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 flowers, messages and pictures had been left in memory of Diana, killed on August 31 1997 in a Paris car crash.

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 flowers, messages and pictures had been left in memory of Diana, killed on August 31 1997 in a Paris car crash.

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 celebration and 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.

He joked that he made Diana bow to Charles in the royal box and as they left she quipped: “You won’t get your OBE that way.”

Diana, Princess of Wales (PA)Diana, Princess of Wales (PA)

Former prime minister Tony Blair called Diana the “people’s princess” on the day she died, and in a magazine interview with his former spin doctor Alastair Campbell, William echoed the words of his brother.

He said: “I think she would have carried on, really getting stuck into various causes and making change.

“If you look at some of the issues she focused on, leprosy, Aids, landmines, she went for some tough areas. She would have carried on with that.”

Tributes, candles and flowers are laid by royal fans outside Kensington Palace (Alastair Grant/AP)Tributes, candles and flowers are laid by royal fans outside Kensington Palace (Alastair Grant/AP)