Princess Diana would have been 53 on July 1st and I found myself reflecting upon how little mention is made of a woman who so dominated the headlines in her life and what sort of legacy she left.
Priness Kate would long ago have surpassed her as a cover photo but I suspect Diana, who failed her O levels twice, would still be clever enough to ensure all were aware of her presence and importance as mother to the future king. Would she have married Dodi and had had his child or children? That would have led to an intriguing scenario. It’s difficult to imagine her as a woman advanced in middle age and what impact she would have made. She did not like to be marginalised, we know that, but would she be like any politician out of the power circuit: somebody whose calls you do not return.
Given her enormous celebrity, attractiveness and appeal, Diana’s legacy is somewhat barren. A nation grieved for her in an outpouring of emotion we have not seen before or since but, aside from the circular stream in the Serpentine that bears her name, what did she leave behind? You might have said she took on the royals and won the media battle and a reported £17m settlement, but her tragic death took all that away. For us women, her blue blood background, born in Sandringham in the titled classes, did not make her as accessible as Cheryl Cole raised on a Newcastle council estate and a single parent who became the celebritocracy’s favourite sweetheart. Diana belonged to a different time, one now past, which many never knew.
It’s always fun to play “what if”? Henry Kissinger did it with Chou en Lai. Once they ruminated on what would have transpired if Khrushchev, not Kennedy, had been assassinated. Kissinger, after a while, gave his considered view “Mrs Khrushchev would not have been Mrs Onassis.”