It’s been anticipated for months. The number of TV specials and documentaries airing in the past few weeks has been astounding.
In all honesty, without my mom’s fascination with Princess Di, I probably wouldn’t have also become so invested as I now have. I probably wouldn’t have given too much thought to the twentieth anniversary of her untimely death without the motivation to look more deeply into her life.
Because, to this day, I believe she is still the holder of the title “The People’s Princess.” Her impact as an ordinary person stepping into a huge role and utilizing it as she did is remarkable.
From the exposure she received from paparazzi attention (too much of it, according to majority opinion), to leading a normal life to most that was simultaneously unheard of in the British royal family, Diana has left behind a legacy really all leaders should keep in mind.
Not only for leaders, but the followers as well. When we see talking heads on the screen or plastered in trashy magazines, we tend to forget that they are just human beings, individuals like you and me. But the “stars” themselves do make it difficult at times to relate their situations to ours. They feel so distant, so glamorous and over-the-top that we cannot help but hold them at arm’s length and admire from afar like a museum exhibit.
Obviously I was only a few months old when Diana passed, so I have no memory myself of her in action, but from what I’ve seen and learned, she wasn’t like those celebrities and leaders. She felt more real. She was open with her struggles, and not just because they were headlines worldwide for all to see. She didn’t shy away from the difficult situations. She had class and style, and yet she took on roles that others wouldn’t dare speak of or touch.
She used her influence to do good and raise awareness. She visited the homeless. She touched and hugged those with AIDS. She walked through dangerous terrain known to be riddled with land mines.
And still, with that influence, she felt immediate in individuals’ minds. She suffered from depression and eating disorders. She had the same longing we all do for love and acceptance. Heck, I can relate to her as an empath as she took on the emotions of others and connected on a deep level with everyone she met.
There’s a reason why everyone is making a big fuss over this day. Even after twenty years, her work and spirit is still relevant. She still has an impact on us, even those who don’t remember her alive, and to me, that speaks volumes. We still want to learn more about her. We still see the differences she has made for not only the royal family, but also for the world.
Even if you really don’t care too much about Princess Di, that’s a-okay. But at least understand that the world would look much different than it does today. We wouldn’t care as much about the British royal family without Di. We wouldn’t see her sons continuing progress made for Britain’s homeless and mentally ill without Di.
And as a young commoner thrust into a prestigious world, Diana’s life exuded courage in the face of fear. She set precedents in fashion, in celebrity coverage, in humanitarianism even as a princess, even after enduring a very public divorce, even after baring herself to the world. She wasn’t perfect. She made mistakes. She still left mysteries that we today speculate. She is a reminder that yes, regardless of our status or publicity, we are all human.
If you take anything away from this day and this post, I hope it’s that reminder that although we tote how different and unique we all are, inevitably we share many similarities. The people shying away from intrusive TMZ cameras are people, too, not just famous names and figures. There’s more to each of us than our titles.
It’s okay to break the status quo, even if it can be downright frightening. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to ebb and flow as we transition through our lives, even if people critique us for trying to become our best selves.
We should make the most of what gifts and tools we have at our disposal. We should show compassion and love to those who may seem unlovable. We should make time for the people who matter most to us. We should treasure every single moment we have because nothing is promised or guaranteed.
So, Princess Diana, your candle did burn out too soon. But your legend will continue to live on. That is something that is a promise.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie.