Saturday, November 04, 2006

What is it about Princess Diana?

I went to see The Queen last night not because I'm obsessed with the monarchy or Princess Diana, but because I'd heard Helen Mirren was amazing and the film was getting really good reviews.

I thought the film was good... and shows the other side of a media frenzy story we all know from the other side... (The Queen's tepid response to Diana's death.) But other than the great performances I didn't think the film was amazing...

What I did find amazing is how, after nearly ten years, I can still cry when I see the images of people putting flowers in front of the various palaces in London after Diana was killed. What was it about that woman?

She was a twit, in my opinion. The worst kind of upperclass bimbo twit. Yes, she did have a bad marriage that wasn't entirely her fault. We can feel bad for her for that. Yes, she did do a lot of good charity work. We can admire her for that. (But most of the Royal family do charity work--notably Princess Anne--yet they don't get the same media coverage for it.) Yes, she appears to have been a very good mother. Good for her. Doesn't make her less of a twit.

But I was wrecked when she died. Devastated. I teared up for months each time I saw her photo on yet another magazine cover. And I teared up big-time several times during the movie last night, even though the character we were supposed to be sympathetic with during that movie was Queen Elizabeth II, not Diana.

For me, I think my unnatural attachment to Diana comes partly with my age. She was exactly a year older than I am and when she got married at such a young age in such an elaborate ceremony... Even though I hadn't thought I had an ounce of Cinderella fantasy in me... Seriously... who wouldn't get caught up in that spectacle as an eighteen year old or whatever I was. My sisters and I had a party in our parents' basement and a bunch of our friends spent the night. The big plan was to stay up all night and watch the wedding in the morning while drinking champagne. Sadly, we fell asleep at some point, but we only missed a little of the run up stuff around 5:00 am EST.

But I remember it so vividly. I also got up to watch her funeral. I figured if I could get up at 5:00 am for a wedding, I should do it for a funeral.

I can't believe it's been nearly ten years... or that I can still cry about it.

5 comments:

Shannon McKelden said...

I wonder if it is the Cinderella syndrome, Maureen? I pay no attention to the monarchy usually. They don't really have meaning to me. But, by God, if I hear Candle in the Wind (the Diana version) by Elton John on the radio, I can become a blubbering mess. And, I'm the same way with getting choked up at pictures of her or scenes from around the time of her death.

Hey, Cinderella (twit or not) died...and maybe that reminds us that even our fantasies aren't safe in this world.

Which means we need to go out and write more stories with happy endings, right?! :-)

Shannon

Maureen McGowan said...

Shannon... I so never thought I was the Cinderella fantasy type... but I think my reaction to diana and her death proves those things go deeper than we care to admit. (Or I do anyway.)

(and I actually did have a pretty serious crush on Prince Andrew when I was about fourteen... He was attending school in Canada at the time and I used to imagine us meeting and him falling instantly in love...)

Christine said...

I was working at Kings Landing in New Brunswick when I heard she died. I was in shock. I didn't follow the royals either, but I did see their car drive by when the visited St. Andrews when I was a kid. I really want to see this movie, just so I can see the other side of things.

Eileen said...

I have Diana in my next book because this topic fasinates me. She fasinates me.

Louisa Edwards said...

I have never enjoyed the Diana myth. I don't think she was particularly beautiful or charming. I had a set of Di and Charles paper dolls as a child. They must have been given to me as a gift, because I never played with them. I'd get them out occasionally and look at them, and marvel over how far from my ideal of a prince and princess they both were.

Imagine my shock, then, when at a party recently, a woman I'd just met leaned over and said, "You must get this all the time, but you just look exactly like Princess Di."

Gee. Thanks.

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