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Princess Diana

June 7, 2011

she modernised the monarchy – Her upbringing, in short, was based on an assumption unchanged since the Queen Mother was a girl: marriage and babies were an aristocratic girl’s career. So she married Prince Charles and stayed in the Victorian era: wearing jewellery to show her husband’s status, her choice of clothes and furniture her chief channel of self-expression. And then her self-image, remarkably, began to change. What altered it was the unexpected discovery that she was extremely good at doing the royal job, the business of meeting, and chatting and listening; better, in some ways, than some born to the business; better, in some ways, than her husband. She had an excellent public manner. Prince Charles’s shyness can be painfully obvious; hers is hidden. Her own unhappiness made her empathise with the unhappiness of others she met on hospital sick-beds and in the counselling groups of her charities. Unlike the rest of the Royal Family, she had no inhibitions about touching and hugging. She even learnt, to her own surprise, to deliver speeches, take responsibility for their content and put them over with sound bites that sometimes snatched the headlines from her husband. Her charity work began to move into more controversial areas, particularly those of Aids and family breakdown. Lacking private satisfaction, she took her pleasures from what had become a career. And, like many women of her time, she discovered that this career had given her the confidence to act more decisively in her private life. And so when, whether it was true or not (pressing the last-number redial button on her husband’s portable phone seems an unsatisfactory, if technologically up-to-date, way of proving infidelity), she believed that her husband had rejected her love, she did not make the traditional response. Instead, she modernised the monarchy (You’ve come a long way, princess).

shy – She became Lady Diana Spencer after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975. Although she was known for her shyness growing up, she did show an interest in music and dancing. Diana also had a great fondness for children. After attending finishing school at the Institut Alpin Videmanette in Switzerland, she moved to London. She began working with children, eventually becoming a kindergarten teacher at the Young England School. Diana was no stranger to the British royal family, having reportedly played with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward as a child while her family rented Park House, an estate owned by Queen Elizabeth II. In 1977, she became reacquainted with their older brother, Prince Charles, who was 13 years her senior. As the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles was usually the subject of media attention and his courtship of Diana was no exception. The press and the public were fascinated by this seemingly odd couple — the reserved, garden-loving prince and the shy young woman with an interest in fashion and popular culture. When the couple married on July 29, 1981, the ceremony was broadcast on television around the world, with millions of people tuning in to see what many considered to be the wedding of the century (Princess Diana Biography (Video)).

conspiracy – The Paris public prosecutor recommended on Aug 17 that no action be taken against the photographers. The magistrates concluded that the inquiry “did not establish definitely any fault that could be certainly linked with the accident”. There will also be no action against the photographers over charges of failing to assist persons in danger, an offence under French law. The magistrates, nevertheless, condemned the behaviour of the paparazzi, noting that they had been widely criticised by witnesses and the public for hounding the Princess and taking pictures of her at the crash site. The magistrates said: “Their behaviour is an issue for them, and the people they work for, about the moral and ethical rules of their work. But it does not constitute a breach of the penal law.” The deaths led to many theories into what had caused the accident, many of which came from Mohamed Fayed, Mr Fayed’s father and the owner of Harrods and the Ritz Hotel in Paris, from where the couple were followed by the paparazzi. Egyptian-born Mr Fayed insisted repeatedly that the deaths of the Princess and his son were the result of a conspiracy by the British establishment to save the monarchy the embarrassment of a potential marriage between the mother of a future king and a Muslim (Diana crash caused by chauffeur, says report).

Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Frances née Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997) was a member of the British royal family and an international personality of the late 20th century as the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981. The wedding, which was held at St. Paul’s Cathedral, was televised and watched by a global audience of over 750 million people. The marriage produced two sons: Princes William and Harry, currently second and third in line to the thrones of the 16 Commonwealth realms, respectively. A public figure from the announcement of her engagement to Prince Charles, Diana was born into an old, aristocratic English family with royal ancestry, and remained the focus of worldwide media scrutiny before, during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996. This media attention continued following her death in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997, and in the subsequent display of public mourning a week later. Diana also received recognition for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. From 1989, she was the president of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (Wikepedia).

RELATED READING:
Official Web-site: Princess Diana
The Life of Diana, Princess of Wales 1961-1997
Childhood and teenage years
The Panorama Interview
Diana crash was a conspiracy – Al Fayed
Why Princess Diana Mattered
Books About Princess Diana
Princess Diana’s Charity Work – Time Line 1960-2011
After Kate, Prince William kissed his Filipino nanny
Untold Story: A bold theory about Princess Diana that pulls its punch
Princess Diana led “a tortured life”: Katie Couric (Video)

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