Posts Tagged ‘Princess Diana’
Every young girl dreams of marrying a prince and on July 29th 1981, one shy 20-year old from an aristocratic but dysfunctional family was given a chance to prove this dream was unsustainable. When Lady Diana Spencer wed Charles, Prince of Wales in the Westminster Abbey, 100 million people tuned in for the ceremony dubbed by the media as ‘a fairy-tale wedding’.
During the ceremony, Diana fumbled her husband’s name and refused to say the word “obey,” in what was perhaps a harbinger for the ensuring marriage that could only be described as awkward. Charles forgot to kiss Diana after the vows, and when they returned to the Buckingham Palace, the royal couple emerged on the balcony to give the crowds the kiss they had been longing to see (before disappearing for the official wedding photos session by Lord Snowden, royal breakfast and honeymoon). As the Guardian later reflected, “Diana’s strangely awkward wedding kiss, with a seemingly ill-at-ease Charles, turned out to be more telling of their future relationship than the smile and excitement of Diana the blushing bride.” Neither the history’s most impulsive nor its most passionate kiss, the photo was to become the iconic image of the day.
Before he chose Diana, Charles had been rejected by three women (Lady Jane Wellesley, Amanda Knatchbull and Anna Wallace), while he remained devoted to an married woman (Camilla Parker-Bowles). Both Charles and Diana found it hard to abandon their pre-conjugal lifestyles: for Charles, it was adventurous sportsmanship, and for Diana, it was the carefree spirit of her teen years.
The birth of two children didn’t mellow the couple; a series of domestic and international embarrassments (a tell-tale book, “Squidgy”, Taj Mahal incident, the spurned polo kiss) were only to be coupled by their respective adulteries. Finally in 1992 came much-speculated separation. The rest, as they say, was history.
Extremely popular in life, Princess Diana met her untimely death on August 31st 1997. Her death in 1997 continues to fuel controversy. She died as a result of injuries sustained in a car wreck in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. Her companion Dodi Fayed and the driver of the car, Henri Paul, were pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. Fayed’sbodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was the only survivor, and none of the four were wearing seat-belts. An eighteen-month French judicial investigation concluded in 1999 that the car crash that killed Diana was caused by Paul, who lost control of the car at high speed while intoxicated and under the influence of antidepressants.
Since February 1998, Dodi’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed (the owner of the Hôtel Ritz, for which Paul worked) has claimed that the crash was a result of a conspiracy, and later contended that the crash was orchestrated by MI6 on the instructions of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. However, the crash was perhaps caused by the paparazzi, who relentlessly hunted her down. (See her last moments in Hôtel Ritz here).
Above photo, one of the last photos of Princess Di, was too graphic and too shocking to be published even in the tabloids. The last photo of the princess, however, was the picture below, which showed a medic administering oxygen to the princess.
During her trip to India with Prince Charles in 1992, Lady Diana is pictured alone at the Taj Mahal. On a bench (now affectionately known as Lady Di’s Chair) in front of the greatest monument to love, Lady Diana was photographed alone. She sat by herself and posed for customary photographs on a bench in front of the marble mausoleum, during the visit that took place as her marriage to Prince Charles was collapsing.
A statement on her solitude and a symbol of her failing marriage, the photograph shifted the public sympathy from the stoic prince to seemingly vulnerable princess. The image would come to epitomize the couple’s estrangement. They split up the same year.