20 years ago today, Princess Diana was killed in a car crash. She was 36.
When she married Prince Charles in 1981 at the young age of 19, she looked every inch of the fairy tale princess who had found her prince.
But life, as we know it to be, is not a fairy tale. It is complicated, it contains unforeseen twists and turns and can be heartbreaking.
The thing that I see in the memories of her is a pliable, caring, innocent young woman, who persevered through the sh*t that was thrown at her and learned to not only stand on her own two feet, but also make a life of her own choosing.
In finding her backbone and learning to stand on her own two feet, Princess Diana not only increased her icon status, but also became a heroine to those who find themselves fighting to develop their own backbone.
As many other have said before, if we remember her for nothing else, we remember that she was amazing mother. Her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry have grown into men that I am sure their mother would be nothing but glowing about. As a mother-in-law to Catherine and a grandmother to George and Charlotte, she would have been a light of modernity and love in the darkness of blind tradition.
RIP Princess Diana. Your legacy of love, strength, compassion, and humanity will last forever.
Fairy tales often have what if quality to them.
The play, King Charles III, adds to the what if quality of the fairy tale. It is set in an alternative world where Queen Elizabeth II has died and Prince Charles has ascended to the throne. But his time as King is shaky and those closest to him begin to question if Charles can wear the crown.
Last night, PBS aired a television adaptation of the play. Several actors from the play returning to their stage roles; the late Tim Pigott-Smith (Charles), Margot Leicester (Camilla), Oliver Chris (William) and Richard Goulding (Harry). Stepping the roles for the first time were Charlotte Riley (Kate) and Jess (Tamara Lawrance).
While I did not see the play I found the television adaptation interesting. It was interesting because what’s behind closed doors is often more fascinating than the face that we put out for the world to see. Bringing the audience into a world that few of us will ever see added to the heightened drama and the suspense of what questioning if Charles could be successful as King Of England was the hook I needed.
I recommend it.
The American culture seems to have an insatiable appetite for anything British. We are obsessed with Jane Austen, Prince William and Kate Middleton, Downton Abbey, etc.
During World War II, the appetite was turned in the other direction. While the war started several years before Pearl Harbor, the Americans did not join the war until after December 7th, 1941. After Pearl Harbor, American servicemen were eager to join the war effort. When they flooded cities in Britain, young British women took note of the new faces.
Some of these women ended up marrying their American servicemen boyfriends and making new lives in America. Duncan Barrett and Nuala Calvi’s new non fiction memoir, GI Brides: The Wartime Girls Who Crossed The Atlantic For Love follows the stories of four young women from Great Britain who married American servicemen.
Rae, Margaret, Sylvia and Gwendolyn were young women during World War II. Instead of marrying local boys, they fell for the charm, charisma and confidence of the American men they married. After the war, they joined their husbands in America and attempted to live as American women. But the mystique of America would soon fade and the women would be faced with challenges that they would have no choice but to overcome.
I loved this book. My favorite history books are the ones that focus on a small number of individuals that bring that moment in history to life. Rae, Margaret, Sylvia and Gwendolyn could have been characters in a movie. But they are real women who lived through World War II and took the bold step to follow their hearts to America.
I recommend this book.