Monday, September 03, 2007

Anniversary of a fairy tale

I thought the media attention given to the 10th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana was mercifully understated, at least here in Canada. I was expecting a half-hearted renewal of the embarrassing scenes and eulogies which greeted her death. There may have been more of an outpouring on the television (I rarely watch it, so I really wouldn't know) and the more populist newspapers (likewise), but what I saw seemed reasonably sober and measured.
I am no monarchist, and I am certainly no celebrity-watcher, but I have always been bemused by the mass hysteria that Diana seemed to generate. I vaguely remember being drunk in the Virgin and Castle pub in Kenilworth while the "fairy-tale marriage" was going on, and thinking that anyone willing to marry into the publicity glare of the British royal family was either a grasping gold-digger, a manic self-publicist or quite as "thick as a plank" as Diana claimed herself to be, and good luck to them.
When she came to her sticky end after several years of soap opera antics, we were living in Colombia, but even there the television carried the funeral live, accompanied by endless regurgitations of scenes from her life (Diana visiting hospitals, Diana being a mother, etc, etc) and soft-focus pictures of her pallid and rather cloying mugshot.
I have always regarded her as being pretty but not particularly striking, zealous enough at her job (which after all should be regarded as including visits to hospitals and the patronage of charities) but not a saint, and just as flawed as both a human being and a mother as most other human beings and mothers. I was never quite sure where all the adulation came from.
I'm not sure of the details of the death, but it seems to me that you could just as easily argue that she left a couple of kids motherless while out partying, as that the life and career of a great woman was cruelly cut short. There's the real fairy tale in my opinion.

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