The world has lost its crown jewel. That centerpiece of loveliness that all looked upon with admiration and fascination. A diamond that was cut from the carbon of the common man, fused under the heat and pressure of constant public exposure and scrutiny, achieving a beauty and vulnerable grace that everyone knew was more than just good breeding but an innate perfection. A diamond so multifaceted and sharp that each person saw a reflection of themselves contained within.
So it is when this beautiful diamond is lost to all the world, each person feels a loss so profound and personal that the only natural response is to collectively break down in tears, in public, together. Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, is with us no more. The world will forever mourn her loss.
Awkward and shy, Diana Spencer emerged from the ranks of the landed gentry a 19 year old kindergarten teacher, wide-eyed and sweet, displaying a wit both surprising and endearing to her newly acquainted public. Despite being of the landed gentry, she was considered of the people, "one of us," and she was set to marry the Prince of Wales. She would one day be Queen. She would give birth to the future King of England. It was as if the crown had married the people itself.
The Royal family which for years had hidden behind a wall of aloofness built on the foundations of tradition and protocol didn't quite know what to make of this. She was too open, often speaking too much or out of turn. Even when she flubbed Prince Charles' name in the wedding, referring to him as Philip Charles instead of Charles Philip, people looked upon it as endearing rather than embarrassing. Tradition dictates a standard that demands compliance, and failure to comply can only result in disapprobation. This has always been the way.
Unfortunately, the Royal family realized too slowly that the rules of tradition were irrelevant. This gentle girl, with the beauty and charisma she contained, had overshadowed the rules of tradition forever. The new tradition dictates that striving for perfection is not the way to the people's heart, rather honest acceptance of vulnerability and weakness. Diana championed the new tradition and was ostracized by her new family as a result.
It is often human nature to love someone's weaknesses more than their strengths, and with the people this was the case. So the world celebrated her triumphs - her two children, her marriage, her charity work, her blossoming beauty. At the same time, more attention was lavished upon her weaknesses - her struggle with bulimia, her failing marriage, her desperate search for solitude and companionship. The people craved any new caveat of information. This desire fueled a press that followed her every move, photographed her in almost every way, printed the most degrading stories imaginable, all to sell newspapers that both satisfied and refueled the people's desire. Ultimately, everyone now agrees, this is what killed her. The car that smashed into that support was simply running from the people, those who loved her most.
In the end, the outpouring of grief, the lavish funeral that gathered together millions, the trail of flowers that led her from chapel to grave, all this is a response to the overwhelming guilt we feel for being in some way complicit in the death of a person we all loved too much. Like a child who loves a pet so much that he overwhelms it with love, hugging it so tight as to suffocate it, we have overwhelmed Princess Diana with our love to the point of suffocation. This is what we should ultimately take from this horrible event.
It has been a point of history that often the most awful events of a generation do the most to unify a generation. President Kennedy's assassination, Pearl Harbor, the Titanic are all classic examples. It will be several years before we know if the death of Princess Diana will be the unifying force of our generation, but regardless let us take from this awful tragedy the realization that we are all irrevocably linked together and that truly no person is an island unto oneself.
We at The '80s Server wish to pass on our condolences not only to the Spencer family and the Royal family, but to the family of humanity for the loss of such a wonderful woman. Diana, we will always remember the way you lived rather than the way you died.