The Paua Palace

My royal blog, life, opinions and me, it’s all about ME.. Right?

Do you remember it?

Posted by pauaprincess on August 28, 2007

2003390488972279012_rs  I remember the day, it was cool and showery Sunday afternoon.  I was home alone with the Princeling, relaxing and playing, the day before had been his 1st birthday party so he had lots of new toys to explore.  The phone rang, it was K my brother.

K: Have you heard?

P: Heard? About what?

K: About Princess Diana, she’s been in a car accident, now they are saying she’s seriously hurt.

P: What? How? Are you sure? That can’t be right!

As a 13 year old student, I well remember her engagement and fairytale wedding which I watched with my family at some ungodly hour of the night, thanks to the time difference. 

When I was 15, Diana and Prince Charles came to New Zealand.  We got the day off school to go to Eden Park to see them for a walkabout.  I swear every school aged child in Auckland was there.  She was beautiful, fashionable and she’d married a Prince, she was a teenage girls heroine, even in the 80’s.  We got our hair cut with sweeping fringes, wore pie frill collars and bought magazines just because she was on the cover.  Sapphire and diamond rings became de rigueur. We felt a sense of national pride when Prince William took his first steps in Auckland and played with a buzzy bee.

I said goodbye to K and immediately turned on the computer, radio and tv, trolling for news.  As the afternoon wore on, the news came that she’d died, in a Paris hospital.  Suddenly the world took a surreal turn.  The week that followed, was like a vacuum.  People seemed shell shocked,  nobody quite knew what to do or say.  Television was nothing but documentaries, news bulletins and interviews with people who knew her, no matter how tenuously.  It’s the most bizarre and unsettling week I’ve lived through to date.

A hemisphere away, we have no Buckingham Palace.  Flags remained at half mast everywhere, flowers appeared on letterboxes, at Government house and the British Consulate.  Diana was our Princess too but we had no focal point for our grief and we did grieve, just as people did in Britain.  We were perplexed and let down by the behavior of the Queen.  We cheered when the boys and Prince Charles, along with her brother Charles, walked behind her coffin on the gundiana_car carriage. 

A decade on, I still remember the experience as though it were just last week, I see in my minds eye the simple flower arrangement on her coffin bearing a card that simply said “Mummy”.  I’ll admit it, I cried.  I cried for a woman I didn’t know but felt I knew. 

The tremendous, world wide grief seems excessive somehow now, yet I don’t know that it could have happened any other way.  Diana really was the Peoples Princess, to die in a car accident? It seemed so ordinary yet devastating.  Things like that just didn’t happen to royalty.  Royalty have a charmed life, car accidents happen to us ordinary folk.  Yet it was somehow fitting, that she died in a way that any of us might. 

I don’t know if she was good or bad, innocent and naive or cold and calculating.  None of us knew her beyond the pages of the woman’s magazines, who’s covers she graced on a regular basis and still does.  She had a power over us all, from the moment she was photographed running from the paparazzi till the moment she died, as they pursued her through Paris. 

Like JFK, Marilyn, like the thorn bird of the novel, she died at the very peak of her existence.  I wonder what she’d be like now if she’d lived?  Would we still be enthralled by her every movement?

I remember.  Do you?

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One Response to “Do you remember it?”

  1. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but
    I find this matter to be actually something that I think I would
    never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me.
    I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

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