To Diana

Car. Crash. Eyes. Closed.
We haven’t saved the rose.
Don’t cry. Do love.
Twenty years is not enough:
Still. Hurts. Still. Aches.
Our pain lies awake.
She was there. For us. No more.
We are there. We live. For her.

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Diana, Princess of Wales (July 1, 1961 – August 31, 1997)

Cathy

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Reflections on Diana Documentary: Can a Historical Figure Have Personal Space?

The heated discussion about the new documentary¬†Diana: In Her Own Words¬†made my phone go mad with notifications, as I had subscribed to all Diana-related news. I had heard some of Princess Diana’s tapes previously on YouTube as they had been broadcast by the American television long before, and could not understand at first, why make all this fuss about them being shown in the UK. Now I am even doubting whether I was right to hear any of those recordings, even if they were posted for public. The thing is – I am thinking hard whether a person of historical importance should be deprived of privacy even after her death?

Diana was haunted by the media throughout her life. It is reasonable to suppose that the huge public interest in her gave the newspapers enormous profits. Does public interest equal people’s love? Every single detail of her personal life was hungrily read both by fans and haters. It was an obsession. Now that she is dead, I am convinced that haters and obsessed followers should step back and quietly respect her for what she was. Keep her memory alive, the best memories of her, and not make a sensation out of what she would not like it to be made of.

This is not just for her children’s sake. It is also for Diana’s sake. For her name’s sake. And you will never convince me that her life belongs to history and everybody has rights to know it. Do the tiniest details of her personal life matter to the history? Have they changed its course? No. We all know that she experienced difficulties in her marriage which ended in a divorce. Why do you want to hear more of it? I just do not see why it is so important.

If we truly love Diana, her will must guide us in everything we do about her memory. Would she appreciate excessive publications of her private affairs? Hardly. She always wanted to be remembered for the work she did. So why we do not make more films about her charity patronages, landmine campaigns, the famous auction where she sold most of her marvelous dresses?

She was a woman with a complicated personal life, yes. But she was more than that. Let us put an emphasis on that MORE. If we do, it will turn out that she has enough of her personal space. As any other historical figure should have. Let us respect it!

Cathy