Since Princess Diana's death last weekend, the Internet has been inundated with remembrances, eulogies, and news updates. The outpouring continues tonight with the BBC's Webcast of the slain royal's funeral.
The BBC has been so overwhelmed with interest and requests that they were forced to prematurely and temporarily launch their online news site. The site was originally scheduled to launch sometime this fall.
The London funeral, which is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. GMT, starts at Kensington Palace, Diana's official residence, and ends at Westminster Abbey. BBC will broadcast online, via streaming audio and video feeds, the three-mile procession, the funeral itself, and parts of the procession to the burial at her home in Althorp, located in central England.
According to Bob Eggington, director of the BBC news online service, the Internet broadcast will be available on the BBC home page and several international mirror sites, including America Online, ABC News, and Progressive Networks.
"This is a true phenomenon. It is the biggest event in the national consciousness of Britain, in my lifetime," Eggington said.
Each of the mirror sites will receive the BBC's television and radio coverage via either the Internet or satellite. Although there have been previous reports that the BBC will donate proceeds from the sales of videos of the funeral to Diana's preferred charities, Eggington noted that no attempt to raise money from the rebroadcasting of the funeral has been made.
"We're not in the business of revenue raising," he said. " We're trying to enable as many people as possible to see the funeral."