The late Diana, Princess of Wales, was perhaps the best thing that ever happened to Great Britain's royal family. At least in recent centuries.
At a time when the news media and public relations people could scarcely find anything of interest to write or say about the Queen or her family, along came this young, beautiful, willowy blond with the luminous, soulful eyes almost as big as saucers.
The result was somewhat like having a beautiful young bareback rider or trapeze or tight-wire artist join a faded, jaded, and aging circus. Immediately camera shutters began clicking and typewriters started clacking. And a new Cinderella story was born. Everyone sat up and took notice. Soon there was a giant, extravagant wedding that caught and held the attention of millions of people all over the world. Then, in due time, there was a new male heir to the British throne.
Diana made a few mistakes along the way. Apparently the largest being the trading of her future and her happiness (and eventually her life) for a royal title and a diamond tiara and a wedding ring. She apparently loved being called "Your Royal Highness" and all of the other perks that went with the position, but could never learn to accept and live with the miserable lack of privacy that went with it.
Although I was never really a Di fan, I can't help but feel saddened by her untimely death. Just three years ago this September a small group of us stood in the rain outside the iron gates of her Kensington Palace, and jokingly wondered whether or not the Princess would step outside and greet us, or at least wave. But then we rationalized that she was most likely too busy, what with marital problems and all. Tour guides all spoke kindly of the Princess, and often. They proudly pointed out the stores where she purchased her clothing and the shops where she bought her underwear. They informed us that when Her Royal Highness chose to go shopping, the store would be closed to the public, so that she would not be disturbed.
Despite a few critics, Di was widely admired and loved here in "The Colonies." We grew up with and still like Cinderella stories. We empathized with her in her conflict with the royal family. After all, didn't the signers of our own Declaration of Independence thumb their noses at one of the family members, King George III, and didn't our brave soldiers and minutemen put him in his place and send his troops and representatives packing?
The Princess is gone. May she enjoy her heavenly crown much more than she did her royal tiara here on earth.
You brightened our dim and dull lives
With your beauty and your charm,
Helped ease others' heavy loads with
Kind word, willing hand and arm.
If you had some faults and failings
You were much the same as I.
Many folks here sure will miss you,
Your life could not have been easy,
With many an up and down,
And your blond head never seemed quite
Made to fit that jeweled crown.
As you lived a life bedeviled
By photographer and spy
We all kind of stood behind you,
You gave birth to two strong young sons,
Fit heirs to the royal throne.
We're told you did a great job as
A single parent, alone.
To us, motherhood is sacred,
Much like flag and apple pie.
Most Yanks here loved and admired you,
Tabloids dogged each move that you made,
Never leaving you alone.
Some saw you a shameless hussy
With a heart as cold as stone.
We were not impressed the least bit
By such furor or such fuss.
We thought of you, not as a Brit,
But more just like one of us.
Now your tragic death has left us
With tears in many an eye,
As our thoughts and prayers go with you,
May the angels guide and guard you,