Twenty-five years ago Lady Diana died, her icon remains - Speciali

Twenty-five years ago Lady Diana died, her icon remains – Speciali

An icon just faded from oblivion, but not forgotten; indeed, she canonized post mortem in the memory of legions of admirers, after having been in life a sign of almost lethal contradiction for the British monarchy. The United Kingdom and the world remember behind a veil of nostalgia, and emotions placated by time, Lady D, aka Diana Spencer, exactly 25 years after the crash of the Alma tunnel. The incident that on 31 August 1997 put an end in Paris, amid the astonishment of billions of spectators, to a brief but turbulent existence: that of the ‘people’s princess’, a star who died at 36 at the height of a tragic escape from the paparazzi together with Dodi al-Fayed, his latest scandalous flame.

Unhappy consort of Prince Charles, eternal heir to the throne still waiting at the age of 73 to pick up the scepter from her mother Elizabeth, Diana closed her accounts on that late summer night with a glittering yet sad destiny. A fate that – beautiful, shy and smiling – she had projected her to the headlines of her in her early twenties, on the wave of her 1981 fairytale wedding with the Prince of Wales. But that – between glamorous covers and underground torments, global popularity and hidden depression – would have resulted too soon in the fatal epilogue. After the birth of the eldest son William, second of her in the line of succession of the house, and of the cadet Harry, her almost rebellious clone of her; the public denunciation from the BBC screens (unprecedented in the Windsor house) of Carlo’s betrayal with Camilla Parker Bowles; the admission of one’s own infidelities; and finally the devastating announcement of the royal divorce of the century, punished by her Majesty with a humiliating revocation of the titles.

A storm would have ensued such as to shake the monarchical institution as never before, or since, during the entire span of the Elizabethan reign that reached the seventy anniversary of the Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Earthquake destined to reach its climax precisely with the repercussions of the mad rush in Paris. Those were the weeks in which the crown, and even the extraordinary consent towards Elizabeth II, seemed to shake fearfully under the sign of a detachment from the common popular feeling and a coldness attributed by many to the matriarch: recognized a posteriori as serious “errors” by court historians such as Ed Owens. Crisis that the queen, reluctantly advised by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair, was able to bring back with a bath of humility on the margins of the colossal funeral of the people granted in London to the degraded princess. So much so that today, a quarter of a century later, the memory of the one who as deceased the tabloids did not hesitate to proclaim the “queen of hearts” of the common people, can be said to be marked by a largely peaceful and shared atmosphere.

An atmosphere well represented by the statue that the sons William and Harry wanted to raise in the heart of Kensington Garden and offer the collective homage since July 2021: on the day in which Diana Spencer – daughter of the English high aristocracy capable of suggesting instinctive feelings of empathy to vast popular layers with her gestures and frailties, campaigns against mines and hugs to AIDS patients, the glamorous image of a privileged young woman combined with the rejection of conventions and hypocrisy – she should have turned 60 . If she had lived.

Meanwhile, in the background, a hugely successful TV series like The Crown, produced by Netflix, suggests a sympathetic story of his adventure to the island and the world. While the Royal Family – although struggling with new fibrillations, from the sex scandal of Prince Andrew to the American tear of Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, who seems to be partly inspired by Lady D – has regained its stability: marked by the colossal heritage of respect returned to the 96-year-old Elizabeth, as well as a re-dimensioning of the doubts about the suitability of Charles to the succession and the acceptance (without possible comparisons) of Camilla as future queen consort. In addition to a more modern and less passive attitude of the court in the face of polemics or missteps from which no one, real or not, can any longer claim to be immune.


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