With someone as reverend and well known as Princess Diana, you think you know everything there is to know. I thought I did. The truth is, we all know he story, none of us know the emotion behind it.
About a month ago, I watched a documentary on Princess Diana which was based on this book. In it there were recordings of Diana talking about her life in a way I could not imagined. Speaking about witnessing her father slap her mother, her mothering crying, her meeting and marriage to the Prince, her eating disorder, depression and her dreams was so completely human I wanted to know the whole story. So I bought the book.
I’ve always enjoyed biographies because I loved knowing the backstory and history behind those who have made an impact. This one is my favorite.
I’m going to share a couple of the passages that really stuck out to me.
“I don’t like the glamorous occasions anymore – I feel uncomfortable with them. I would much rather be doing something with sick people.” Diana quotes from page 117.
To me this is the essence of human nature. How much are we helping each other? This quote to me is her showing her unrivaled compassion.
She has been condemned by many throughout the years as being unfitted for her role or ungracious of her position. She was in fact neither, she simply wanted to do more humanitarian work.
Diana struggled through an eating disorder as the direct result of confinement, not being herself and living up to the expectations of others.
“The cultural code of the stiff upper lip was not for her boys. She had been teaching them that it’s not ‘sissy’ to show their feelings to others.” -Page 308
I loved this. She was a leader in this behavior. As a society we teach boys not to feel or show feeling. If they do, they are not masculine and we insult them with words typically used to reference girls. Which is also sexist but that’s for another time. I applaud Diana’s leadership in telling her sons that while they are boys, they are, more importantly, human.
After her divorce from Prince Charles, she starts clearing all of the negativity out of her life. She came from a family where her parents divorced and her father got sole custody. Diana did not care for her stepmother. Her maternal grandmother (a lady-in-waiting to the Queen) testified against Diana’s mother (her own daughter) in the custody battle and Diana almost never forgave her. After the divorce, she starts having conversations with those who hurt her about why they took those actions. I think this was a huge part of her healing process and she eventually did forgive and move on. This was a tremendously brave move.
“To heal other people you have to suffer yourself.” Mother Teresa to Princess Diana , Page 362.
“I want to walk into a room, be it a hospital for sick children or a hospice for the dying, and feel that I am needed. I want to do, not just to be.” Quoted from Diana on Page 363
It shows how she was adding so much value to herself and her life at the brink of her unfortunate passing.
“I’ve learned much over the last years. From now on I am going to own myself and be true to myself. I no longer want to live around someone else’s idea of what and who I should be. I am going to be me.” Diana quoted from Page 377.
So much power in that statement!
She was becoming herself. She selected charities important to her to work for. She auctioned off her clothes she wore as a royal for charity since she no longer needed them. She devoted time to her children. She was honing in on who she really was and what was important to her.
“…she was flying solo and was aware that it would be a tricky ride. ‘I will make mistakes’, she said, ‘but that will not stop me from doing what I think is right’.” From Page 379
“In her life, Diana was a complex web of contradictions; fearless yet frail, unloved but adored, needy but generous, self-obsessed yet selfless, inspirational yet despairing, demanding of advice but disliking criticism, honest yet disingenuous, intuitive yet unworldly, supremely sophisticated yet constantly uncertain, and manipulative but naive…she was endlessly fascinating and will remain eternally enigmatic…this is why if Diana had lived for ever, the media would have never understood or appreciated her.” From Page 417.
This is a perfect assessment of Diana. Her life and the way she lived it.
“Her importance now lies not just in what she did during her lifetime but in the meaning of her life, the inspiration she gave to others, particularly women, to search for their own truth.” Page 418.
This was exactly how I was feeling about Diana but couldn’t quite put it to words!
She really was the People’s Princess ❤️
Have you read this? Let me know what you thought in the comments below! If you haven’t read it, I do highly encourage it!
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