Princess Diana

I watched the 2 hour ABC special commemorating the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. It was mostly a dishy, gossipy look at the last 100 days in the life of the young Princess, dwelling on questions such as did she really love Dodi Fayed or was he a fling in lieu of her true love, Dr. Hasnat Khan? Did the ring Dodi bought just before Diana’s death signify friendship, or engagement? Did Charles and Camilla ever stop seeing each other, or did their affair continue before, during, and after Charles married 19 year old Diana?

Aside from all of that, there were wonderful photos and video clips of Diana, who was simply gorgeous and got more so in her 30’s when she grew into her beauty. Viewers saw her with her two young sons, and I was pleased with the respect the documentary paid to the charity work she undertook on her own after she divorced Charles and was outside the circle of obligations that fall on the royal family.

I came away reminded of how young Diana was when she and Charles married, and how little skilled she was in coping with the specter of Camilla that shadowed things from the beginning. The emotionally remote royal family coalesced around Charles, of course, and if Diana later used her celebrity to strike back, it was truly the only weapon she had. She was a wonderful mother to William and Harry, having had not much by way of a role model in her own mother, Frances Shand Kydd.

The accident that killed Diana before her 40th birthday was hardly fair to a young woman still forging an identity and finding her purpose in life, or to the young sons who loved her. Watching her go out those revolving hotel doors in the last moments of her life felt inexplicably sad, even after all this time.

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