This Australian holiday is in honor of the late Princess Diana, who died in a tragic auto accident on this date in 1997. She was a good person who worked for international charities, and there was extensive mourning all over the world when she died. I remember being in Paris in 1999, at a memorial for Diana near the tunnel where she died, and even though it was almost two years later, there were tons of flowers and stuffed animals and other offerings at the site.
So...Diana was English, Princess of Wales (basically, Great Britain or United Kingdom), and she died in France. Why is her death commemorated with white roses in Australia?
Australia is part of the Commonwealth of Nations. That means that, although Australia is a wholly separate and independent nation from the U.K., the British royalty serves as its royalty, too. In other words, Queen Elizabeth II is not just the Queen of England, she is the Queen of Australia, too. Therefore, Princess Di (as she was often called) was a princess of Australia.
(Other Commonwealth realms include Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea. There are 16 Commonwealth realms in all.)
Princess Diana was widely thought of as classy and fashionable, caring and kind. She once said, “Being a princess isn't all it's cracked up to be.” Indeed, her days as a princess were not happy, and her fame likely brought her more problems than joys. On the other hand, of course she adored her two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry!
Also on this date: