Tag Archives: Princess Diana

Thoughts On the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Interview

The fairy tale books we are read to when we are young present images of royal perfection. Though the characters exist within this world have problems, those issues are resolved by the time the story ends. But that is fiction. But, as we all now, real life is not as simple.

Last night, the interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle aired on CBS. Sitting down with Oprah Winfrey, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex explored issues relating to their marriage, mental health, the overwhelmingly negative and racist press coverage, and the decision to step back from the Queen’s inner circle.

The overwhelming message I got is that the family, known as “the firm” is an institution that is more concerned with the external image than the well-being of individual members. The treatment of Harry’s mother, the late Princess Diana, contains more than enough evidence of that fact. The thing about intuitions is that while tradition is all well and good, one must roll with the times. Just because something was rolled under the rug two or three generations ago does not mean that rolling it under the rug now is going to make it any easier to deal with.

I appreciated both Meghan and Harry’s honesty. It must have been cathartic to get all of that off of their chest, especially in front of an international audience. I also appreciate that instead of being a tabloid-ish tell-all, there were some boundaries. Harry could have easily revealed who made the awful comment about his son’s potential complexion. Instead, he chose to keep that information private.

I have nothing but admiration for the both of them. The problem with a toxic environment is that it is often too familiar. It takes a lot of courage to step into the unknown and even more courage to emotionally move on from what is keeping us from living a full and happy life.

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The Crown Season 4 Review

Sometimes a writer does not need to look too far back into the past for inspiration.

The 4th season of The Crown premiered yesterday on Netflix. The season follows the lives of the British royals from 1979-1989. Coming back from season 3 are Olivia Coleman (Queen Elizabeth), Tobias Menzies (Prince Philip), Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles), Erin Doherty (Princess Anne), Helena Bonham-Carter (Princess Margaret), and Marion Bailey (the Queen Mother). Adding new levels of drama and intrigue are Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher).

In addition to the internal family drama, there is political and economic upheaval beyond the walls of Buckingham Palace.

I binge watched a good chunk of the new season last night. It is nothing short of fantastic. I loved the new additions to the cast. Corrin brings a humanity to her role and adds to the mystique of the real woman behind the character.

If there is one actor among the main players who deserves an award for her work, it is Gillian Anderson. I am the first to admit that my knowledge of Thatcher’s work as Prime Minister is limited. But I know enough to know that then and now, she is a polarizing figure. As the character, Anderson plays a ball busting, glass ceiling shattering woman who is as formidable as the Queen.

The thing I really enjoyed so far is the complete 180 of how Charles is viewed. Last season, he was a young man trying to out who he was as a human being while dealing with burden of responsibility placed upon his shoulders. This season, he still draws empathy, but not as much as did during season 3.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

The Crown is available for streaming on Netlflix.

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Can Meghan and Harry Truly Go Their Own Way?

One of the truths of life and love is that who one falls in love with is unpredictable.

When Meghan Markle and Prince Harry married in the spring of 2018, it seemed like a modern fairy tale. The marriage of a biracial, previously divorced American actress and a high ranking member of the British royal family was every storybook romance brought to real life.

Nearly two years later, Meghan and Harry’s decision to step down from their royal duties seems to have shaken the royal family to its core.

To be fair, Harry will never realistically be King. Which frees him and Meghan to create a life of their own choosing (well, as much as they can).

Some have pointed to the overt racism that Meghan received from the British tabloids and the lingering trauma of Princess Diana’s death that guided the couple to make their decision. If those are their reasons (in addition to giving their son as normal a childhood as possible), then I can respect that.

The reality is that they will be never be completely divorced from the British royal family. Harry is and always will be a member of the House of Windsor. I’m sure that this decision was not made out of spite, but because Harry and Meghan felt that it was right for them.

The other reality is that the lifestyle they are used to is not exactly poor. They will also need to hire security, but the question is, who will be funding their new life? I’m not a British or Canadian taxpayer, but given their soon to be new life, I would not be happy if my tax dollars were given to fund their lifestyle.

Only time will tell if Harry and Meghan will be able to go their own way. Whatever happens, I wish them well in their new life and for many years to come.

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Thoughts On The Memories Of Princess Diana

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.

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In Defense of the Princess: How Plastic Tiaras and Fairytale Dreams Can Inspire Smart, Strong Women Book Review

At first glance, the idea of the princess and feminism seem like they are on opposite sides of the spectrum. The princess is a delicate creature in a large ball gown, waiting for a prince to rescue her from whatever peril she is in. Feminism states that women can stand on their own two feet and be counted as human beings without relying on a man.

Author Jerramy Fine believes that not only can both exist, but they can co-exist. The daughter of hippies who has been infatuated with the idea of princesses and royalty since her childhood, Ms. Fine published her latest non-fiction book, In Defense of the Princess: How Plastic Tiaras and Fairytale Dreams Can Inspire Smart, Strong Women in 2016. Drawing examples of both fictional princesses (i.e. the Disney Princesses and Princess Leia from Star Wars) and from real princesses (Grace Kelly and Princess Diana), she writes how a woman can still be a princess, but still be strong and stand on her own two feet.

I really liked this book. I find that the my belief in feminism is often at odds with the “princess” ideal that, like many girls, I was raised with. Ms. Fine is able to put to bed, once and for all, that these ideals are at cross purposes and can never come together. My only disagreement with the author is the notion that Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Cinderella (especially in the forms that Disney has presented) can inspire young girls to be strong, courageous and independent. While some of the latter-day Disney Princesses are role models, I hardly think that “Someday My Prince Will Come” is going to embolden future generations of girls to break the glass ceiling for good.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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To Marry an English Lord Book Review

Marriage, for many generations, was not about love, commitment and compatibility. It was about class, money and social standing.

In 1776, America broke away from England and became a free nation in her own right. About 100 years later, young American heiresses would reverse that trend by going back across the pond and saying I do to male members of the English aristocracy that had the title and the land, but not necessary the fortune to keep both going.

In 1989, writers Gail MacColl and Carol McD Wallace wrote To Marry an English Lord, a book about these young women who chose spouses from among England’s elite. Starting with the Gilded Age and ending with 1914, the book traces the stories of these girls. Compiling images, facts and press clippings from the era, the writers take the reader back to a time when marriage was more about duty and fortune than love and commitment.

My initial desire to read this book started with the fact that I am huge Downton Abbey fan and that Julian Fellows was inspired by the stories of these girls. What kept me reading was that despite the fact that these girls had no rights and were being used as cash cows by their husbands, was that they were able to forge new lives and thrive in a country that was not their own, at least by birth.

The most fascinating aspect of this book was how many members of the upper class have American blood in them. Winston Churchill’s mother was American as was the paternal great-grandmother of the late Princess Diana.

I recommend it.

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What Do Women Want Book Review

Can women have it all? What do women want? Women have been asking themselves this question for generations.

Thanks to our fore mothers, my generation of women can have it all. We have unprecedented access to higher education and the career of our choice. Unlike our grandmothers and great grandmothers, marriage is a choice and not an economic necessity. If and when we have children, thanks to science and Roe V. Wade, we can choose when we wish to have children and how many we want to have.

Do we truly want it all? What happens if we should have it all? What do we truly want out of life?

Erica Jong’s 2007 book, What Do Women Want?, asks that question through a series of essays.  The topics of the essays range from Hillary Rodham Clinton, to the timelessness of Jane Eyre and the late Princess Diana.  What I like about this book is that Ms. Jong asks candid questions that need to be answered. In her usual up front, laying all cards on the table style, the questions are presented in a way that is both readable and asks the reader to formulate their own answer to the questions.

I recommend this book.

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