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

Lets get personal

Charles and Camilla’s wedding is a chance to inflict some real damage

The wedding of Charles and Camilla offers plenty of opportunity for republicans to score some goals. They could deride the useless royal advisers who failed to check the venue’s viability and, more spectacularly, the legality of the marriage itself. They could expose an India rubber constitution that resists change but creates new categories such as “Princess Consort” when the need arises. They could highlight Charles’s hypocrisy, falling back on the human rights legislation that he so often rails against. They could capitalise on the unpopularity of Camilla or dwell on our first family snubbing each other’s nuptials. But republicans have had nothing to say.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2005/mar/19/monarchy.comment

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

The trouble with Harry

The revelations about Prince Harry’s drinking and cannabis use are a clear reminder of the royal family’s principal function: to live out in the spotlight the dilemmas of ordinary families. This is why, after the death of Diana, republican sentiment faded away. Her legacy was to make us want to see what happens to the remaining characters, and use them to reflect on our own dilemmas and difficulties. Getting rid of them would be like pulling the plug on EastEnders.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2002/jan/15/drugsandalcohol.monarchy

No thanks, Camilla

The Queen meets her eldest son’s mistress at a barbecue. It is hardly the stuff of true romance

One glimpse at the newspapers is enough to tell us that the royal soap is being revived for another season. Most papers made front page news of Camilla Parker Bowles’s weekend meeting with the Queen, while the tabloids also devoted several pages to speculation over whether the Prince of Wales will now marry Camilla. For the Sun this casual encounter over a barbecue was “the royal story of the year” and for the Express and Mirror, “a historic meeting”. Even the Times led with “Camilla and Carey hold secret talks”, making it as significant as negotiations to scrap the nuclear arsenal.

Full article: http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/jun/06/monarchy.comment