Reflections - What led up to August 31, 1997

Eleanor Deckert

Diana Spencer. Lady Di. Princess of Wales. Duchess of Cornwall. Duchess of Rothesay. Countess of Chester. Wife of the Heir Apparent. Mother of two sons next in line to the British throne. The People's Princess. Diana.

 

Much has been written. What can I possibly add? So many words and pictures flash through my mind. I try to capture them.

Young. Shy. Suddenly famous. Shielding her face from cameras. Skirt blowing. Working with young children. She is so young herself.

Sapphire ring. Photographers. Entering history. The Crown Prince! Royalty! A suitable mate. Arrangements. 

Fairy Tale. Wedding dress. Train. Tiara. Coach. Crowds. Guests and gifts from all over the world. Flower girls. Cathedral. Formalities. Vows. The Queen. 750 million television viewers. 600,000 crowd the streets. Balcony. Kiss.

Expectations. Role. Protocol. Family dynamics. Responsibilities. Taboos. Traditions.

Pregnant. Birth. Rows and rows of news cameras outside the hospital. It's a boy! The heir to the throne. 

Travel. Tours. Customs. Welcome. Flags. Flowers. Heads of State. Banquets. Events. Crowds. Cameras. Official duties. Formal. Ceremony. Cameras.

Fashion. Hats. Gloves. Gowns. Jewels. Colours. Trends. Hairstyles. Cameras.

Another son! Family portraits. Family outings. Charming. Lads are growing. Mother is glowing. 

Magazines. Newspapers. TV. Telephoto lens. Tabloids. Privacy. Invasion. Pressure. Money. Interviews. Biographies.

Ski suits. Swim suits. 

Charity. Children's Hospital. AIDS. Leprosy. Land mines. Poverty. Homelessness. Women's issues. Arts. Sports. Education. Health.

Dark clouds gather. Faces shift. Turn away. Something is amiss. Interviews. Tape recordings. Phone calls. Pet names. Falsity. Jealousy. Secrecy. Gossip. Rumors. Silence. Confessions. Blame. Exposed.

Divorce.

Questions without answers. Sorrow. Shock. Expectations dashed. Image shattered. Elevated status smashed.

Family. Fame. Celebrity. Cameras. Always cameras. 

The public. Ever watching. Always curious. Eager for more. Covers of newspapers. Covers of magazines. Endless hunger. Cameras.

Paparazzi. Privacy. Back door. Speeding car. Tunnel entrance. No exit.

Sirens. Flashing lights in the darkness. Tangled wreckage. Hands. Help. Hope. Hospital. 

36 years old. Beauty. Privilege. Fame. Wealth. Status. None of these protected her.

Disbelief. Grief. Tangle of protocol. Royalty? Air transport. Decisions. Preparations. 

The public. The flowers. More cameras. More flowers. Cards. Grief. Cameras. Flowers. Waiting. Grieving. Heartache for the boys. More flowers. More cameras. So many layers of grief. 

Facts. Rumors. Opinions. Responsibility? 

The Queen in black. The Queen Mother in black. The procession. The carriage. The coffin. The flag. The flowers. “Mummy”. Prince Philip. Prince Charles. Prince William. Prince Harry. Lord Spencer.

More cameras. More television. More flowers. More grief. More crowds. We are part of this fairytale and part of this reality. 

An island. Stillness. Quiet. Privacy at last.