So there I was, in our small flat, having breakfast and trying to tune into the BBC world service. Eventually, between sips of tea, I was successful. Instead of the usual news programme, however, there was solemn music.
'Hello!' I thought, 'The Queen Mum's copped it!'
A couple of minutes later, the announcer came on air.
'Our normal schedule is suspended today,' he intoned, 'following the news of the tragic death of Her Highness, Princess Diana'.
My first reaction was one of complete surprise, accompanied by a couple of swear words, partly because I burnt my mouth while my jaw swung open. I turned on the TV and put on the godawful Euronews channel, which was showing continuing coverage of the events: The tunnel, the crashed car, Prince Charles arriving at a hospital, papparazzi.
I went into work, sorted out some papers in my office, then when the break bell rang I went to the canteen and mentioned that Diana was dead to some of the teachers.
'But she can't be!' said one.
'I saw it on the news, I'm afraid,' I said.
'No, but she can't. I'm using her for Practising the Present Perfect.'
In her hand there was a worksheet with a gapfill exercise, with sentences such as 'Diana has been a princess since 1981. She has been divorced for five years.'
'I think you'd better change that to practising the Past Simple.'
That's what I remember most of that day, anyway.
About a fortnight later, my wife and I went to the UK for a short holiday, and we went up to London and saw the vast stretch of (by now rotting) floral bouquets outside Buckingham Palace.