A musical tribute to Princess Diana opened under a cloud Saturday, but a downpour failed to dampen the spirits of many concertgoers at the Althorp estate where she is buried.
Irish singer-songwriter Chris De Burgh, opera singer Lesley Garrett, cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and pop singer Sir Cliff Richard were among those paying tribute to the music-loving princess at the charity concert.A 15-minute downpour about an hour before the concert was to begin soaked the 15,000 fans crowded in the open-air arena and saturated the field. But many refused to let the weather get them down.
"In a funny way I think the rain and the bad weather will contribute to the atmosphere of the occasion," said Janet Depledge, a teacher from Huddersfield, Yorkshire, in northern England. "We're determined not to let it put us off, and I'm sure it will be a night we will remember forever."
After the choir of New College, Oxford, opened the concert, the clouds cleared and the sun began to shine. Spirits rose steadily, and before it was over, people were dancing to the music.
Diana's brother, Earl Spencer, watched from a tented area with their mother, Frances Shand-Kydd. He joined the crowd to listen to Lloyd Webber perform Faure's "Elegy," then - carrying his 3-year-old son, Louis, on his shoulders - went backstage to chat with some of the performers.
Diana, who was killed Aug. 31 in a car crash in Paris, is buried on an island about a mile away from the arena.
Many people have criticized the price of tickets, and some were upset that the concert was being held so close to her grave. Several stars, including Phil Collins, declined to appear.
At least $21 of each $65 ticket will go to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, an Althorp spokeswoman said anonymously.
The estate, about 75 miles northwest of London, opens for two months on Wednesday, which would have been Diana's 37th birthday.