Remembering Princess Diana

The People's Princess with the People's President. I love that.

I love it because Princess Diana, who died 20 years ago today, was a profoundly misunderstood women in many ways during her life — particularly because of a media, which dogged her literally to her death, determined to misrepresent who she was.

It seems to me that's true of many of the women I admire.

I admired Princess Diana for a lot of reasons, chief among them her perseverance. There has always been something powerful to me about tenacious women who persist under unfathomable scrutiny. Living a relatable, if not precisely universal, experience of womanhood on an impossibly visible scale.

Having not been a little girl who dreamed of my wedding day, nor a little girl who picked a princess costume for dress-up, I never shared the (quite understandable) moments of enamorment with Diana's and Charles' extraordinary wedding, nor the opulent trappings of her extraordinary life. I liked to watch her interact with people, with children especially, and I loved to listen to her speak.

I remember seeing an interview with her, when I was still quite young, and hearing her voice for the first time. She was quiet; shy. This was revolutionary, to a child whose face would flush bright red if she were obliged to speak out loud in class.

That I could be shy and strong had maybe never occurred to me before. Not without such certainty, at least.

Diana was the People's Princess because of her charitable work, because of her fearlessness, because of her (literal) touch, and most of all because — despite her own shyness and the immense, relentless scrutiny of becoming a royal, and then infamously un-becoming one; despite her personal struggles and the enormous pressures and the softpedaling of her successes and magnification of her mistakes — she managed to balance a determined strength with a vulnerability that made her accessible; that made her human.

I remember Princess Diana with fondness. My condolences on this sad anniversary to all who knew and loved her, especially her sons.

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