Princess Diana and the end of civility

Princess Diana on Dodi Fayed's yacht a week before her deathThe Queen is the first film to be made about the woman who has presided over England for half a century. The story deals with the days following Princess Di’s fatal crash in 1997 and the personal challenge her death might have posed for the monarchy’s public relations. The same period saw Prime Minister Tony Blair’s ascendancy to power. The story gives Blair credit, where the queen appeared to faulter, for recognizing Diana as being the “People’s Princess.” And then some.

Asked about his fawning depiction of Tony Blair as man of the hour, director Stephen Frears thought it “a mark of my incredible maturity” to cast Blair in the light of his glory days, this at a time when Blair and his government have fallen irrecoverably, adding that “it’s preposterous that he’s not in jail.” In the interview Frears also makes light of whether Queen Elizabeth II is possibly really as bright as her character portrayed by Hellen Mirren. The Queen celebrates the resolve of royal blood facing a crisis. Elizabeth is both humanized and lionized, by sticking to the stiff upper lip “the world expects of us.” Frears interweaves real news footage of celebrities and the flowers flooding the Buckingham Palace gates, counting the days from Lady Di’s death to the climax when the queen finally makes her long delayed statement.

That’s when Frears lies. He lays the behind the scenes personal anguish which might have explained the dishonor the royals paid to Diana, leading to the Queen’s famous address, but then rewrites the ending. As if Mighty Casey, his vainglorious ambitions thwarted in the minor leagues, stays true to his character that day in Mudville, and now because we can all feel a little sympathy for the self-centered fella, he swings and DOES NOT strike out!!

We all were there when Queen Elizabeth took to the microphone, and no close-ups of a fictional Tony Blair’s tearing eyes, proud of his stalwart sovereign, are going to recast the disgraceful blue-blooded reaction for what it was.

And what of lingering accusations of the royal family being behind Diana’s death? What of the rape tape which Diana posited with a servant for safe-keeping which tells, it’s conjectured because the British press are forbidden to tell us, of Prince Charles interrupted sodomizing a valet. What of Lady Diana being, not even arguably, by the power of her personality, the most powerful woman in the world? But unlike Oprah or Martha Stewart, Diana was a loose cannon championing the cause of AIDs in Africa, and the fight to ban land mines, both subjects the powers that be, certainly in America, did/do not want highlighted.

The Queen‘s smartest character, Tony Blair’s advisor who supposedly coins the term People’s Princess is let to murmur early on, “It wasn’t the press that killed her.” But the subject is dropped there. Instead Blair and his crew seize upon Diana’s death like Mayor Giuliani to 9/11, being seen offering bedside comfort to a traumatized populace, and reaping the accolades. Except director Frears offers nothing behind such scenes. Blair is shown as the earnest surrogate, standing in for his monarch until she can regrasp the helm.

With the ensuing years having shown us Blair’s true colors, what do you think was the more likely scenario? A self-effacing Danny Kaye Pauper Prince or a Rudy Giuliani? I find Frears’ characterization of Blair even more disingenuous, showing Tony living in a modest flat strewn with children’s messes, taking the dinner plates to do the “washing up,” and keeping watch on world events on a television with a Nintendo game atop it. This coming from a “labor” minister who was leading the conservative counter-revolution to restructure the British economy for the elites. Perhaps Frears’ adopted class.

The Queen owes its entire first act to Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 911, the music, the build, the black out of the familiar awful moment, and the protracted montage we needed to absorb the tragedy and understand how it’s changed us.

The great disservice that Stephen Frears does to history, and to all of us because we are still living it, is amplified by the fact that he did get Diana’s death right. Princess Di’s sudden death did change the world, perhaps more than did 9/11. The World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 was a comeuppance. If the American people did not see it coming, the world did. That such a terrorist act was bound to happen was attested to the fact that the same people had already tried it and at the very same location.

But Diana’s death marked the end of civility, and people felt it. The third world may have been fit to burst under the weight of its post-colonial oppressors, but a great English civility had prevailed since the days of Ghandi. This was a sense that disagreement could be visceral, but apart from the brutality of the unwashed French or the uncouth Americans, a British sense of decency would rule out. Britain, not long ago the Empire, was where we got the rule of law, our rights, and everyone’s concept of a representational parliament.

The circumstances around Diana’s death would present an incredibly interesting lesson in power usurped from the people; Tony Blair’s arrangement with Rupert Murdoch for starters, instead of showing Blair reacting to the newspapers and coaxing his old queen along. The Queen is a marvelous story of two people facing adversity introspectively. Fine, except those personages were at the center of the unification of global corporate power and could not have been idle participants. As if Frears had made a film about the Titanic and chose to focus on the captain’s preoccupation with feng shui.

The 1990s saw a decline in every aspect of benevolent leadership, and I believe the premature death of Lady Diana was the curtain. It was hard those days after her death to imagine a world without her, and indeed events have proved that we were to face the worst. The turn of the century marked the ascendency of the Neocons, the political face of the globalization overlords. It meant corporate overseers with gloves off, Zionist zealotry unabashed, banks with no limits on their usury, and the world media watchdogs in the hands of the wolves.

The ruling few have their hands bloody in genocides the world over, endless wars, massacres, slavery, epidemics, poverty, famine and reckless abandonment. Before Diana’s death at least I believe they would have been concerned to wash the blood off.

12 thoughts on “Princess Diana and the end of civility

  1. The late Quentin Crisp spoke truthfully, if bluntly, that Princess Diana’s fast and shallow lifestyle contributed to her own demise: “She could have been Queen of England — and she was swanning about Paris.   What disgraceful behavior. Going about saying she wanted to be the queen of hearts. The vulgarity of it is so overpowering.” (Atlanta Southern Voice, 1 July 1999).

    The “queen of hearts” remains the icon of a superficial popular culture, but behind her facades of glamour and pseudo-compassion, the Royal family knew a very different character.

    Both Diana and her brother, Charles Spencer,  suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder caused by their mother’s abandonning them as young children.  (A google search reveals that Diana is considered a case study in BPD by mental health professionals).

    For Charles Spencer, BPD meant insatiable sexual promiscuity (his wife was divorcing him at the time of Diana’s death). For Diana, BPD meant  intense insecurity and an insatiable need for attention and affection which even the best husband could never have fulfilled. From a BPD perspective, she brought her many “problems” into the marriage. The Royal family did not cause her multiple issues; rather, they were hapless in dealing with them.

    Untreated, Diana’s BPD sowed the seeds of her fast, unstable lifestyle and her tragic fate. She remains an icon indeed for shallow popular culture.

  2. As the Royals go she seemed the least dangerously inbred.
    To re-use an old Southern saying, there must have been a peasant in the woodpile.

    See my other snotty remark about prince charles marrying his cousin.

  3. Good day,
    This Diana was a lier and cheater. All rest is just PR
    and cover to make her something she NEVER was.
    A decent person.

  4. I would counter, that the Royals have not one shred of decency amongst them.
    If she were as bad as the two Royalist apologists have so gently spoken, there would still have been no motive for murder. None that a DECENT fellow would rationally accept.

    There is a Coroner’s Inquest ongoing in London to-day. Perhaps Mssrs. RedTown and Hutton would care to go and testify that she deserved to die because she was, in their words “not decent”?

    And Thank You, Monsieur Hutton…
    Your opinion shows the epitome of the Royal Contempt for any life other than their own.

    They have a long family history of incest and Murder, sometimes not necessarily in that order. Fratricide, parricide, infanticide, anybody-between-pretender-and-throne-in-line-of-succession-icide.

    Perfectly willing to allow “their subjects” to go off and kill and die, but, really, Prince Harry’s Noble “grande geste” to offer to go to fight with “His” men in Iraq, was just Royalist propaganda fluff, c’est ça?

    and it did include the snotty little rich brat saying that he actually owns them.

    “His” men, indeed!

  5. Now that I’ve made Hutton’s acquaintance, if only online, I begin to understand why he would say that Diana wasn’t a decent person…

    It’s because Diana never made kow-tow to his Emperor Reagan or his annointed Successors the Bush Cartel.

    Carry on, Major, you’re doing quite enough bootlicking for all of us.

    No thank you, we don’t need any boot for ourselves, you can have all of it.

    Don’t forget to get your tongue under the laces, there’s a good Slave-attitude Fellow…

  6. My Remarks about the royal Brat proved true as well.

    The Queen Mum and her squirrel-molesting Brood, including the Royal Brat’s murderous ol’ man,(Charles, for anybody who has trouble following the narrative) decided he had quite enough of Playing Soldier and brought him home.

    More of the Royalist Tradition of “leading from behind” I suppose..

    P.S. they only molest the squirrels because the sheep put up too much of a fight.

    It’s 2:30, and I approve this message, regardless of Silliness Level.

  7. She was guilty only of having been swept away with the thought of marrying a royal…and at the age of 19, wasn’t it? He in his mid-thirties? NO MAN, less it have been her father possibly, seemed to truly love her, and that is what she wanted most. Perhaps her sons will live on to be the FIRST NOT TO PROFIT from her. Remember the ugly red-haired fellow that wooed and then sold books about her? That was just one of many! And as even her brother does since her death~! I pray she has peace in Heaven…there was so much more she could have easily accomplished here. There will never be another like her, unfortunately.

  8. Could anything you say be true? These comments are so insulting and delusional. I can’t fathom the origin of them. There must be a difference in the American perception and the British perception of the Royal Family. Or either, from a distance, I have a better understanding of why they HIDE from all of you. And isn’t THAT…what Diana ran from as well? Everything is so ghastly larger than imaginable, and stranger than fiction, and ironic as a paradox…and it seems she may have had poor judgment in her post divorce syndrome…but who doesn’t? Divorce itself is the blame…no one is ever ready for that. People have car wrecks every single day.

  9. I did see a tabloid at the supermarket where William apparently caught Charles entertaining a man… (ahem) and telling him that “Now you’ll NEVER be king”

    It would be far from the most scandalous behavior ever indulged in by the monarchy. A gay King wouldn’t be anything new either, George I and James First, they had been there and done that.
    We’re well rid of their lot, 233 years and counting.

    If you felt this subject and the many replies to it amusing, amazing or just foul, some of those who dress up like the Revolutionaries who severed the bonds of the King, have chided our current President because his wife returned a hug-like gesture made by your Queen.

    The irony being, they’re pretending to be anti-aristocracy Rebels and acting shocked about a Commoner making a gesture of equality with the queen. It’s not the only issue they’re confused about. My take on their antics : “Silly Bastards”. If it weren’t for the hate and outright murders they’ve committed along with their clownish behavior it would be amusing.

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