of the century.” Immediately prior to this, Diana had been working as a kindergarten assistant, making her one of only a few British royals to have earned a paycheck outside the confines of the monarchy.

Ten years, two children and a handful of cheating scandals later, Charles and Diana’s marriage ended at the tail end of 1995, with no less than an official decree from Queen Elizabeth II. However, Diana’s public life never really slowed down, especially with respect to her charity work. From the beginning of her royal life, where she helped to break the stigma of interacting with HIV/AIDS patients to her work in the ‘90s with landmine survivors, leprosy and cancer research, much of Diana’s time was taken up with various causes.

Throughout this time, Diana’s struggles with the paparazzi were - of course - well documented. Four years prior to her death, Diana filed a criminal complaint against Mirror Group Newspapers for photographing her in the middle of a workout at L.A. Fitness and selling the photos to news agencies around the world. In the days before her premature death, Diana had been vacationing on a yacht in the Mediterranean Sea with Dodi Fayed, son of Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed. The duo arrived in Paris, intending to stay for a night en route to London. Due to dozens of stationed photographers outside of their hotel, Diana and Fayed, as well as Henri Paul, driver and head of security, left via a back entrance as a decoy vehicle took off from the front. Just after midnight, Paul lost control of the vehicle at the entrance to the Pont de l’Alma tunnel and smashed into a wall before colliding with a pillar.

Following close behind the car were a number of photographers on motorcycles, some of whom shifted to helping with the wreckage while others continued shooting pictures. In the weeks that followed the incident, much of the blame would be placed on the paparazzi, though it was later revealed in the toxicology report that Paul had various drugs in his system at the time of the incident.

The funeral for Diana, Princess of Wales, was met with a public outpouring of grief the likes of which had rarely if ever been seen since for a single individual. More than three million people assembled to see Diana off at Westminster Abbey, with another 2.5 billion watching on television - roughly 43% of the world’s population. Fifteen years later, Diana’s firstborn son, William, would propose to his bride, Catherine Middleton, with the same 18-karat white gold engagement ring that his father had given to Diana.