It’s not the happiest occurrence on which to end my blogging break, but today is the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana on August 31st 1997 in Paris. The horrific crash that killed the princess and its aftermath epitomized the issues inherent in Diana’s relationship to the British crown and their treatment of her.
I remember finding out about the crash while standing in my family’s kitchen in Milan, watching a newscast. I think it was the day after the crash, possibly in the evening, and I remember feeling upset and shocked at the news despite being 12 at the time (the same age as Prince Harry). I didn’t know much about Diana beyond her marriage and then divorce to Prince Charles, and her public persona as a benefactress of many causes, including the battle against AIDS and the efforts to ban and remove land mines in areas of conflict.
A few weeks ago, I watched the HBO documentary Diana, Our Mother: Her Life And Legacy, in which Prince William and Prince Harry speak candidly about their relationship with their mother growing up and their experience of her death and funeral. I realized I didn’t know much about the background of Diana’s life and decided to search for a good biography of the princess. Once I discovered that Andrew Morton’s take had been recently updated and was primarily based on taped interviews with the princess herself, I knew it was the right choice. I wasn’t disappointed – the book feels highly personal to the princess thanks to the inclusion of her actual words describing the circumstances of her life. Read my review below.