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Saturday, September 01, 2007

International Herald Tribune Editorial - Diana

International Herald Tribune Editorial - Diana
Copyright by The International Herald Tribune
Published: August 31, 2007

Has it been 10 years already since Diana died? The best evidence isn't the calendar. It's the photographs of the Princess of Wales, staring out at us from the newsstands and TV. They remind us how distant the near-past can seem, how sensitive we are to the nuances of the present.

That, perhaps, is one of the ways to tell Diana's story - a shimmering wisp of the present who chose to be wedded to an institution that embodied the past. Except that there is something too simple, too allegorical in that telling, and in nearly every telling of her story. The fact is that she was an imperfect human being, like all of us, who married into a family of imperfect beings. She died in an accident that was as tragic as any accident in which a young mother dies.

It isn't clear what the global outpouring of grief that followed Diana's death really said about her life. It was, perhaps, the emotional counterpoint to her royal wedding. If fate wasn't going to round out her days in some appropriate way then it was up to the rest of us to provide the mythic touch that was missing. And so we did.

Nearly all the blanks in Diana's life have now been filled in, for better or worse. The only thing that remains open-ended is the reaction to her death. From a decade's distance, there is something a little incommensurate in that great global throb of grief. The temptation is to search Diana's nature, her character, her actions, for the source of it.

Perhaps the answer is no more complicated than this: The world is filled with so much to grieve over that grief itself seems incommensurate and indulgent. It is no slight to that young woman to say that in her death we recognized something our grief was good for.


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