Remembering Diana

The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown

I’m still pretty darn honked off that Princess Diana died.
Years ago, I bought the book Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words by Andrew Morton. But I’ve never read it, possibly because I was not ready to deal with some of the ugliness of the truth, and probably because I was still dealing with the fact that she was gone. (And, actually, The Diana Chronicles tells which parts are fabrication, which is rather interesting.)
And now, over a decade later, with all of this new royal wedding stuff in the news, my love for biographies of the British royal family has been reawakened. Yep, I’m on a kick.
The Diana Chronicles is a big, gloriously gossipy book. And to listen to it requires 21 hours and 21 minutes. Good grief. It made me wish I could listen to this audiobook while reading another actual book, but multitasking doesn’t really work like that. Instead, an unusual amount of exercising and housework took place, as I listened to this book with a certain compulsion.
We see Diana here as an actual human being, which means that she doesn’t always do good things. But it also makes sense why she was the way she was; after all, there were, quite famously, three people in her marriage.
The other thing that becomes clear is that, despite having often described herself as intellectually “thick as a plank,” Diana was smart enough to outsmart the royal family more often than not. For example, in the divorce, she made sure they were playing for public opinion before she engaged in battle; that was a fight she could win hands-down.
There are charming things here, too, such as Diana’s loving to visit friends and do their ironing, just for the wonderful normalness of it. And sad things, like the speculation that all her life she was seeking—and never finding—a loving family life to make up for the broken family in which she was raised.
I really wished I could have stopped after the 15th CD, because after that, she was gone. And it was as though the lights went out all over again.

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