diana
Meditation and Reflection

Diana: queen of people’s hearts and the nation’s near-death experience

It was 20 years ago today that the world awoke to the news that Diana, Princess of Wales, had been killed in a car crash beneath the Pont de l’Alma in Paris. There was universal shock and disbelief; a stunned silence reverberated from continent to continent. How could a thing of such love, compassion and beauty be snuffed out in such a banal way? What cold concrete pillar had the business of blotting out the warm radiance and kaleidoscopic vibrance of a princess we all felt we knew? One minute she was with us; the next she was gone, and the world became darker for her passing.

And now we have Diana memorial playgrounds and Diana memorial fountains and Diana memorial walks and Diana memorial gardens. They are things of convention: childhood glee, emotional flow, elation, gaiety and colour. None of them memorialises her subversive and daring essence; her scheming and manipulating; her rebelliousness, dangerousness and defiance.

In her famous BBC Panorama interview she was asked by Martin Bashir if she thought she would ever be Queen. “I’d like to be a queen of people’s hearts, in people’s hearts, but I don’t see myself being Queen of this country,” she responded. “I don’t think many people will want me to be Queen,” she added, perhaps with an air of self-knowledge that the straitjacket of monarchy could never really contain her spirit. Why would the people want to put a songbird in a cage?

The fact that so much has been written yesterday and will be spoken today to commemorate the day her heart stopped beating is testimony to the undeniable fact that somehow Diana, Princess of Wales, really does live on in the nation’s soul and national psyche: we weren’t forever marking the the decennial anniversaries of the death of Queen Elizabeth I or Queen Victoria or any other royal personage. But this Princess persists in her irruption: somehow her heart goes on.

Perhaps she really has become a queen of people’s hearts, in people’s hearts. She was, as Tony Blair captured the morning of her death, the people’s princess. And that is how she has remained. “Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty,” her brother the Earl Spencer said at her funeral. “All over the world she was a symbol of selfless humanity. All over the world, a standard bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a very British girl who transcended nationality. Someone with a natural nobility who was classless and who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic.”

It’s the stuff of myths, fairy-tales and castles in the air.

She has become the symbol of shared public grief; of corporate emoting; of cumulative and protracted obsession with feelings and intuition. Her bulimia was ours; her borderline personality disorder was the essence of all of us; her feelings of betrayal, anger and thirst for revenge belong to everyone. We knew her because somehow she was in us. We never met her, but we still feel her. We all seem to have lost someone close to us, though she could scarcely have been more distant. She became, in her dying, the whole nation’s near-death experience.

Don’t try to analyse any of this madness: it defies logic. Diana has become a spiritual essence, a religious object of profound devotion, and so empathy trumps all reason. You can’t dish out harsh facts or even give people a bit of pointed common sense when all they want is puppies, kittens and teddy bears. Forget what works: if it feels right, it must be right. And so our public life becomes a mood, and if you dare to you break the charm you will trample on people’s dreams and kill their hopes. And Diana, Queen of People’s Hearts, will hate you for it.

  • Father David

    Let the poor woman rest in peace, as she had little peace in this life!

    • alternative_perspective

      Sadly, for all her compassion she was as flawed an individual as the rest of us and let us be honest: we all go through family traumas; untimely deaths and broken tear sodden lives; albeit with less media scrutiny, diamonds and yachts.
      I hope and pray that in the resurrection she does find that rest, that healing and reconciliation with her heavenly father but let us remember she is no more deserving of this than any other and just as dependent on God’s mercy as the pauper in his unmarked grave.

      • Mike Stallard

        Really? Some of the paupers in their unmarked graves that I have buried have had a very great deal less to be ashamed of than Lady Di, I can tell you.

        • Cressida de Nova

          The Protestants bear the shame of allowing you to bury anyone.

        • alternative_perspective

          Well, why not say what you really think 😉
          I was trying to be a bit more tactful.

  • dannybhoy

    I wish to God the media would shut up about it, but of course they won’t because stuff like this keeps them in business, sells papers and makes programmes. Stir in bit of controversy, a hint of scandal and give the story ‘legs’ as they say.
    It’s William and Harry I really really feel for in all this. It’s their mother whose life is being raked over and analysed. All those private childhood memories sullied by very personal details of her relationships with their father and other men, all laid out in the public market place for people to rummage through and gawp over.
    It’s disgusting.

  • In an era of ‘no gods and precious view heroes’ it amazes who some of the ‘precious few’ are.

  • Anton

    The week of hysteria between her death and funeral was more a media event than anything else. When the media predicted the number of people who would turn up in London for her funeral, they overestimated tenfold. The simple fact is that those of us who did not share the view of the hysterics had the decorum to maintain a silence, so that the hysterics temporarily had the field.

    • James60498 .

      A trial run?

      Since then how many times have we (or most at least) remained silent while the Government has enacted all sorts of appalling law ?

  • General James Oglethorpe

    I was awoken that day to hear that someone had died and was very relieved to learn that it was not a family member. That said it was sad that she died in the manner she did. Sadder still that the nation was mesmerised by her in life and death. The seems to be a national emptiness that is soothed by false remedies such as this Dianafication.

  • David

    Diana the person had a bad deal in life so I just hope that she is receiving a better one now.

    • Mike Stallard

      BAD DEAL IN LIFE!!!???!!
      My goodness, you should hear my republican friends talk about the royals! Privilege, jealousy and envy are what they feel about this spoiled individual.

      • David

        Perhaps your friends are materialists and don’t understand the importance of a sound, strong emotional family background. Or perhaps they have a hatred towards the Christian institution of monarchy which blinds them to these things. Certainly I don’t regard someone who was “spoiled” as having a desirable or fortunate upbringing.

        • Mike Stallard

          Yup, Yup and again Yup. They are – you guessed it – unreconstructed Marxist Materialists who believe in Reason and who are heirs of the Age of Reason too. They believe in Global Warming, not giving their children toy guns and that the Green Party stands for Progress. Their feelings dictate their morality.
          My spies at Universities throughout Australia and England assure me that such people are by no means uncommon.

          • David

            I would find it difficult to have a deep friendship with anyone like that, directly and totally opposed to Christ. I’d be civil yes, defend the Truth and pray for them, but they could never be my bosom pals, for what has Athens in common with Jerusalem ?

          • Cressida de Nova

            That is because you have intrinsic Christian values and an innate sense of integrity.Sadly a lot who call themselves Christian do not fall into this category. I think the fact that Stallard thinks it is fine that children play with toy guns ( particularly since the gun violence on tv is alarmingly over represented) and he cannot see a problem with buggering young boys places him in the S&G category rather than the Athens category. It was a very smart move on your part pushing him into the Tiber…now to think of ways of returning your prodigal son.

          • Mike Stallard

            Well, Jesus seems to have mixed with some pretty strange people one way and another. I guess St Paul did too.

          • David

            Yes to lead them towards truth and salvation. Eating with sinners is of course, not to make them your bosom pals.

        • Manfarang

          There are Buddhist monarchies. The British got rid of the Burmese one.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    New Labour was adept at manipulating emotion and empathy and turning it into a style of government – Blair’s “People’s Princess” was a cynical and calculated move to hijack the death of Diana for New Labour’s own dark purposes. Peter Oborne sums it up beautifully in his “Triumph of the Political Class.” The hysteria surrounding events was whipped up by a media hand in glove with New Labour – it was nothing less than an attack on the monarchy and on the establishment, which at that time had not been transformed into something unrecognisable as it is now. It marked the advent of populism as government policy. Diana was, like most of us, a flawed human being – her death was sad, no question about it…but there is something distasteful about the aftermath.

  • magnolia

    Yes, she was quite subversive, but mostly only through feeling backed into a corner, I feel. All that means is that after a long time of being submissive within grueling circumstances the fact that she had some spirit compelled her to find a better way than being a doormat. That was, given her circumstances, a much more than usually difficult thing for her to discover, something we should be honest and not condemnatory about.

    • Anton

      She chose her circumstances. She knew what was going on and she could have turned Charles down every second up to her wedding day.

      • bluedog

        Probably not. Diana was undoubtedly under enormous pressure to go through with the marriage once the engagement was announced. Charles’ dreadful remark ‘Whatever love means’ clearly indicated his own level of enthusiasm for the whole thing. One is left wondering why he didn’t marry Camilla in the first instance.

        • Anton

          She felt enormous internal tension alright. Who doesn’t want to become royalty?

          • magnolia

            Me for one.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Me two!

          • betteroffoutofit

            Me two.

          • bluedog

            Lots of people who prefer not to lead a flashy life.

          • CliveM

            Chelsea Davey, or so we are being led to believe.

        • alternative_perspective

          She surely didn’t get to the church and accept his marriage proposal without a clear sense of his feelings towards her. It is not as though we go through these life events oblivious to the love our partners feel towards us, or not.
          I think she chose a life of celebrity and status over one of normality and love. Charles was clearly not in love but he had the pressure of the establishment and his father upon him – he had, in many ways, less freedom to choose than she did.

          • Watchman

            It’s just possible that the royal family has other criteria for marriage: the spouses have to be scandal free and be regarded as providing a suitable womb for the proliferation of male heirs. Happiness for any of the parties is a welcome bonus but certainly not guaranteed. It’s not called “the firm” without reason. Charles was possibly too young to be trusted with choosing his own wife and I suspect he received some advice.

          • alternative_perspective

            Agreed but Diana was not subject to these constraints, she in many ways had far more choice.

          • Watchman

            Yes, but once in the trap shut and she lost all choice and she was a prisoner of a system she did not understand with a husband who reportedly gave her no support.

        • Cressida de Nova

          A horrifying remark …virtually saying he was entering the marriage reluctantly and announcing it to the entire world. How humiliating for that poor girl. As he had no intention of
          being faithful, the marriage could have been annulled.

          It was patently obvious that he was not in love with her.OK, she was not the sharpest pencil in the box ( he’s not either) but she was young, gentle, virtuous and beautiful.A lot would have exchanged places with him which is something that could not be said of his new wife.

          Good to know you don’t have anti freeze running through your veins pup. Some of the damning remarks against her on here
          and I hesitate to call them ‘men’ are absolutely chilling.

          • bluedog

            ‘but she was young, gentle, virtuous and beautiful.’ Exactly right. Far too young and innocent for Charles, still very much at the trusting stage in life.

          • Anton

            Had she dumped him after that comment, he would have looked terrible in the public eye; not her. Why didn’t she?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Anton,sometimes you are surprisingly naive. It would have created a scandal for the Royal Family . Both families would have pressured them to go through with it. She was only nineteen.

          • Anton

            I can only repeat: We have no way of deciding which was more decisive in her going ahead despite knowing what was going on: fear of the consequences of cancellation, or desire to be royal. I wish nobody to judge either way, but to be aware of both possibilities.

      • Watchman

        She was naive and nobody, it seems, explained to her the terms and conditions of the job: that it was for life; that she couldn’t simply resign and it was more than likely her husband would be unfaithful given his history and the history of previous royal males. Royal wives have, in the past, stoically suffered their spouses indiscretions but we do not live in the age of stoicism and Diana became a victim of the age. She led the way for the snowflake generation.

        • I guess she wanted a relationship in which her love was reciprocated.

          • Watchman

            I’m sure you’re right, Marie, and I’m sure she and her family entered this relationship with stars in their eyes. Wow, a queen in the family, what a stroke of luck! Unfortunately, they picked one of the most disfunctional families in Britain with an agenda unlike any other. Joining it was akin to becoming a member of staff with the status of a slave.

          • Anton

            In which case she should have broken off the engagement. Information subsequently made public makes clear that she knew where Charles stood. It is not for us to speculate whether she went on with it out of fear of the consequences of cancellation, or desire to be royal; but it is not proper to rule out either motivation.

            The point is that she had the option right up to St Pauls. Let us hear no nonsense like “she didn’t really”. That is the same “society made me do it” nonsense that we hear from the politically correct.

          • bluedog

            You may be misreading the mindset. The Spencer family were/are not exactly social climbers; like most Plantagenet descendants they would regard themselves as the social equals of the Monarch. Fear of the consequences of cancellation? Possibly, but not an insuperable problem, indeed it would have been more damaging for Diana’s suitor. A desire to be royal? Almost certainly not, although that criticism can be levelled at the Middleton entourage. Remember too that Diana was the youngest of three sisters and had plenty of well-informed advice on hand. No, it seems more an exercise of noblesse oblige.

          • CliveM

            The Spencer’s would see the Windsors as Johnny come lately’s

          • CliveM

            She was young and under a lot of scrutiny and pressure. I think she deserves a break.

          • Anton

            As I said, it is not for us to speculate whether she went on with it out of fear of the consequences of cancellation, or desire to be royal, but equally it is not proper to rule out either motivation.

          • CliveM

            I see no reason why not.

          • Anton

            You knew what she was thinking?

          • CliveM

            No but in the absence of clear evidence to the contrary, I’ll believe the best.

          • Anton

            You have no way of deciding which was more decisive between fear of the consequences of cancellation, or desire to be royal.

          • CliveM

            As you can see from my comment I’m not saying I am, I’m simply stating why I come to believe what I have.

          • I don’t think she did know that he had another woman before the marriage. From her behaviour I think she first found out on the honeymoon boat trip.
            I don’t think “The Firm” would have told her prior because they didn’t want her to break it off. Charles was cracking on a bit and the pressure was on for a suitable match of which there were precious few, and an heir. Finding Diana was like striking gold.
            Now if they had sat her down, explained everything and drawn up a mutually beneficial business contract to stay together until the youngest was 18 that might have been more realistic less messy and enduring. She would have known exactly what she would have been getting into.

      • She was young and naïve when she married Charles, probably didn’t think the dark side of Monarchy, that they don’t necessarily marry for love rather than for an heir, could apply to her and Charles. She was swept off her feet, was in love, it was only later that the cold hard truth dawned on her, she was gutted.

    • Mike Stallard

      In other words, she was totally unfitted to be a member of the royal family.

  • Sarky

    In medieval times Diana was know as ‘ Goddess of the heathen’. Seems like nothing has changed.

    • magnolia

      The heathen are everywhere. Watching children’s BBC atm. It is all crystals, levitation, stars, and New Age music. Kids are being trained to be pagans through soft sell, and almost no Christians even see this in front of their noses.

  • Mike Stallard

    At the time I was working in a girls’ school. While we were alone in the staff room, the other male member of staff said that every woman was in mourning, but the men were largely critical. I totally agree. She was – and is today – the sort of person that we are meant to revere.
    I wish I could too.

    • Rhoda

      Not every woman.

      • Mike Stallard

        Rhoda, you are a lady of discernment.

  • John

    I loved the little cartoon in Private Eye of Diana (on a cloud, with wings) looking wistfully at a newspaper headline “Right to be forgotten law.”

    • Anton

      Do you remember how a Christian (schoolmaster?) who dared to suggest that she might be somewhere other than heaven, in view of her lack of religious beliefs, was pilloried?

      • Watchman

        Yes, Anton, and the brouhaha was considerably worse than if he had told the children that there was so Santa Claus. Truth has no place in the age of emotion.

  • Linus

    Diana is the reason you’re going to end up with Miss Middleclass as your queen. The royals didn’t want to deal with another spoiled, erratic aristocrat as William’s wife, so they were thrilled when the unremarkable, predictable and totally insipid Kate threw herself at the prince, stuck like a limpet and wouldn’t let go. Having been raised by a neurotic mother, William could see the advantages of having a Stepford wife, so he went for perfect hair and no personality and seems quite happy with his choice.

    His problem is that as he thickens with age, keeps losing hair and transforms into another bovine Windsor male, and Kate diets and simpers and wears clothes her mother might dismiss as too matronly at his side, monarchy will lose the only thing that can keep it going in this day and age. Magic.

    The current queen is hanging on for dear life and seems to have one goal only: to outlive her eldest son, for obvious reasons. So by the time they mount the throne, William will have become a blond version of his uncle Andrew and Kate will be all wrinkly and dowdy and drawn. No magic there.

    And so the buck is passed to George and Charlotte. Neither show much promise in the looks department, so in our image conscious age, how will they hold the public’s attention? Will George have to look for a bride (assuming he’s straight, which after that photo in the helicopter, nobody should take for granted) in another dysfunctional aristocratic family? Bulimia and mild personality disorders are old hat now, so in order to outbid Diana, will she have to come complete with drug habit or have borne a child out of wedlock? Oh of course, the Norwegians have already done that, haven’t they, so a drug habit it will have to be. Or perhaps she will have been born male and we’ll get our first transgender queen. Now there’s a soap opera that’ll keep people riveted. There’s the only thing that monarchy can provide. You’ll get your magic. Hope you like it.

    • Anton

      More prophecy from the man who decries it.

      • Linus

        OYSP! (Oh your Sky Pixie!) Your stubbornness knows no bounds. Do you live with some form of autism as well as religious delusion? Not a fortunate man, are you?

        I can repeat myself as many times as necessary however. No, I do not make prophecies. I merely look at the evidence and describe how I think events will develop in the future. Prophecy carries an assertion of certainty. The scenarios I describe do not.

        George may marry a carbon copy of his achingly dull mother. He may marry a man. He may not marry at all. If he wants to keep the public’s interest focused on the monarchy however, he’s going to have to generate some kind of fairy tale for them. Because that’s all the monarchy represents for the British now: escapism on tap in the form of fodder for trashy magazines.

        Trashy magazine have to feed on something. Only time will tell what that will be, but if it’s more of William and Kate’s snooze-fest, they’ll starve to death eventually and then the final reason for keeping the whole charade going will have disappeared.

        • Chefofsinners

          Are you absolutely sure that you never make assertions of certainty?

          • Linus

            Not about the future.

            The present and the past are quite a different matter. I can confidently assert with no doubt at all that you are a homophobic bigot, for example. I’ve seen enough evidence in the form of your own words to be very certain of that.

            But of the future none of us can be certain, although some things are more probable than others. I can and do voice opinions about what is likely to happen tomorrow, the probability being judged on the evidence presented, but I can’t tell you with absolute certainty. As you can’t tell me. And if you pretend you can, well that’s just more evidence of delusion and mental imbalance, isn’t it? Prophecies are for superstitious basket cases. No wonder Pixtians love them so much.

          • Chefofsinners

            Homophobic? No, you don’t frighten me.

        • Anton

          Ah, the sexular humanist speaks.

        • Manfarang

          We are not amused.

          • Linus

            You never are, except when bearing false witness against your opponents. That’s about the only thing that can hoist a smile onto your sour, disapproving po-faces. But then it’s hardly surprising. If I had Sky Pixie on a cross rammed up my behind, I probably wouldn’t find much to smile about either.

          • Manfarang

            It was a quote attributed to a queen.

        • bluedog

          ‘OYSP! (Oh your Sky Pixie!) ‘ Hopelessly and unnecessarily contrived. Any joke that you have to explain, as you have, immediately falls flat and marks you down as self-obsessed. You could just as easily have written OMG! As everyone knows, this stands for O My Giddy-Aunt

          • Linus

            I have only one aunt still living and she does not suffer from vertigo, so OMG would be neither respectful nor accurate.

            I’ll stick with OYSP, I think. It may need explaining, but then I find most things do when talking to Pixtians.

    • Darter Noster

      “assuming he’s straight, which after that photo in the helicopter, nobody should take for granted”

      That whole story was ridiculous. I don’t give a toss whether he turns out gay or straight, but the idea that you can tell that a four year old boy will be sexually attracted to men because he looks slightly girly in a photo is ludicrous, stereotyping, and just wrong on so many levels. Given that the cause of his seemingly “girly” delight was the fact that he’d just been placed in the cockpit of a totally badass helicopter gunship, even by its own superficial and demeaning logic of gender stereotypes the theory didn’t make any sense.

      • Linus

        We’ll see.

        If he does turn out to be gay and wants to get married at some point, I look forward to the collective heart attack of conservative Pixtians with great anticipation.

      • I thought that pic had been photo-shopped by the PN homosexuals to make him look more “girly”.

    • Chefofsinners

      You French do it so much better: A First Lady who couldn’t keep her knickers on the first time a pretty boy showed up in her class.

      • Linus

        Not as “classy” as bearing false witness by accusing our First Lady of sexual activity with a minor.

        Do you have evidence to support your accusation? Or don’t bitchy little teenage girls like you need any justification to scratch out the eyes of a public figure they hate and despise?

        It’s unpleasant to see, but I suppose I should thank you for revealing the true character of Pixtians to the world. This is what the Pixtian faith does to them, folks. These are the “fruits of the Spirit”.

        • Anton

          With a miner?

        • Chefofsinners

          Ah well, you have a different definition of a minor in France. Fifteen isn’t it? All that liberte and wot not I suppose. Under English law a teacher forming any romantic relationship – sexual or not – with a pupil under the age of 18 will be barred from the profession. We call this ‘civilisation’ and ‘child protection’.

          • Linus

            You specifically made accusations of sexual impropriety against the First Lady. Backpedal all you like: the accusations stand until they’re proven or withdrawn with an apology.

            Not that I expect you to apologise. You’re a Pixtian who believes he has a Sky Pixie-given right to defame, slander and insult with impunity using his religion as a shield. Never mind that the holy book of your cult specifically denounces your behaviour and condemns you to some imaginary punishment for it. You know it’s all bunkum and can therefore do what you like. That’s the power of Pixtianity: it’s a platform for throwing rotten tomatoes at others while shielding yourself from return fire.

            Your problem is that your shield has big, gaping holes in it. As I said earlier, this blog does a wonderful job of exposing the hatred, anger and rank hypocrisy of Pixtians to the world. In past ages the strong edifice of Pixtianity stopped incoming fire and protected those sheltering inside it. Now it might as well not even be there for all the effect it has. The walls have been breached and all the reasons why your unpleasant little sect should be avoided like the plague exposed to the light.

            If your imaginary Sky Pixie really does exist and one day judges you for your efficacy in carrying out his Great Commission, how many pixie points do you think you’ll get for driving people away from Pixtianity by showing them so plainly how it makes Pharisees of its believers?

          • Chefofsinners

            What accusations?

          • Linus

            “A First Lady who couldn’t keep her knickers on when a pretty boy showed up in her lessons.”

            Just because you don’t state a name doesn’t mean your meaning isn’t clear. The above is a direct accusation that Mme Macron acted illegally by having sexual relations with an underage pupil.

          • Linus

            We call your attitude lubrique and coincé.

            Teacher/pupil sexual relationships are of course just as illegal in France as they are in the UK. But nobody can legislate against two people falling in love. Or rather they can, but it won’t do much good.

            If a pupil and teacher fall in love and wish to pursue a relationship, they may not legally engage in sexual relations with each other, or even date openly until the pupil has attained the age of majority and is no longer attending high school.

            Adults have the right to pursue romantic and sexual relationships with whomever they want to, with a few exceptions such as close relatives and persons who exercise authority over them in the military, etc. None of these legal restrictions apply in the case of the Macrons. And the fact that their relationship is a genuine one, not founded on unhealthy domination or some weird form of Oedipus complex is amply attested to by both its longevity and the unanimous witness of those who know the couple.

            You may see sin and exploitation in the Macron marriage, but then as a Pixtian you see sin and exploitation in any relationship that doesn’t conform to the strict and narrow definition of what your Pixiebook-influenced morality defines as marriage. The rest of us see a man and a woman who are clearly very deeply attached to each other and whose attachment has survived in the face of parental and societal disapproval. A real marriage. Not some kind of ritualised prison to lock couples up in so that your Sky Pixie can be appeased.

            One successful, durable marriage like that of the Macrons is worth ten of the miserable, contrived, unloving and hypocritical marriages of people such as your prince of Wales and his late wife. That’s what should really shock you: that in the late 20th century an immature young woman could be deluded enough to marry a selfish, spoiled and callous man whose only interest in her was as a brood mare to carry on his line. It’s far more of a scandal than the generation gap between the Macrons, confirmed by the fact that the people press talked about the Macrons for about 5 minutes, whereas they’ve been talking about Charles and Diana for decades and probably will for many decades more.

          • Chefofsinners

            “Societal and parental disapproval.” Says it all.

          • Linus

            Your own Sky Pixie Jr. is reported as saying that in order to do what is right, sometimes you have to disregard parental and societal condemnation.

            The Macrons did just that and their marriage is still going strong after many years together. That’s the true gauge of what was right for them, not the wishes of their parents or what society finds acceptable or not.

    • Inspector General

      You know more about Royal families than the Inspector’s aged dowager. She’s a cis woman and in her latter 80s and it’s the stuff of life to her, and you are a fairy queen. So that explains that then…

  • Coniston

    I wrote a letter in response to a newspaper article about Diana some years after her death. I wrote:

    When I heard of her death I was deeply shocked, as I imagine most people were. But then, it seems to me, the country was split, very deeply, into two halves. One half was overcome with grief – the Princess had apparently meant everything to them, and their lives were empty and barren without her. The entire media – press, radio and TV – also took this line. ‘We are a nation in grief” thundered the headlines, and TV programs were scrapped.

    The other half, though shocked by the tragic death of the Princess, was certainly not in grief. Why should we be? She was not part of our immediate family and she meant little or nothing in our lives. So why this paroxysm of grief, trumpeted by the whole media, which we were apparently meant to share? For an entire week, if not longer, we felt we were on an alien planet, with overwhelming pressure to conform to the media’s wishes; dissent was not permitted – we would have been lynched. From then on I had a better understanding of what it is like to live in a totalitarian state.

    The Queen, I imagine, was also deeply shocked at the death of the Princess, and being at Balmoral thought it right to stay there to comfort her grandsons, and protect them from the media. But should she show a paroxysm of grief which she certainly didn’t feel? the Queen’s advisers should have been more quickly aware of what many of the public felt and given her appropriate advice. It is part of a monarch’s duty to represent the nation and acknowledge what many people clearly felt so deeply. But doubtless she is of a generation that looks on in bewilderment at those whose own lives are so impoverished that they must live vicariously through the lives of ‘celebrities’.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Excellent.

    • Chefofsinners

      My wife knew Diana, and on the morning she died I was at a house where she had leaned against a fence watching the princes ride. It was easy to picture her there. Next to the fence was a car identical to the one she had died in. And rain hammered down harder than I could ever remember. It was an eerie experience. I don’t think we’re wrong to be affected by such things.
      I well remember the first time I met Prince Charles. Having seen him so often in the media, it was striking how much it felt like I had always known him. He seemed as familiar as my own father. I think we underestimate the extent to which the media creates familiarity but also how intrusive this is for those who are its victims.

      • Anton

        I know a bloke who was walking along a country lane in Gloucestershire some years ago, and who saw a man picking up litter from the verges. My friend recognised him as Prince Charles and expressed surprise. Charles replied simply “Someone’s got to do it.”

        • Chefofsinners

          So that’s where he found Camilla.

      • Dominic Stockford

        She knew her, most merely knew of her. Those who knew her are right to grieve as they did. Those who knew of her were simply getting caught up in things.

        Its a bit like Jesus, many people know OF him, and think that makes them Christians. They need to realise that they don’t actually know him.

    • CliveM

      I was saddened then angered. I remember it being claimed as the biggest tragedy of all time.

      Clearly events like Dunblane, to any balanced thinking person, would be seen as a greater tragedy.

  • Chefofsinners

    Proof if it were needed that people who don’t worship God will worship someone or something else. – Mostly themselves, but a beautiful princess who loves the people, feels what they feel, moves among the multitudes touching the poor and healing the sick, suffers like them and then dies tragically young… It’s all vaguely reminiscent of… ah yes, that Jesus bloke.

  • Dominic Stockford

    You’re right, Your Grace. It is madness, utter insanity.

  • CliveM

    Argghhhhhhh……………….. No not more on Diana! Will this madness never end?!!

    I thought this was the Daily Express for a second. However too many big words were used.

  • Inspector General

    Lady Diana. 20 years have gone by, but one cannot forget her manipulative and semi deranged conduct that could have brought the monarchy down. That her own eldest child was due to inherit the Crown eventually would not have been of sufficient import to restrain her. She was a woman scorned, and revenge was to be hers. Most frightening of all – she had the mob on her side. Read that end bit again and consider it. She had the mob on her side.

    • CliveM

      Yes her disregard of her children’s emotional welfare must be seen for what it was. Selfish.

      • Inspector General

        Yes, children. She liked those…

        Her passing ended the prospect of a union with the playboy son of a prominent muslim, the possibility of her conversion to Islam (as well as her nominally Christian sons at a later stage) and the blessing of half Arab children with the aforementioned, today handing out copies of the Koran at Buckingham palace entrance to all who venture within.

        • CliveM

          Maybe but by all accounts she was growing bored of him.

          • Inspector General

            Worst of all could have been this…

            “Lady Diana speaks to the nation before the EU referendum. Please Please, she sobbed. Please vote to stay in the EU!”

      • magnolia

        To be fair her sons do make it very clear how they feel about her- great love, pride and admiration- and give occasional praise to their father. They don’t feel this “disregard”, and they are adults with adult perceptions

        • CliveM

          She was badly treated by Charles at least. Let’s hope with him that age and experience has brought wisdom.

          Yes the boys seem well balanced.

    • carl jacobs

      Charles’ behavior doesn’t seem to figure prominently in your analysis. He gets a pass, I take it.

      • CliveM

        Charles deserves all the bad that he gets. BUT, it shouldn’t be done at your children’s expense.

        To many divorcing parents forget this

        • carl jacobs

          Sure. But the Inspector as much as said “Charles may have been a lying two-faced adulterous sack of s___, but he’s the future king, and kings get to behave like that. Diana was supposed to suck it up for the greater good.” Diana was supposed to think of the Crown and the children. Whose behavior caused this problem?

          • Inspector General

            What would you have us do with him, Carl. Beaten by monks with rods at the Abbey, perhaps…

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t know. You are the ones with Royalty. But I wouldn’t fault Diana for refusing to be “royal breeding stock and dutiful public wife” while Charles was busy betraying her.

          • bluedog

            Of course, betrayal is a tango that takes two. As a married woman and a mother, the dreadful Camilla would have been fully aware of the damage she was causing, both to the much younger Diana herself, and potentially to the monarchy. Recently the British press has been running hagiographies on Camilla, saying what a splendid old stick she really is, and what a great sense of humour she has. Nauseating.

          • CliveM

            I’m not defending Charles. Yes Diana was supposed to think of the children, its what parents do. Or. At least should. Damaging your children for revenge is not the right thing to do.

            Even if the husband deserves it.

          • carl jacobs

            No, you aren’t defending Charles. But you are relieving him of any responsibility to do anything about it. Who bears the burden? Diana. Who thinks of the children? Diana. What does Charles do? Oh, he keeps screwing Camilla not even behind Diana’s back.

            Now you will say “But he should stop that!” Except he wasn’t going to stop. And no one it seems could compel him to stop. Did they in fact even try? So we are right back to “Suck it up, Diana.”

            Forget that. He tore up the covenant. She doesn’t sin by acting on that reality.

          • CliveM

            Hmmm so sod the impact on the kids? Hey what do they matter, Charles has been a bastard and they are simply ‘collateral’ damage. Sad but Charles deserves it.

            Of course if they attempt to commit suicide (and I know one case where they did), what happens then? Words can’t be recovered, the damage can last a lifetime.

          • CliveM

            BTW I’m not suggesting she shouldn’t have divorced him citing his infidelity either. But keep your fight behind closed doors away from the kids.

    • dannybhoy

      I don’t know if you’re married IG, or have been married? Being scorned or rejected or betrayed is one of the most devastating of experiences, and affects people in different ways.
      There’s an awful lot of ‘fractured’ people around, and Heaven knows I wouldn’t particularly want all of my idiosyncrasies made public, -or the state of my mental health.

      • Inspector General

        You don’t have to be married to be scorned or rejected or betrayed, old chap. Some are and many aren’t…

        But if you are so treated, the general principle is the same – start the healing process ASAP

        • dannybhoy

          And that takes time, and most of us can endure the process in private….

          • Inspector General

            Tell you what, Danny, it’s a damn sight easier as a very privileged woman with two sons to distract your mind than it is as a single man…

          • carl jacobs

            The Higher Understanding seems to admire the way Islam treats women even if it doesn’t admire Islam all that much.

          • Inspector General

            {Ahem} And there, ladies and gentlemen, we leave our North American correspondent Carl. Now, back to the studio.

          • carl jacobs

            I just calls ’em like I sees ’em.

          • dannybhoy

            The pain’s the same regardless of status, and I think as hard if not harder, for a wife and mother.

  • Inspector General

    A special prayer is taken from the script of Monty Python…

    “Oh Lord, please don’t burn us, don’t kill or toast your flock. Don’t put us on the barbecue or simmer us in stock. Don’t bake or baste or boil us or stir-fry us in a wok”…and no more Lady Diana’s either.

    Amen.

  • Hi ,

    It was mass hysteria. But at least Elton did a good rendition of candle in the wind:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=3eiPjHmrpRw

    • Inspector General

      One prefers “Sandal in the bin”, Hannah. Mother Theresa died the same day, though she would have gone earlier if she knew who else was due that time.

    • Anton

      You’re kidding. He murdered his own best song, while causing offence in Wales by calling its princess England’s rose. If you want a moving moment from that service, it is Tavener’s piece.

      • CliveM

        Is it possible for an Elton John song to be murdered!

        I wish.

        • Chefofsinners

          Real name Reginald Kenneth Dwight. Which, for the benefit of Linus, is an anagram of: wink then get hard dingle.

    • Father David

      The dear Queen Mother’s funeral was a much more seemly, dignified and traditional service, sans the input of Mr. John

      • Andy

        And I loved it when Garter, King of Arms read out her titles.

    • Martin

      Be careful what you say about him, he sometimes is inclined to go to law.

  • Martin

    Not you too!

    • James60498 .

      You are surprised?

  • Manfarang

    Queen Victoria tends to be memorialized more by the colonials.

    • Father David

      Once the film “Victoria and Abdul” is released the old queen’s street cred will rise significantly. Both Judy and Helen have done much to boost the popularity of the monarchy.

      • Manfarang

        I am sure my friend who is a member of the Victoria League will be very interested.
        Osbourne House is always well worth a visit.

      • andrew

        Vile, middle class drones.

  • Edward Spalton

    I suspect that the perpetuation of this cult is mostly connected with journalistic idleness. They can dust off the files and film clips, press the button and extrude their rubbish of earlier years at little effort, knowing that they will elicit what political manipulators call a “dog whistle response” from the less intelligent.