The dramatic events of the first week of September 1997 mark a sea-change in British society. The sudden death of the Princess of Wales was the signal of an outburst of popular feeling which was without precedent in recent British history. Of course, Britain has seen more than a few royal births, deaths and marriages, duly attended by large crowds of cheering or silently respectful people. But such a spontaneous eruption as this, such an overflowing of emotion, such a movement of the masses, unorganised, uncalled-for, uncontrollable - such a thing has never been seen. It is an entirely new phenomenon, reflecting an entirely new situation in Britain.