Diana, rewritten and erased

Sniggers over the recent biopic are part of a greater perception of Princess Diana herself – as an embarrassment to be forgotten.

The Princess Diana biopic has bombed in the US, making only the equivalent of £40,000 from initial screenings in 38 cinemas in its first weekend. It is tempting to conclude that America has finally fallen out of love with Diana. But much more likely is that potential audiences were deterred by the panning the film has received on both sides of the Atlantic.

I kept away from the film when it was released in British cinemas for precisely the same reason: it sounded cringe-making. Yet even as I kept away, I was puzzled by the wall-to-wall contempt it had provoked. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, writing in the Independent on Sunday, found the critical sniggering excessive too; was it, she asked, because some elements of the story, especially Diana’s intimacy with a Pakistani doctor, were still unsettling?

 

For full story

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/08/diana-rewritten-erased-film-princess-embarrassment

 

Why Kate Middleton is no Princess Diana

Media and public desire for a new people’s princess is palpable. But this time the royal family are ready

Kate Middleton has given her first speech. Cue enormous excitement in the media and huge praise. According to one source, she delivered an “assured” performance to “rave reviews”. The speech in fact was a few tremulous sentences in which she thanked the charity for inviting her, described its important work, and mentioned missing William.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/mar/20/kate-middleton-no-princess-diana

Kate Middleton and Charlene Wittstock: A tale of two princesses

Kate Middleton has impressed the public on her first foreign tour, but in Monaco Princess Charlene’s ‘fairytale’ marriage has got off to a tricky start

Any hopes that “princess mania” might die down have now been dashed by Kate’s first royal trip to Canada. If anything, England’s new princess looks set to attract ever more attention as the tour moves to California. But this week, as images were beamed back of her every outfit and move, a tale of another princess offered an interesting counterpoint. Pictures of Monaco‘s implausibly named Princess Charlene weeping through her wedding were an unsettling reminder that the reality of marrying into the European monarchy can be rather darker and more coercive.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/jul/09/princess-charlene-kate-fairytale-wedding

Royal wedding: My patriotic fever pitch

A royal pundit vacuum in the US means I’m a go-to expert in a country gorging itself on Kate ‘n’ Wills trivia

‘Are y’all ready for the wedding?” Whenever I speak in Philadelphia, where I have been living for the last few months, they ask this same question. Apparently I have a quaint accent. And because of this quaint British accent I am obviously intimate with the royal family and their preparations for the wedding of William and Kate that is obsessing America.

I also happen to have written a book about Princess Diana, and this makes me appealing not only to the general public but the Philly media. No, not appealing; valuable – because there’s a pundit vacuum here. The American media is moving out wholesale, heading for London. CNN is sending at least 125 staffers and NBC more than 500. Top anchors are going from all stations: ABC’s Barbara Walters is already there. Rival companies promote their coverage by the numbers of reporters they will have in situ. Wedding coverage, which started back in January, is reaching fever pitch.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/apr/25/royal-wedding-patriotic-fever-pitch

Ever the inconvenient royal

The details emerging from the inquest into her death may be overly intrusive but the process proves that Diana was a radical in her own way

Today a leader in the Guardian describes the Diana inquest “a mawkish indulgence of a conspiracy cult” and an “absurdity” and even I, who long supported the need for an inquest, have felt in parts bored and in parts queasy about the continued trawling over Diana’s unhappy personal life. But among the welter of detail, some important and fascinating information is emerging.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2008/jan/16/evertheinconvenientroyal

Diana: the unanswered questions

I welcome the inquest into Diana’s death. Hopefully we’ll finally be able to tie up some still-dangling threads.

Most people I know affect a fashionable ennui around Diana these days. The line is that the mourning of Diana was mass hysteria, interest in her life unhealthy and, in particular, any interest in the details of her death the morbid obsessions of conspiracy theorists. In relation to the inquest in to her death, which opens today, the general line is what on earth more could we ever find out about a drunken car crash? So am I the only person left in the UK who thinks that an inquest into the death of Princess Diana, might, if done properly, actually be quite useful?

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2007/oct/02/dianatheunansweredquestions

Diana the victim

Princess Diana died seven years ago today. Since then she has been branded as the ultimate media Machiavelli, a skilful and devious self-publicist. But in reality, says Ros Coward, who has interviewed those closest to her for the first authorised biography, she promoted her image only for the good of others – and it was she who was manipulated

One fact everyone seems to know about Princess Diana these days is that she was an ace manipulator of the media. This view has arisen relatively quickly. In the immediate aftermath of her death, people united in distaste for the role the media appeared to have played; indeed the media acknowledged how much she had been tormented by collectively agreeing to spare her young sons similar attention. Only seven years later, however, more details are known about how she talked to the press, occasionally staged photo-opportunities, and gave that Panorama interview. Some talk as if Diana was the ultimate media Machiavelli, perhaps even the architect of her own disaster. In seven short years, the victim has become the criminal.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2004/aug/31/monarchy.historybooks

Mr Al Fayed: an apology

Of all the unlikely and unpleasant people claiming attention in the wake of royal butler Paul Burrell’s revelations, who would have thought Mohamed Al Fayed might emerge as vaguely plausible? But his conspiracy theories have certainly received a boost.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/nov/08/monarchy.comment

Reasons to be tearful

Like Christmas and most other anniversaries these days, the fifth anniversary of Diana’s death came early. Tabloids have been full of Diana pictures and there have been desperate attempts to stimulate interest in new old gossip. Even erstwhile Diana fans like myself are thinking perhaps it’s time to let go.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2002/aug/30/monarchy.comment