Today, 20 years ago, Princess Diana stopped me in the midst of a furious time to teach me a lesson. I was creating high pressure on everyone near to me, as I worked on an entry for some international fashion awards and putting too many hours into a job writing about clothes. It was all so important, you know. I had a self-indulgent mini breakdown about it all, which would see my competition fashion piece hurled out of the garage where I sewed, and past my mum who’d been helping me thread beads and pacifying me with cups of tea. But death stops the clock in more ways than one.
I remembered skin so finely velvet in texture and softly feminine in colour that I almost reached out my 6 year old hand and touched it when Diana and Charles (no desire for touching there) came out to Bayview. We queued and got squashed and it was worth every second we did. I had seen a real-life Princess with my own eyes, a vision I still remember as clearly as if it were this morning.
I felt utter sadness at the waste of a seemingly beautiful human being, that day I heard the radio splutter out the news. After my girlhood wonder, I watched that impossibly perfect peaches and cream skin make sick African kids smile, walk through landmines, and provide the world with a perfect example of what it means to love one another. The perfect definition of the word Princess, in my young impressionable mind. If only it were people like this our current society idolised, instead of Krappy Kardashians.
I remember the next day going to work at the paper and hearing talk of the media being reported as her murderers, and whether or not our paper should run the story on the front page, or not to show our respect.
Then I remember those little boys, a similar age to my kids right now, having to walk behind the coffin of their mother in full view of the world. I felt it mean and heartless that they had to endure that. I felt like I shouldn’t watch; I cried some of my first relentless tears. I wondered if it was the fault of the Royal Family making them do it, or the media for showing their too-suddenly mature little faces in full screen, or even my very own personal fault because I was gawping at it all.
But oh how Diana’s legacy has lived on in those little boys. What a woman to have raised such strong individual’s, even without being able to finish the job. Now, as a mother myself, to me the vision of those boys and now highly respected men, tells me it is worth the exhausting work and choosing hard but right roads parenting requires. And I am happy that Diana’s little Princes now provide the same inspiration to my children as their mother did to me – true Princes of heart, courage and wisdom. I think as a family we will delve into all they do in their work more, glean inspiration in their work, rather than celebrity or meme’s.
Today, on this anniversary, let us take a little of their lesson. Let’s not throw our fashion toys out of the cot (or the garage), no matter how much we might feel like doing it. Let’s love one another, even those we have to be brave to do so. Let’s try our hardest to walk tall with respect, courage and wisdom. Because, after 20 years, a legacy as strong as Diana’s is not one to be ignored.