Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Princess Diana - One Wedding and A Funeral

On 29th July 1981, Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles (the Prince of Wales) at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London. According to Wikipedia: ‘..It was widely billed as a “fairytale wedding”…’ The BBC website states that: ‘Crowds of 600,000 people filled the streets of London to catch a glimpse of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer on their wedding day.. (there was) an invited congregation of 3,500 and an estimated global TV audience of 750 million making it the most popular programme ever broadcast. Britons enjoyed a national holiday to mark the occasion…’

On 31st August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales, who had divorced her only husband Charles, reportedly died after a car crash. It was in Paris. The car was reported to have crashed into the 13th pillar of the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel when travelling at a fast speed.

Masses of people in Britain and other parts of Planet Earth were shocked by this tragedy and there was a great deal of what has been referred to as “emotional outpouring” in the days following the death of Princess Diana, including during the televised funeral event, which took place in Westminster Abbey, London on 6th September 1997.

Cynical characters then emerged in the British media complaining about what they (or some of them) characterised as “the hysteria surrounding” Princess Diana’s death and funeral. These critics (or some of them) likened the response of masses of people at this time to a sort of “fascism.”

While it isn’t remotely surprising that there would be people writing and broadcasting in the media who felt alienated by the public “display of grief” at the time of Princess Diana’s tragic death, what is very much surprising and a mystery to me is that such people would talk and write about these events as if they were somehow unexpected or without precedence in recent history.

Did these journalists (e.g. Christopher Hitchens, Victor Lewis-Smith) have the previous “emotional outpouring” and “hysteria” that occurred surrounding the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles erased from their memory banks?

Or, were they being deliberately selective in their memory of these two time-periods in modern British history?

Do they want history to be re-written so that, over the years, we all forget the hysteria surrounding the wedding and live the historical lie that the emotional aftermath to the death of Princess Diana had no precedent at all in her public life?

It was this precedent of the wedding which made the public and media reaction after the car crash largely predictable in character, if not necessarily in scale.

Or, is it the case that these critics of the “irrational” public reaction to Princess Diana’s death thought that the public reaction to her wedding was somehow, by contrast, O.K.?

Is it, according to the cynical, sneering journalists, alright for the “Establishment” to organise a huge public royal wedding at great expense, seemingly manipulating the emotions of a large proportion of the general population, with much pomp and circumstance and attendant commercial exploitation?

Wasn’t this wedding between Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles rather “irrational” and surrounded by a sort of hysteria, which might be found in a fascist state?

I think so.

Did not the atmosphere surrounding this royal wedding make a significant proportion of the British public feel alienated, being as they were unable to find the huge, indulgent spectacle in any way moving, meaningful or of any relevance to the reality of their lives?

In my opinion, YES.



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