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Sir Elton honours his friend Diana as crowds gather to pay tributes at Kensington Palace

By Tony Jones

Sir Elton John has honoured the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales describing how 20 years ago "the world lost an angel" as fans of the royal gathered at her former home in tribute.

The 20th anniversary of Diana's death was also marked by her friend Rosa Monckton describing the princess as a "truly extraordinary woman'' while Elizabeth Emanuel, co-designer of Diana's wedding dress, tweeted how she brought joy to all who knew her.

Hundreds made the pilgrimage to the gates of Kensington Palace where bouquets of flowers, messages and pictures had been left in memory of Diana, killed on August 31, 1997 in a Paris car crash.

Diana's die-hard fans vowed to "keep her memory alive'' and brought a large floral display spelling out her name to the gates and a huge cake decorated with an image of the princess. The tributes have grown since the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry visited the site on Wednesday to see the outpouring of love and admiration for their mother.

Sir Elton (70), a close friend of the princess, posted a picture on Instagram with his arm around her and wrote: "20 years ago today, the world lost an angel. #RIP".

The star famously performed an alternative version of his poignant song Candle In The Wind in honour of the princess at her funeral.

Diana was a woman whose warmth, compassion and empathy for those she met earned her the description the "people's princess''.

Twenty years have passed since her death shocked the world but her appeal remains undiminished.

In an interview with The Times, Ms Monckton paid tribute to her friend, saying: "She was everything to everybody. She broke down the walls. She busted the myth of being a fairytale princess.

"I think that given the life she had, when you think what she had to overcome, and all of this in the public eye, I think she was a truly extraordinary woman.

"Very damaged, very flawed, as we all are, but underneath it all this incredible resilience.''

Performer Wayne Sleep remembered Diana, his friend and former dance partner, during a service of remembrance staged by east London's Mildmay Mission Aids hospital, which she visited regularly when it was a hospice caring for HIV patients.

He told the invited guests: "I never realised how close I was to her until she died, and I kept thinking I should have done more for her."

In 1985 he famously danced with Diana to Billy Joel's hit Uptown Girl, at the annual Christmas performance at the Royal Opera House, as a surprise for the Prince of Wales.

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