Diana, sanctified icon, 25 years after her death
Steph Deschamps / August 31, 2022
A fairy tale princess transformed into a modern young woman who shook the monarchy, Diana remains an icon 25 years after her death, now sanctified by her two sons, Princes William and Harry.
A fairy tale princess turned into a modern young woman who shook the monarchy, Diana remains an icon 25 years after her death, now sanctified by her two sons, Princes William and Harry. The death of the Princess of Wales on August 31, 1997 at the age of 36 in a car accident in Paris, chased by the paparazzi, has frozen her forever in time in the manner of a Marilyn: beautiful, young, tragic, and associated with humanitarian causes that were dear to her.
This anniversary emotionally sends people back to where they were when she died, says Penny Junor, royal biographer. And for Charles it's back to square one. Diana, a young aristocrat, was just 20 years old when she married Prince Charles, 32, in July 1981. The wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral, watched by 750 million television viewers and for which 600,000 people lined the streets of London, was like a fairy tale. But it will be short-lived, the couple is quickly torn apart. The British tabloids made their headlines about this marital wreck that ended in divorce in 1996.
A year earlier, Diana, who had two sons with Charles, William and Harry, committed the unimaginable in an interview with the BBC that broke audience records. Her large blue eyes ringed with black, she said: We were three in this marriage, referring to the mistress of Charles, Camilla, who will become his second wife. Diana acknowledges an affair on her side, and expresses doubts about the ability of Charles to become king. His fragility, his doubts, move. And this veil lifted on a monarchy that cultivates secrecy, fascinates.
Since then, the interview has come under heavy criticism for the way in which journalist Martin Bashir had obtained, through lies and false documents, the confidence of a princess already consumed by doubt. Prince William obtained from the BBC that it would never be broadcast again, claiming that the BBC's failings had fuelled fears, paranoia and isolation" of his mother in her last years.
Her two sons have reinvented the image of Diana as a saintly figure, royal expert and historian Ed Owens told AFP, pointing out that this was not the case in the 1990s, when many people didn't like the way she smeared the royal family by talking to journalists about her situation with Charles. The 2000s then rehabilitated the image of Charles, according to him, before William and Harry - and the series The Crown - embellish this idea of human tragedy, the figure of Saint.