Diana, Princess of Wales, continues to live on in our collective memory, even ten years after her death. She rose to the status of icon, even though her fame was mostly unwanted. For a time she was the most famous, most photographed woman in the world. Her beauty, elegance and fashion-sense kept her in the public eye and spawned a paparazzi industry that possibly hounded her to an untimely death in a car accident on August 31, 1997.
The car she and her lover, Dodi Fayed, were traveling in crashed after a high-speed chase fleeing pursuing photographers. Unfortunately the driver of the sedan was found to be legally drunk, and Diana was not wearing a seatbelt. Within seconds of the crash, “the paparazzi had surrounded the Mercedes, and proceeded to take pictures of the dying princess. Not one called for medical assistance.” The photographs were subsequently published.
Her story begins with a privileged upbringing, progresses through a fairy tale wedding witnessed by millions, to a divorce from an oppressive marriage to Prince Charles. The image of a young “shy Di” with downcast eyes transformed into a dour, stressed visage. Charles’ much-publicized affair with his longtime mistress, Camilla Parker-Bowles, led Diana to comment, “There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” The fairy tale proved to be an illusion. After she learned of the affair, a distraught Diana developed bulimia and attempted suicide.
Despite her many problems, she remained devoted to her two sons, the Princes William and Harry, and to her many charitable organizations. Her tireless work for AIDS issues, and the international campaign against landmines earned her the nickname “The People’s Princess.” Her compassion for the plight of the less fortunate led her legions of fans to call her the “Queen of Hearts.” Some saw her as a role model - “after her death, there were even calls for her to be nominated for sainthood - while her detractors saw her life as a cautionary tale of how an obsession with publicity can ultimately destroy an individual.”
Her brother, Earl Spencer, said in his memorial speech: "Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty. All over the world she was a symbol of selfless humanity, a standard bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a very British girl who transcended nationality."
Many fans urge others to boycott tabloids that continue to exploit Diana even after her death.
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