Twenty years on and the flowers and teddy-bears keep coming. What was it about Diana?
Clearly, she was a very glamorous clothes-horse; and her interview with Martin Bashir – if nothing else – showed that she was a mistress of dissimulation and guile.
Diana’s death, of course, was tragic, but not unusually so. Not compared to the fate of those innocently caught up in a terror atrocity, or whose aeroplane dropped unexpectedly from the sky. Having cut loose from the family into which she had married – ‘the firm’ as they all call it – she chose to live by the Press. So she died by the Press. It was her conscious choice.
Her life became compulsive viewing for a nation of couch potatoes, albeit spiced with a more glamorous version of the adultery and promiscuity which has become the cultural norm.
She died in the company of Dodi Al Fayed (and of course his father mourned him); but in truth it could have been one of a number of others – Hewitt, Carling etc. The only thing that was certain about Diana’s spectacular trajectory was that it had to end. And the only question was how the ending would come.
In trying to be herself she had unknowingly transformed herself into something other – into Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe rolled into one. The flowers, the teddy-bears and the widespread hysteria naturally followed.