“I’d Like To Be Queen of People’s Hearts”
– Diana, Princess Of Wales
Recently I watched “Diana In Her Own Words” on Netflix (twice, because it’s so good). This documentary was released in late 2017 by Tom Jennings on Netflix. If you don’t know much about Diana, Princess of Wales, let me be the first to tell you she was an extraordinary humanitarian, woman, mother and a mental health/AIDS advocate. You may have seen pictures on the internet of Diana, hugging children, and at her happiest.
Yet many don’t know or realize the pain Diana endured for much of her marriage and early adulthood. “By October I was about to cut my wrists. I was in a very bad way. It rained and rained.” Diana explained in an interview with Andrew Morton, author of, Diana Her True Story In Her Own Words.
I knew of the Princess and Prince’s divorce, but never really understood the depth of their marriage and troubles before watching this documentary. Diana describes Prince Charles in the beginning:
“I thought that he was very much in love with me.”
…but as the documentary unfolds you begin to see Charles changing. Diana describes him as “hot and cold” “hot and cold” that you could never know what mood he would be in. Shortly after the couple’s engagement, Diana found out about another lady, Charles was ‘seeing’–Camilla Parker Bowles.
“The bulimia started a week after we got engaged.”
So why did Diana stay? Why didn’t she call off the wedding? “It was like a call for duty, really”, she explained. Viewing her marriage as a destiny to help the people of the UK, and use her position to bring light to world problems. For example, Diana helped break the stigmas/myths surrounding AIDS. She had such amazing hopes and dreams for the world and perhaps saw this as her opportunity to do what God put her on this earth to do.
Diana openly discloses throwing herself down a flight of stairs in order to get the attention of her husband–she tells the world about her extreme mental health state during her marriage. There are moments of this documentary that will absolutely shock you. I would never in a million years have expected this from the Princess of Wales. It humanizes her a lot. It reminds us how prevalent mental illness is. Princess Diana got people talking about anorexia, bulimia nervosa, and depression. After her public discussion of her troubles, the UK saw an increase in reports of mental illness, especially bulimia nervosa. Before her accounts, many felt ashamed and embarrassed to seek help and come forward, however, Diana made people feel less scared, giving girls the strength to come forward and seek help.
Diana got so much attention from the press. She was constantly in the newspapers, good and bad. You can only imagine what a toll this takes on a person. I love what she said in an interview:
“There’s far too much about me in the papers. Horrifies me, when there’s something more important like what goes on in hospice or there’s been a bomb or something. “
The Princess was always focussed on the health and happiness of others. She was always seen in hospitals or on humanitarian expeditions helping those in need. She used her position not as a pedestal for vanity, but as a platform for helping others.
After the couple’s divorce, Diana describes her strength: “I can do this job so much better on my own”, and “My first priority will continue to be our children, William and Harry, who deserve as much love and care and attention as I am able to give.” The divorce was about her and her children. It was about giving them the best life she could possibly give them. A life full of love, and affection. It was about being a spokesperson for the people. She’s known by many as the “People’s Princess”.
On August 31st, 1997, Princess Diana died in an automobile accident in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. She is forever in our hearts– 21 years later.
“Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty. All over the world, she was a symbol of selfless humanity. All over the world, a standard bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a very British girl who transcended nationality. Someone with a natural nobility who was classless and who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic.”
— Earl Spencer’s Words At Diana’s Funeral