When I got up this morning they were playing on TV the Princess Diana memorial service.
While Princess Diana undoubtely was a very beautiful woman and charismatic figure I never quite understood the obsession with her when she was alive, was rather embarrased over the extreme mourning in the days following her death, and am rather appalled over the conspiracy theories over the cause of her death.
Apparently this morning the only person to give a speech about Princess Diana was her son Harry. Why not her friends or the rest of her family remains open to speculation but doesn’t matter to me. As far as I’m concerned it’s a family matter that is unfortunately played as kabuki for all the world to watch.
And that may be where the appeal of Princess Diana lies.
On the surface she was extraordinarily well suited for her role as princess. She was not a shabby princess with drug scandals, disco nights, raunchy boyfriends and movie-star mother like the Monaco princesses. Instead, her lineage extended further than her husband’s, she was “raised proper”, and was virtuous and lovely. Like a pricess from a fairy tale she didn’t struggle to get a graduate degree in anything, or to become a concert pianist or great tennis player; she didn’t do much other than just be. She lived a charmed life of privilege, had two beautiful children, and grew to become an elegant woman of substance.
Just the kind of stuff envy is made of.
But once the horrible truth about how the man who most likely was the love of her life betrayed her from the start and set her up for a farce of a marriage became public, no woman in her right mind felt that envy would have been justified.
I remember a summer twelve years ago or so when I had been helping a friend who was trying to strip wallpaper from her kitchen walls. The wallpaper wasn’t budging. I took my steamer to her house and we steamed until our pores couldn’t take it anymore, and in the middle of this we stopped for a break to have some lemonade. My friend said, “I bet Princess Diana never has to do this”, to which I answered, “No, but she had to sleep with Prince Charles.”
Neither one of us complained about stripping kitchen wallpaper after that. For all of us see all celebrities through the mirror of our own lives, and steamed as the mirror might have been, Prince Charles was no prince.
So this morning I kept the TV on because it was a very rare chance to listen to exellent music that is at the root of Christianity. The selections were particularly lovely and the sound quality, even through the little old TV set in the kitchen, was very good.
And I thanked God for the kindness of sons.