I don't know about you but there are times when I wish Diana was still here. Sometimes I'm filled with disbelief that she's gone; maybe that's what happens when someone vibrant and youthful dies. At the time of her death, even her own niece didn't believe it when told the news: "but not in real life Daddy".The global shock no longer reverberates but almost eight years after her death she lives on. She's in good company with Jackie Kennedy who is kept alive in Kennedy retrospectives and every new book that comes out to revive Camelot. We want to go back to a time when glamour meant something other than Oscar parties and best dressed lists.
With the exception of the whole 'Inquest into her death' issue to contend with, you could actually pretend that she's still around. Like Elvis, she has left the building and is living somewhere in Mexico, making the occasional foray to pick up a Big Mac. The conspiracy theories and inquest could be distracting us from the fact that maybe she is still alive and well and that publicizing and keeping her memory alive will smoke her out of hiding. Like those Sasquach, UFO and Loch Ness monster photos, it would provide proof to the unconverted. The lucky person who took the photo could count their money while giving us breathless first hand accounts, maybe even write their own book and appear on Larry King. The night Diana died, people were interviewed around the tunnel area, giving their own accounts and taking pictures for the slide show back home. Good taste isn't for everyone, especially those who can make money.
There are many people who I'm sure would want her to be around - the media as stock photos only go so far, the paparazzi who need something to do other than clean their lenses, the designers who have now slipped back into obscurity only to be brought out when discussing her fashion impact on the world, Barbara Walters. Wouldn't it be the ultimate exclusive? She might even make Diana cry to boost ratings.
Alternately, there are many people who probably wouldn't want her to be around, namely her official memorial fund as you can't hock Diana margarine without her approval. Perhaps the people who successfully bid on her dresses at auction, which then promptly went up on value after she died. I recently watched a program called 'Diana's dresses' which profiled some of the people who bought them. With a cross dresser providing commentary, people spoke about how the dress changed their lives, the measures they've taken to protect the dress by keeping it in a safe and not disclosing where they live for the camera. One rich and obviously troubled woman, protects the dress by displaying it with a glazed looking guard keeping watch beside it. The poor man must constantly fight the urge to drop a match on it.
Really, she doesn't physically need to be alive to us. There are so many people slavishly following every detail of the inquest and buying Franklin Mint dolls, that it should carry us for another good few years. Andrew Morton and Paul Burrell will milk it for every last drop. The memorial fountain fiasco alone is an honorable mention. Even her brother is in on the act; would we really go to Althorp if Diana wasn't buried there? We could take pictures of the island where she is buried, place flowers in the alotted area. Wouldn't the macabre side of us just love to get on that island and visit her grave? One can never get too close and maybe some of her magic might rub off. A few years back some people did sneak onto the island with metal detectors. Her brother foiled them by burying slabs of metal here and there just to confuse things. I'm guilty of wanting more information, briefly scanning the inquest documents for the grisly details; one can never know enough about her. At one point I thought about writing a book on her life from birth to death, minutely detailing it by day. There is a similar book out there with Elvis as the subject so it's not an original idea. But it could sell and I know I would buy it.
I'm sure the royal family would love for Diana to go away, especially Charles and Camilla. Camilla must be exhausted just trying to live up to the expectations and comparisons. The Queen must have made a grudging decision to add her to the memorial page of the royals official website and she has a cursory mention on Charles' site. On the royals site I've noticed that as each new royal dies she moves further and further down the page, but they can't stop those of us who are dedicated enough to use the scroll bar.
Her family's feelings notwithstanding, or if shes reading this herself, maybe it's better that she's no longer alive. One of the books I have mentions this very idea. She is forever frozen in time, always beautiful, eternally happy, and mystique still intact. Had she lived into old age her funeral would indeed have been a depressing event to those of us who still cared by that point. Unless you have the longevity of the Queen Mother, being elderly doesn't make for good copy or sell commemorative plates. Rest in peace Diana, wherever you are.
© Marilyn Braun 2005
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