Twenty years have passed since that fateful night in Paris when we lost our beautiful Queen of Hearts in a tragic car accident. Since then there have been two very royal weddings close to home, with Charles and Camilla and William and Kate, and endless conspiracy theories with fingers pointed and questions raised as to the events leading up to Diana’s death in the tunnel.
Now, two decades on we are still talking about our People’s Princess, and with the recent documentaries around new footage of Diana in one, and rumblings of disapproval from the Palace in another, it is as if no time has passed at all.
The truth is we will probably never know what actually happened that night, and according to Ken Wharfe, her former bodyguard, who still maintains it was a tragic accident, if he had still been in charge of her welfare, she would never had been allowed to get into the Mercedes with a driver who had allegedly been drinking.
Others think differently, believing she was ‘dealt with’, as her romantic links with a Muslim, Dodi Fayed were getting serious.
If you are also a woman of a certain age, you will remember holding your breath as she delivered the iconic speech on Panorama in 2005, when she said ‘there were three of us in this marriage’. Our hearts went out to her then, and again when we saw the raw footage of her fresh faced and vulnerable as she poured her heart out to her sympathetic speech therapist.
Should the tapes have been allowed on television, of course they should – after all she shaped so many of our lives, and influenced the very essence of our mind set as she embarked on an adventure, starting out as an ordinary girl caring for children, marrying her Prince with a fairy tale Wedding, and then becoming the most powerful woman in the World.
It was the stuff that dreams are made of and we willingly bought into it as she went from strength, relating to her as she did to us and then with the birth of her boys, it all added to the illusion of her life and the belief that all was idyllic in the Palace of Perfection.
Little did we know that it was far from the truth. Whether or not Diana developed Bulimia before or after her discovery that Camilla was not going away is irrelevant. She was a naive 19 year old girl who loved her vocation as a Nanny and her camaraderie with her flat mates but was seduced into a Royal marriage with the promise of happy ever after.
Diana was abandoned from the minute she stepped foot into the Royal arena, and she had every reason to feel unsafe. She was surrounded by vultures who were feeding off her very life blood, and I don’t just mean the Paparazzi. Everyone wanted a part of her, were watching her every move and she just didn’t have the capacity to cope.
Charles was clearly in love with Camilla from the outset, and it is true you can’t choose who you fall in love with. Apart from that he was also under huge pressure to marry. But he underestimated the power of both his young wife and the people, and failed the mother of his children by burying his head in the sand as Diana cried out for his love and attention time and time again.
Not only was she left unsupported, but she was deemed to be unstable, and whispers of ‘madness’ and ‘out of control’ echoed around the walls of the Palace. A few hundred years before she would have been burned at the stake or beheaded, but at least then she wouldn’t have endured the humiliation and betrayal of the people close to her.
But Diana put on a public face with her Charity work, as a Mother and her other humanitarian activities, with an Oscar winning performance every day of her life. Nobody knew the underlying pain and devastation she was feeling, until it became impossible to conceal, and even after her divorce carried on with what she knew best.
Diana predicted that Charles would eventually marry Camilla, and it came to pass. But in the process Diana had been burnt by Charles time and time again, as he diminished her femininity in place of the adoration of his mistress, telling her that he had no intention of behaving differently to any Prince of Wales, who all had ‘other’ women.
In a recent television interview from Penny Junor, a rather stiff and starchy representative of the Royals, supporting Camilla with her sadly timed book about her own brush with infidelity with her serial adulterer husband Andrew Parker-Bowles, said that Camilla would definitely be Queen.
It is believed that Camilla is also desperate to be liked, and by no stretch of the imagination, even if you veer toward Camilla Camp, can you say that she has yet earned our respect or the right to be accepted as Queen.
I am also fascinated by the deafening silence of Prince William and Harry whose appearances were so spectacular in their recent documentary about their Mother, but they have not tried to prevent the other documentaries from going out.
They have come clean about their obvious lack of emotional support at the time of Diana’s death, and their instability that ensued, but have never actually aired their feelings about their father’s marriage to the person so many people blame for Diana’s demise.