It is hard to believe that it is ten years since the death of Princess Diana. It is notable that, despite the best efforts of the news media, the anniversary is only being marked by a low-key private memorial service by Diana’s close family and friends and senior members of the Royal Family. Public interest has been really quite minimal. Ten years ago on the other hand, news of her death was met, rather embarrassingly, by a form of mass hysteria the like of which Britain had never seen before. This very public show of grief was indeed ironic as five years or so previous, Britain and the world had laughed at the public grieving shown in North Korea at the death of the odious dictator Kim Il-Sung. The similarity was striking with the hysteria in both instances ridiculous.
For a brief and glorious, glimpsing moment, in the week following Diana’s death it was possible to imagine that the end was near for the monarchy. In death, Diana could have had the last laugh for the years of unhappiness she endured when married into ‘the firm’. The Royal Family’s seeming disregard for her death and its ignoring of the subsequent grief made them look cold, out of touch and uncaring. They were suddenly interned in the biggest crisis for the monarchy since the abdication of Edward V111. Their validity and future was questioned like never before. Alas it was not to be. The Royal Family weathered the storm and is, unfortunately, just as popular as ever. Being a member of the aristocracy, their demise would probably not have been what Diana would have wanted anyway. Her death did; however, make the Royal Family realise that their position is not guaranteed, and her two sons have now become the great hope for the future. Thanks to her, they do have a more common touch and are proving themselves to be hugely popular. But perhaps her lasting legacy is far subtler and one which could yet bring humiliation to the House of Windsor. Why does Prince Harry not have any resemblance to the Prince of Wales?