I in no way claim to be a Royalist, and hold those who fawn uncritically over the monarchy in a kind of pitiful disdain – around the same level as Reality TV aficionados and those who consume their parochial, bitter, hate-infused World view verbatim from the pages of The Daily Mail. I do, however, concede that Diana did some sterling work in bringing the causes of HIV/Aids and landmines to the attention of the wider World. Like many thousands of unsung people do. Furthermore, I recognise that her death was a tragedy – as is that of any single mother having suffered from demons, depression and who embarked naively into an unloving relationship. I am sure many others suffer an analogous fate each and every year, but we do not hear so much of these tragedies as they are relegated to a tiny column on page twenty or the tenth item on a local news programme.
It would be interesting to discover how many of those so enamoured with the ‘Diana myth’ a decade on disapproved when pictures of Diana ‘cavorting’ with Dodi Fayed were splashed across newsstands in the summer of 1997. And how many rubbed their hands in salubrious glee at seeing the pictures that adorned the front page of The Sun newspaper up until the day she died? Lets make no bones about it, in certain media circles there was coverage bordering on distasteful, closeted racism – consternation that the mother of a future king might be seeing a man of Arabic extraction.
But the moment that she died, with a Stalinist sweep, history was revised and theirs became the most tragic love story since Romeo and Juliet. From tabloid fodder, Diana became ‘The Queen of Hearts’, ‘The People’s Princess’ and the inspiration for a thousand more sycophantic sobriquets.
This in turn fuels the Diana industry. A quick look at Ebay heralds a load of Diana-related merchandise, from plates and books to dolls and (bizarrely) phone-cards. What’s more there seems to be no stopping the Diana-brand cash cow. Meanwhile aides, pallbearers and former confidants fill their boots off the back of her untimely demise. It is distasteful and disrespectful, but morality falls by the wayside when you have newspapers to sell and books to promote. In the case of The Daily Express it is an editorial decision to promote every Diana non-story and tenuous conspiracy theory to the front cover of the paper. But the drones lap it up like the lobotomised cattle they are.
Much has and will be written about how Diana’s death changed British society and, no doubt, many of the commemorative pullouts will gush of ‘our grief’, ‘our loss’ and the ‘the pain we all felt’. I objected to this presumptive, facile breast-beating in 1997 and find it equally offensive a decade on. Yes, Diana’s death was a tragedy for her family. And in years to come our kids might ask where we were when it happened, in much the same vein as we might ask our parents where they were when JFK was shot, or Neil Armstrong stepped onto the Moon. But the media reaction to Diana’s death spawned a monster that continues to rear its head and louse up a populous of gullible, emotionally-stunted retards that feel it necessary to react to every unfortunate event with a myriad of minute silences, crocodile tears and fatuous expressions of ‘their collective grief’.
Yet, loathed be the person who questions the intellectual premise of ‘the mob’. We have seen this recently with the blanket coverage of the abduction of Madeline McCann. Yes, it is a tragedy that a small child was abducted whilst on holiday, but the media reaction has been disgustingly disproportionate to the event. I wonder how many children in the Third World have died from preventable diseases in the months since the little Western girl went missing? But wait, isn't that what charity wristbands are for?
Now Diana, that was a real tragedy...