Friday, August 31, 2007

What I Learned from Princess Diana

Ten years after the horrifying car accident that took the life of Princess Di, the public remains every bit as intrigued while the royal family continues to hold tightly to its hats and grudges. How else to explain that Mohamed Al-Fayed and the yenta butler, Paul Burrell, weren’t at the memorial? Camilla, though in Prince Charles’ heart, is also nowhere in sight. Remembering with the royals is by invitation only. They have a short list and a long memory. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.

Shortly after her magnificent gown was cleaned, Diana discovered a huge down side to the Cinderella fantasy and went on national television to share it with us. She had us empathizing with her issues -- a husband who didn’t appreciate her, a mother-in-law who made no effort to mask her resentment and an eating disorder. Diana may have been the inspiration for “Desperate Housewives" though they made it more universal by loosing the loose-lipped butler and tiara-wearing mother-in-law.

Being a princess clearly makes everything trickier. Though I never struggled with the lineage stuff and public scrutiny, there was much to be learned from Diana. For openers, I saw it's a mistake to outshine your mother-in-law. I was in no danger of irritating anyone simply by being too thin, too beautiful or too admired. Making things work with my in-laws involved little more than not messing with the family brisket recipe. It was Diana who made me appreciate how lucky I was to have a husband who'd have run full speed from the likes of Camilla Parker Bowles. Additionally, Tina Brown had no interest in seducing me to confide in her and there was no risk that our household help would, even if tempted, reveal secrets. There would be little money in it and their English is somewhat limited; most of our conversation revolves around cleaning products.

Diana showed us that being real is way better than being royal. There’s too big a price to pay for having china that says HRH.

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