Memories of a Princess
She wasn't much older than me, and at the time of her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981, I was at that very impressionable, romantic stage....mid-teens....hearts and flowers! She was like a fairy tale to me, I collected cuttings for my scrapbook, analysed & devoured every photograph...in those days, her style was copied endlessly too. My friends and I all had versions of her flicked bobbed haircut, wore similar 'piecrust' collars, blue eyeliner...in some way or other we were all under her spell. My family went to London, to friends who had a flat that overlooked Hyde Park, the night before the wedding - the biggest firework show ever! We had a red, white & blue buffet supper - still have nightmares about dyed blue rice salad! The day itself was hot & sunny...we waited with bated breath for a look at THE dress...and there she was, our dream girl, in a huge puff of clotted cream silk! Some people saw creases - we just saw gorgeousness. I can remember every minute of that day, I videotaped the ceremony & would replay it so often that it ended up crackled & grainy! The obsessions of 14 year old girls can't be underestimated! In 1983, she came to OUR TOWN!! Her red helicopter landed on our school playing field and some of my friends & I skipped a lesson to see her open the new shopping centre in the rain (highly illegal - I hope my mother doesn't read this!) I remember she wore damp, green velvet & a feather in her hat along with that sweet smile!
The years rolled on and everyone knows what happened. The news of her death came to me in the early morning of the day after my Mum's fantastic 60th birthday party. It will always rank as one of the biggest shocks of my life. Gone. Just like that. In the week between that day and the funeral, I went up to London & vsiited Kensington Gardens. I hear people now saying that the events of that week weren't 'real', that the country was gripped by hysteria,that it was all manufactured...well, I was there. And there was nothing manufactured about it. The gardens in front of the palace where she'd lived were, literally, a sea of flowers. Florists vans parked in the road were giving roses away (free) to people...and such silence despite the crowds. Everyone was in shock. I remember seeing a business man, in pinstriped suit,with a briefcase in one hand and a white rose in the other making his way towards the floral mountain. Candles in jars lined the fence. Old ladies,cheeks wet with tears. Our Princess gone. No more Diana.
Life goes on...years pass. can it be so long since we last saw her? And now one of her beloved boys is to marry, and the sight of his mother's engagement ring (an iconic object in my 14 year old eyes!) on his beautiful fiancee's finger has brought her back once more. How she would have loved news of this wedding. Her sons are her lasting tribute and the contribution she made to their early lives can only be good for our monarchy, I think.
Congratulations to William & Catherine. And I offer up a silent toast to Diana. Because I miss her still.