Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to explore strange old quotes, to seek out new sayings, and new ways of stating them in a galaxy not so far away. [Listen to our podcast at thequotablespodcast.libsyn.com ]

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Diana Debate: Behind the Scenes at TQ

Ed and I rarely disagree about anything (except what temperature the house should be), so our friends would have been shocked to overhear our pre-show meeting about this week's episode, TQ5: Ew-logy (listen to the episode now). Of all things to fight over, we argued over Princess Diana!

To be fair, I was the most heated. After all, I am a self-proclaimed princess expert who has studied royalty for more than 30 years, so I feel that my opinions are very well-qualified. But, here's the problem: I don't think Diana was a saint. I don't think she "saved" the royal family. I don't think she was a better parent than Prince Charles. (Read my Princess Palace post, Diana and Me.)

Don't get me wrong. I greatly respect her work, her beauty and her legacy. But, I also admire the work of Prince Charles and the rest of the royal family, which started long before anyone ever heard of Lady Diana Spencer.

On the other hand, I have very limited respect for Diana's brother, Charles Earl Spencer, who delivered Diana's eulogy at Westminster Abbey. So, as we discussed which parts of his eulogy for her to include on the podcast, there were parts I absolutely refused to read. Ed was befuddled. Like many people, he thinks Diana was a tragic victim of a cold royal family. "She was so young," he said in her defense. Yes, she was 19 when she became engaged, but her own family helped push her into it. Where were they when it fell apart? And, she didn't stay "so young"--she was 34 when she gave that scathing interview to Martin Bashir, which upset her own children so much.

Diana's burial place: The island in the lake at
Althorp Estate, which is held by Earl Spencer.
I guess I feel like those who would sanctify Diana the way Republicans feel about liberals or Democrats feel about Tea Party-ers. So, Ed caught the edge of 20 years of my frustration on this topic, which was greatly enflamed by many of the things Earl Spencer said that summer day in 1997. As I told Ed, it was like he told The Queen "eff you" in the very church where she was married and where she was crowned. For the Earl to pledge to Prince William and Prince Harry that Diana's "blood family" would ensure that they were raised as Diana wanted was pure hypocrisy. Not only had Diana regularly been on the outs with various members of her family, the earl himself was living thousands of miles away at the time in South Africa. When he moved back to England, he left his own children there and started another family with wife #2. From there, he had a brawl with a friend, probably had an affair, divorced wife #2, got engaged, broke that engagement, and married wife #3, who gave him his seventh child earlier this year. All of which certainly makes him a fitter role model for his princely nephews than the royals. (Insert sarcasm sign.)

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