Aside from books that have yet to be released, or ones I've waited until they've ended up in the bargain bin, I can't say I've ever waited as long for a book as this one. Ordered in late July, I now have it in my hands today. Usually I'm impressed by the efficiency of..Amazon but in this case I was truly frustrated by the experience. However, don't let that stop you from purchasing this book!
The first thing I notice about this book is the shape of it - a horizontal rectangle. This presents an aesthetic dilemma as most of the royal books I own are not horizontal rectangles. So where do I place this so as not to disturb the careful visual alignment of books I've created? I'm conflicted, do I put it at the front of the shelf or at the end? Or do I put it on the shelf with smaller books, where it will stick out? Luckily the shape of the book will not affect my enjoyment of it or whether I will give it an unbiased view. The second thing I notice is a DVD which includes 'images set to a soundtrack.' with a '60 minute running time.' This more than makes up for the aesthetic dilemma. I am of course torn between watching this versus giving a deserving review of this book. So I have now decided to look at the book and revisit the DVD later.
Diana A Princess Remembered is filled with photos of Diana throughout her royal career. In that respect it really isn't much different from Diana: Portrait of a Princess by Jayne Fincher (also a horizontal rectangle). Covering official and private travels from 1985 to 1993 to Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Caribbean, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Hong Kong, Korea, Kuwait, India, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Thailand, the USA and of course the UK. It has a similarity to Portraits of a Princess: Travels with Diana, by Patrick Jephson, which details her travels from an insiders perspective with the relevant photos.
My enjoyment of this book is somewhat marred by Glenn Harvey's reputation as a paparazzi who relentlessly pursued Diana, upsetting her on several occasions for his own cause. However those types of photos are not included in this book, allowing me to believe I have some integrity left after having bought it. Accompanying the book are anecdotes of his travels with Diana and the situations Harvey encountered in order to capture the moment.
The DVD is enjoyable and a pleasant surprise. The musical accompaniment starts sombre but becomes festive depending on the location of the photos. For instance, during her United States visits, the soundtrack section starts with music that belongs more on a game show, complete with wild audience applause. I started to wonder what music would be played in the Canadian part of the DVD - Oh Canada? Bird calls? Aboriginal drumbeats? Instead they decided to stick with acoustic guitar music; the type you'd hear at Starbucks.
If like me, you're on some sort of misguided mission to own every book ever written about Diana, then this book is for you. If not, then you might enjoy the book for what it is - photos of Diana in her royal element, relating to the people and making her extraordinary impact on the world.
© Marilyn Braun 2007
Click here to purchase Diana: A Princess Remembered
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