Local News

NC Travelers Have Mixed Emotions on Their Way to London

Posted September 3, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

— Diana's death is still on the minds of most people here in North Carolina. Those traveling to London are unsure of what to expect once they get there.

London is a city with lots of narrow roads, many of them originally built for medieval oxcarts. Crowds are massive on normal days, and sure to be worse this weekend. North Carolinians headed to Britain say they'll mourn for the Princess, but try not to let her funeral overshadow their trips.

At RDU International, passengers couldn't help but think of the fallen princess as American Airlines flight 174 began boarding for London's Gatwick Airport.

Most of the travelers had planned their trips well in advance and not because of the weekend's impending funeral. Still, with an estimated one million mourners expected in the London area Saturday, they know the service will have an impact on their plans.

Robert McAlhany plans to steer clear of the funeral as best he can.

At the state capitol building in Raleigh, mourners lined up to sign a condolence book set up by local members of the Daughters of the British Empire. They plan to send the book to Princess Diana's sons.

For many Tarheels here, putting pen to paper was an emotional experience.

"There's nobody here with her poise and grace," says Princess Diana admirer, Leigh Lawrence. "It'll be years, if ever, that there's somebody like her again."

With few exceptions, the death of Princess Diana has left an emotional mark. For those planning vacations in the United Kingdom, those marks will likely mean a somber getaway.

McAlhany wishes he could have rescheduled the trip. He doesn't believe it's going to be a very pleasant and good atmosphere over there now because of the unfortunate situation.

A local memorial for the Princess of Wales is planned for 2:00 p.m. this Sunday afternoon on the steps of the state capitol. The Daughters of the British Empire and the British-American Business Council have organized it.