Friday, March 05, 2010

I have a guilty secret

I don't even know whether to divulge this to you lest I lose all credibility. Oh, okay then. The thing is that I adore watching television programmes about Princess Diana. I recently caught part one of a bio-pic on some shlock channel; It used look-alike actors and I saw that the IMDB had rated this particular film about a 5 - yet I still watched it. One saving grace actually was that a very good British actor - David Threlfall - was playing the part of Charles. Interspersed with genuine Diana footage it was of course the story that we know all too well.

I don't know why she holds such fascination for me and I keep trying to analyse it. Is it her beauty? She wasn't classically beautiful but I think her face is the most perfect face. She once said that if she wasn't in the public eye she would have had a nose job. I think her slightly too large nose adds to her unique non-perfect perfect face.

Around the time of the engagement I saw her flanked by two bodyguards at a London theatre. She was sitting about two rows behind my friend and I and I can't remember how I realised she was sitting there but, watching me turn round a lot, other people then began to do so and a gradual buzz filled the theatre - yes, this was before the curtain went up. She grew redder and redder and I felt so sorry for her.

I've never bought any memorabilia or joined any fan sites - I'm not that obsessive a person. I just like watching old clips to see what she wore, what she said and the grace with which she did both. I know this is a terrible thing to say but in a way - just as with Marilyn - dying so young added to the mystique.

I wish I knew when part two of this film will be on. Imagine that - me scanning the schedules to find out. That's a first.


Steve said...

I don't go a bundle over Diana but was certainly sad when she died. I wish she'd had a happier life and I feel sorry for her boys - even for Charles. But I don't hold her up as an icon or an ideal. But I think you're right - the dying young adds a certain glamour and mystique that captures people's imaginations.

willow said...

((me, too...shh...don't tell))

Ayak said...

I don't think you should consider it to be a guilty secret. I think there are thousands of people who still find her included. And I also watch any programme about her that happens to be on TV. I think she must have been quite a sad person, it couldn't have been much fun entering a marriage to someone and knowing they still had feelings for someone else. But she did give an enormous amount of pleasure to lots of people, and I admire her for that.

I have a feeling that perhaps her life was just about to turn around and that she may at last have been happy, before it was sadly cut short.

Dash said...

I am not a huge Diana fan, but I must admit I will always read articles about her and watch documentaries etc.
She certainly had Presence, added to that we all grew up with her and watched her entire life unfurl from a gauche young girl to polished woman with all the anguish and trauma along the way. I saw the most recent pictures of William the other day, he looks so much like her.

Nora Johnson said...

Kennedy's death. Elvis's death. Diana's death. I'll always recall exactly what I was doing when I heard the news of these deaths. Such was the degree of surprise & shock. Do others react the same way?


Miscellany said...

Well then ... does Charles still refer to himself as a tampon? Other than that I know next to nothing about Diana except it seems she's headed towards sainthood.

French Shelter said...

I completely understand why you are all about Diana.

I did not even know how much I was into Diana until I cried the minute I heard that she had died.

Her life is extraordinarily tragic.

Forget Elvis and Kennedy.

Diana represented us in a way that they cannot.


the fly in the web said...

Congrats on the further weight loss..
As to Diana, had I known the phrase 'Saint Nitouche' when I first saw her, I would have used it.
Not my cup of tea at all, but I do recognise what you say about her image.

LadyFi said...

She really did have that little extra something, didn't she?

French Fancy said...

Steve - maybe it's a woman thing. Mr FF has no time for any of these programmes, my dad never had either; whereas my mum and I used to be glued to them.

willow - maybe I shouldn't really feel embarassed about enjoying seeing programmes about her. There is never any new fact divulged - I think it is just she looked so wonderful and had inner grace and beauty - she shone.

Ayak - hearing about her death is one of those moments everyone remembers. I'd returned from walking my first bichon and my ex told me - 'you'd better come and watch the news - but you'll get a terrible shock'. I could not believe what I was hearing and seeing.

Dash - I think William used to look more like her than he does now. He used to be much better-looking. Gosh, I sound so flighty.

Nora and the lovely Lola - oh look, I just talked about where I was when I heard. funnily enough I don't remember where I was when Elvis died.

Miscellany - that is just the sort of thing that Mr FF would say - yes, it must be a woman thing to like her so much

Hello French Shelter and welcome to the blog. The day the Queen returned to Buckingham Palace I and quite a few fellow workers took flowers up there - only I was too short and at the back of the crowd to see the royal car come down the Mall.I suppose I don't need to point out the flowers were for memorials to Diana, not for ER.

tfitw - The intelligent side of me knows that so much about her was manufactured facade. Yet there was something genuine and true about this woman - and very very sad.

Lady Fi - yes, she really did have this inner glow that came out

Laura [What I Like] said...

Oh you're not have got to read Tina Brown's The Diana Chronicles. You will become fascinated all over again!

Anonymous said...

I admired her for what she did; found her independence and got out of a very claustrophic lifestyle. I can understand your obsession.

CJ xx

French Fancy said...

Laura - well if I could find it at the library here (our expat rubbish library) I'd borrow it. I wouldn't bother buying it

CJ - Oh, I wouldn't call it an obsession. Not by any means. It is an admiration and if I am in I will watch something about her. I wouldn't record it if I was going out though.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I've never understood the passion for Diana or Jade Goody, but then I never understood the attraction of cup cakes either - I do realise that this just proves how out of step with public opinion I am.

I do always wonder if Charles is embarrassed about Harry's resemblance to that Hewitt fellow though!

French Fancy said...

Lu - do you know what crossed my mind when I pressed 'Publish'? What will Lulu LaBonne think of me now? Truthfully I did. I know I have lost all semblance of coolness (my plus points by dancing with Mr Nighy are now truly obliterated by Confessions of a Diana Fan)

A Super Dilettante said...

All my aunties love and adore Lady Di. I grew up with pictures of her lying around in my aunties' bedrooms (I've got 8 aunties)!! They told me that when she and Princes Charles got married, they made a huge cake at home and invited all their friends and neighbours to come and watch it on the TV (at that time, there were very few TVs in my country) apparently the cake had pink icing!! I wasn't born at that time but my mother would have eaten that pink cake!! My aunties would never hear a bad thing about Lady Di. They admired her when she went to visit people with AIDS. In fact, they've been calling her People'e Princess even before Tony Blair used this phrase!! I've never seen the film that you mentioned but I've seen a film about her and Prince Charles (played by Laurence Fox) in a film titled Whatever love means. I thought it was a bit soppy.

Susie Vereker said...

When we lived in Paris we often used to drive down the dread underpass, quite spooky. And people left flowers above it for years - expect they still do. Poor Diana, no one could have written such a compelling tragedy.

Lulu (am I supposed to put @Lulu?), Prince H takes after his uncle Charles Spencer.

A Super Dilettante said...

PS. My aunties would be eating their hearts out when they hear that you saw her in real life!!!I'm eating my heart out after you told me you met Derek Jarman in my blog!!!I admire him (not only just a director but also an artist and a writer) soooo much!!

Contemporary Troubadour said...

You're certainly not alone -- she was one of the most beloved public figures before her death and only became more so afterward, no?

I remember having a paper doll of her when I was little. Do they still make such things?

Jean said...

I have the same fascination with her and her life. I think it's because she was not wholly royal so we could relate to her more than say, Princess Anne. Also the idea that she was conned into a marriage that was doomed from the start. Many women can relate to that, I'm sure. And who could fail to be attracted to all the glamour.

Eleonora said...

Such a sad fairytale...

How's the WW program coming along, friend?
Have a great weekend

E xx

e said...

Thanks for sharing your secret, but as you can see you are far from alone. I always wondered how she had the strength to overcome the constraints placed on her and go on to do humanitarian works...It was her flaws that endeared her to me as much as the glam she showed in public.

Anonymous said...

I imagine a large number of people share your passion. She isn't one of mine, but I did watch her funeral.

Lulu LaBonne said...

Darling Frenchie - I have so many embarrassing crushes I'm scared to list them, I might not get Di but I love the BeeGees (and Donny Osmond - but then I know him so that might be a bit ok).

And nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing wipes out Bill Nighy coool points

Anonymous said...

I was living in Norfolk when Charles and Diana got engaged. Norfolk people were terribly excited because they saw her as one of theirs. Personally, I found her utterly enchanting and also very alluring. Remember the famous photo of her as a demure nursery school teacher with the sunlight shining through her dress. It remains my favorite Di shot.

Faux Fuchsia said...

I miss Diana (Our Real Princess) a lot. I've dedicated blog posts to her this year. She was so beautiful and so flawed.I miss her and always wonder what she'd be wearing now had she lived. I just couldn't believe it when she was killed. I'd grown up with her. Don't feel guilty! Love your blog.

Monalisa said...

I think that when Diana married into the royal family she changed the whole family.
Before Diana, the family seemed old-fashioned, out-of-date, uninteresting.
She bought life into the royal family. That's why everyone loved her...

French Fancy said...

ASD - I wouldn't watch a too cheesy faction about her though - the one I linked to had one saving grace - Mr Threlfall. He is one of my favourite actors. I once sat through ten hours (well obviously he wasn't on for all the time - he does die about halfway through) of him acting as Smike in Nicholas Nickelby when the Aldwych Theatre was in a previous incarnation.

I think Laurence Fox is married to Billie Piper - well, I suppose with his family he had to become an actor really. I once briefly met his uncle, Robert Fox - we were both at a certain theatre at the same time, although I was in the offices and he was of course backstage. If only I'd known my place, eh? I spent more time behind the scenes than doing my proper job.And that is how I managed to get invited to all the start of show and end of show parties - a girl's got to try hard to get noticed, you know.

Susie - our first holiday to Paris saw us splashing out on quite a nice hotel just by that bridge - a complete coincidence, I really didn't know where exactly it was. We went out for a walk the first evening and of course came face to face with all the little eternal candles and bouquets and messages tied to the railings on the bridge overlooking the underpass. I did feel very sad, I've got to say.

ASD - hello again. It was quite odd that evening at the theatre. At the end of the show, after the curtain calls, the front of house manager came on the stage and asked the audience to kindly remain seated. There was then a slight kerfuffle from a certain row behind us whilst the small entourage left ahead of the mob. She was still Lady Di then but of course that was very soon to change.

CT - I should think that there are no end of things available with her image now. My dad once gave me a five pound coin with her image on it - it is legal tender in the UK but I don't think I would spend it.

Jean - yes, I think it is the glamour that is so appealing. I love the hats and gloves she wore - she had elegance and style and even casual she looked bloody good.

Lola - hello - I've lost half a stone now and get very anxious when approaching your blog lest I lose control :)

e - I wonder how she would have been not marrying into that family. Probably stuck out in the shires doing good works somewhere and raising a brood of children.

Dedene - I sobbed my way through the funeral on television, despite my ex eating celery sticks (which caused no end of a row)

Lu - I bet Donny is as lovely irl as he seems in his persona. I did like some Bee Gees songs and Barry used to look very dashing. He's not aged well though - he really should get his hair cut.

Ian - those naughty photographers getting her to stand against the sun. They knew what they were doing.

Hello to another FF. I love your name.I can't imagine her older. Imagine her as a great grandmother. But then tall willowy women will always look elegant, whatever their age. It's that greyhound thing of no surplus flesh.

Monalisa - hello. It will be interesting to see what happens when Charles becomes King. I don't think it will skip to William, although a lot of people would prefer that. I veer between being a monarchist and a republican. Of course living here in France I am a citizen and it is quite refreshing.

Ken Devine said...

Princess D in the same breath as Jade Goody. No two people could be further apart. I have strong thoughts about both and like neither of them anywhere near as apparently the rest of the nation do.

Like Kennedy and others, I do remember where I was when the news was broken though.

Lulu LaBonne said...

Ken - I mentioned them in the same breath exactly because of their similarities;
Two girls from dysfunctional families get sudden fame, a makeover and are reborn as 'celebrities' each woman's sole talent is the one for self promotion. Both achieve deification on their glamorous young deaths.

In the case of both I felt frightened by the way the press could turn the public into a baying mob pronouncing these women a Madonna one day and a whore the next.

French Fancy said...

Ken and Lu - yes, I do see the similarities between the two women. I was ambivalent towards Jade though. I did in fact watch the Big Brother series that propelled her to fame and did find her entertaining. I know it is popular to look down on reality shows such as BB - I enjoy it, I stand up and say 'I am a Big Brother fan'.

Both have become deified - although I did not watch Jade's funeral on tv. In fact once she left the BB3 series I didn't really bother thinking about her any more. I watched the BB Shilpa series and was of course outraged by the things Jade said - but I think by then she thought she was invincible and could say and do what she wanted.

The only time I winced at anything Diana said was 'I want to be the queen of people's hearts' - which was just too cheesy for words. I did go off her a bit when she said that

Anonymous said...

Opened a can of worms hee, FF. When she was loved she was adored, but when she wasn't the shades of detestation are frightening. I adored her, for many reasons. the fact that she was so young when she entered that cage of stuffed, but still dangerous sabre toothed tigers. She hard to do the right thing...loved her boys and yes, in the end learned to save herself by manipulating her popularity. But then I say Hooray! She fought back. She was colour, sunshine, beauty and she died far too soon. And that dull Camel will one day be Queen. Shame!

French Fancy said...

Moannie - that was it - she did try to do the right thing and she was spurned by Charles and just never fit into that cold institution known as The Windsors. She got her happiness where she could and died because of it really. I always blame Charles for her death - if he had loved her like she deserved to be love she would never have sought comfort elsewhere (while he was seeking it elsewhere from the word go)

A Super Dilettante said...

Thanks for your lovely message on Facebook. I'm thinking of you and Mr. FF! I'm keeping my fingers crossed xxx

Reasons said...

Can I tell you a secret? I have been told more than a few times that I resemble Diana. Can't see it myself and no doubt it is quickly fading if it's there. So sad she died so young.

French Fancy said...

ASD - it's so exciting but I can't say anything more just yet. Mum's the word - isn't that an interesting phrase


Jo - you must be so lovely - but I knew you were/are anyway. It shines out of you - but it does help that the exterior matches.

A Super Dilettante said...

Don't worry my dear. I'm like dad, keep mum :)

Hadriana's Treasures said...

I know you won't believe me but Diana was once sick in Mr.H.'s pocket. I'm not making this up. If you e-mail me I will tell you the whole story. He hates talking about it.

He's quite old-fashioned is Mr.H. and very loyal too. He takes after his father who, during the war, was stationed at Windsor Castle and looked after the royals including HRH, herself, no less!

Angie Muresan said...

I have a fascination with her too. She was such a genuine person that I feel like I could have told her anything, and she would have listened.

North West London Girl said...

I always found her an interesting flawed character, she clearly had many issues and I wonder what she'd be up to now if she were still here. Better still I wonder what she'd make of Kate Middleton and Chelsy?

cheshire wife said...

Diana was very attractive and had such a sad life. I never understood what attracted her to Charles. She could have had any man that she wanted.

Mark said...

At least you are not alone.

Stories about Diana still sell newspapers - and Mail on Sunday once issued a 'free DVD' of her life; it was one of their highest selling issues ever.

Ken Devine said...

Lulu...point taken and a very good point too. I missed the similarities completely. I can be so shallow at times.

FF, Mum's the word, eh? I'm intrigued now!

French Fancy said...

ASD - it is bursting out of me - I can feel it

Hadriana - gosh, what a story that must be. What a shame you can't tell it - or maybe you can. Go on - tell all in a blog post.

Angie - she was so very lonely. The amount of people that came forward after she died that said she had rung them in response to letters they had written to her.

NWLG - I think she would have liked Kate although mothers and sons, hmmm. Who knows?

cheshire wife - but apparently she had loved/fancied Prince Charles from when she was quite young. He did have an exciting image when he was in his twenties although it does seem hard to imagine now

Mark - I've missed all those giveaways with the UK papers. Not that I would have wanted the Diana one though - but some of the films given free would be good

Ken - I hadn't thought of their similarities until Lulu had put it so eloquently

Phil Lowe said...

I was waking up the morning after some friends wedding when I heard that she was dead. I felt sorry for the people who had got married the afternoon before as well as for Diana and Dodi. Their own happiness would be marred in some people's minds from the tragic event. For my ex-wife and myself I guss we were caught up in the fugg of disbelief.

I hope that the Royal Family got more real theronin. Sad that such a beautiful and compassionate person had to leave this earth though.

French Fancy said...

Phil - everyone can remember the moment when they heard the news. I wonder how the queen feels about her now, now there is sufficient time for the bad times the two of them probably had to be just distant memories.