VISITING PRINCESS DIANA PLACES
Sunday & Tuesday, July 1 & 3, 2001
The other night [March 5, 2004] I watched the taped interviews* of Princess Diana that were aired on national television here in North America. It is strange that England isn't getting the chance to hear Diana tell her story in her own words. The tapes weren't done surreptitiously but with her full understanding and agreement.
The voice of Diana was played while film showed the people and places she was describing. Seeing the pictures brought back memories of my trip to England in 2001.
I went to Princess Diana's childhood home of Althorp on opening day, a Sunday, which was also her birthday, July 1st. I had a strong desire to go to Althorp because I'd watched her funeral on television and I remember the long drive there from London with the crowds lining the streets and throwing flowers on the hearse. I cried non-stop through the entire funeral.
I didn't have a pre-booked ticket but had just arrived at Althorp with two other people - my husband and niece - in hopes of getting through the gate.
But, because of it being such a special day (her birthday, opening day and a Sunday), the tickets had all sold out and no more people were allowed in. I walked back toward where my companions were parking the car to tell them to turn around when the lady at the ticket booth called out to me that there had just that minute been a cancellation. She asked how many people were in my group and I responded, "One or three, depending" and she said there was only one ticket available. I said, "Well that's fine with me, I'll take it." I then went to my husband and niece and suggested they go to Sunday brunch at the old-fashioned pub we'd passed along the way and pick me up in three hours. This they obligingly did, and I proceeded to walk up the long driveway toward Diana's house, feeling the whole time that someone somewhere had let me in, and I imagined that it was Diana.
The above photo of the west side of Althorp was taken from inside the grounds not too far past the entrance gate.
The above photo is the front of Diana's ancestral home, Althorp. I took the tour and must say that very little of Diana's presence can be seen or felt inside the house. Any personal things or photos of her are located in the building across the courtyard which has been turned into a museum. I was amazed to see her weddding dress on display there because I had assumed it was in the British Museum or some other historical location. So too was I shocked to see her landmine outfit on display because wearing that had actually gotten her labelled as a "loose cannon" by Whitehall which is a pretty shocking allegation and no doubt it frightened her.
Then I followed a path to the back and then east of the house which led to the little lake.
Above is the island Diana is said to be buried on although from the park bench where I was sitting I couldn't see a monument of any sort. Somehow I got the feeling that Diana didn't really belong there all alone. I thought it would be better if she were somewhere in the midst of things where people could more easily go to remember her. Walking back toward the house I stepped off the pathway to peek through the green netting fence and I chanced to glimpse Diana's brother, the Earl, dashing toward the tennis court with racket in hand.
I bought an ice cream cone for the long walk back down the driveway and read the history of the property on signs posted intermittently along the way.
Two days after visiting Diana's home in Althorp my friend Zoe and I went to London and walked from the London Eye (a massive Ferris wheel) over Westminster Bridge to Westminster Abbey then through St James and Hyde Parks to Kensington Palace. We planned to walk the route** of Princess Diana's funeral.
The above photo is of me halfway across Westminster Bridge just after coming down from our ride on the Eye which you see in the background.
The above photo was taken from inside the Eye almost at the top. Down below is Westminster Bridge crossing the Thames to Big Ben. To the left are the Parliament Buildings culminating in the big tower. Looking behind Big Ben toward the centre can be seen the towers of Westminster Abbey.
And above is an up-close photo of Westminster Abbey with Zoe standing in front. It was through those doors that the Welsh Guard carried Diana's coffin and then up to the altar for the funeral ceremony on September 6, 1997.
In the photo above I'm in front of Buckingham Palace where Princess Diana lived while waiting for her wedding day. The Queen, Princess Margaret and Fergie, the Duchess of York stood outside those gates as Princess Diana's coffin went by on its way from Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey.
Above is a photo of Zoe standing on a bridge with Serpentine Lake behind her. This was the chosen location for the memorial*** they were planning for Princess Diana. We discussed how uninspiring and unloving it sounded. It wasn't even going to include a statue of her, which seemed the biggest travesty. Afterall, there are statues of old men on horses everywhere you look and all they've ever done is fight some bloody war somewhere. They have no claim on the hearts of the people. And yet for Princess Diana, one of the most photographed and looked-at people in the world, there will be no statue for people to look at.
The above is a photo of Kensington Palace where Diana had an apartment and where William and Harry came home on school holidays. The flowers and cards from Diana's birthday two days before are still hanging there between the fence rails and on the gate. If you look closely you can see me standing in front of the the big gate-post in the middle. Diana's coffin lay in a room on the ground floor of her apartment the night before the funeral and it was from here the next morning that the six black horses emerged and the world got their first view of the flag-draped coffin with the lilies that said "Mummy".
After leaving Kensington Palace we went to a nearby restaurant for tea and cakes and reminisced about the wonderful day.
All the best,
HAPPY 56th BIRTHDAY PRINCESS DIANA
July 1, 1961-2017
Sons attend birthday service at Althorp grave
VISITING PRINCESS DIANA PLACES
Princess Diana Doll (a gift to Jackie Jura from a friend)
HAPPY 51st BIRTHDAY PRINCESS DI, July 1, 1961 - 2012
Demonic Gaga sings "Princess Die" song (clean shit off fancy shoes/another dead blonde), MSN/YouTube, Jun 9, 2012
Various front-page English newspaper coverage of Diana's death, August 31, 1997
Diana ancestral home Althorp, brochure & map
Diana in Angola, Africa, June 12, 1997
Diana at 50: If She Were Here Now
by Tina Brown, Newsweek, Jul 4, 2011
After Diana's death, nine years after the car crash in the Paris tunnel, I attended a ball at Althorp, her anceestral home in the English county of Northamptonshire. The party was hosted, improbably, by Mikhail Gorbachev (with Tatler magazine) to raise money for his late wife's foundation. The crowd partying in the tent that night was Diana's crowd - the London uber-swirl of fashion and society and media. Had she been there, Diana would have lit up the gathering with her radiant blondeness. Sitting next to old Gorby; she would have caused his birthmark to flush deeper as she leaned to hear him speak of his wife, Riasa, grasping his hand as she fixed her big blue eyes on him...
HAPPY 50th BIRTHDAY PRINCESS DIANA (born July 1st, 1961 - 2011)
What if Diana had faked her own death (and is living under a false identity in small-town America?). Daily Mail, Mar 18, 2011
DIANA WALK & COMIC BOOK
Diana tapes will never be shown in UK (BBC wastes £100,000). Daily Mail, Aug 23, 2008
The BBC has wasted £100,000 on a controversial documentary about Princess Diana that will never be seen. Diana, In Her Own Words was made by an award-winning producer and was to have included extracts from video tapes of the Princess recorded by her speech coach, Peter Settelen. Despite the cost of buying the intimate footage, the BBC has now shelved the project. Had it shown the tapes, it risked being condemned for bad taste. The tapes have been broadcast only once – four years ago on American television network NBC. Its decision to purchase them was universally condemned. Critics said the programme was a ‘ghoulish striptease’ and that those involved were no better than ‘grave robbers’. The tapes were compiled by Mr Settelen, an American actor now based in Britain, over several sessions with the Princess in 1992 and 1993. Diana, shy by nature, employed him to help her practise public speaking as she became increasingly independent of Prince Charles. At the time, her marriage was in deep crisis and the conversations with Mr Settelen – which were never intended to be made public – inevitably dwelled on her private concerns. She talked frankly about her relationship with the Prince, his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles and her love for her bodyguard, Barry Mannakee, and her suspicions that he had been murdered after he died in a traffic accident. Such was the controversy caused by their screening in America that the tapes were not sold to other broadcasters and have never been seen in Britain. Yet last year the BBC spent more than £30,000 buying an option to broadcast three minutes of the tapes in Diana, In Her Own Words. It has had to pay the money even though the programme has now been scrapped. Additional filming and production work took the cost up to £100,000. The BBC had wanted to show the programme in August 2007 on the tenth anniversary of the Princess’s death. The authentic voice of Diana was to be the key selling point to differentiate it from other films being made by UK broadcasters to mark the occasion. The BBC commissioned freelance producer and director Kevin Sim to oversee the film. Although he was known in the Eighties as a light-entertainment specialist – he devised Through The Keyhole, the hit ITV show for which he still owns the format, along with Loyd Grossman and Sir David Frost – he went on to make highly regarded documentaries. He won a Bafta for a Dispatches programme on the Beslan school massacre, while his examination of Iran, titled Once Upon A Time In Iran, and his film on the Tsunami, Seven Hours On Boxing Day, were both highly praised. A member of the production team for Diana, In Her Own Words said last week: ‘Our documentary kept getting delayed, which meant that events began to overtake us. 'Once the inquest began, we thought it might never be broadcast.’ A source who has seen a rough cut of the programme said: ‘It was well made and well thought-out. Kevin is a brilliant film-maker and, because he’d never done a Royal programme before, he brought a really fresh eye to the project. It’s a great pity that it’s not going to be shown.’ Mr Sim finished filming before the anniversary last August. But the editing was never completed. Last night, the BBC said it had not broadcast the new programme because, in the light of the inquest, it did not ‘add to the story’. A spokesman said: ‘In the course of the project, we gathered a wide range of material for consideration, including an option to broadcast a few minutes from some tapes made by a voice coach. ‘Following the inquest, we decided that the programme did not sufficiently add to the story and brought the project to a close. This in no way reflects on the ability of the programme-making team, who we continue to work with.’ Mr Settelen recorded 16 tapes during his coaching sessions at Kensington Palace. Seven of the so-called ‘dynamite diaries’ were discovered in 2001 when detectives raided the house of Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell. Mr Settelen fought a long legal battle with her estate for control of the tapes, which he then sold to NBC for an undisclosed sum. The whereabouts of the remaining nine tapes are unknown. Last night, a spokesman for Mr Settelen refused to comment.
CIA bugged Princess Di's phone ("her voice may have been picked up while others were targeted"). MSNBC, Dec 11, 2006
DIANA ST MARTIN'S BELLE
THE SPIRIT OF PRINCESS DIANA
Excerpt from latest Diana book ('The Way We Were' by Paul Burrell). ABC News, Oct 2, 2006
Reader says Diana manipulated the press and lost princess status when she divorced the prince
Diana touches hearts, 9 years on ("there needs to be a statue or something for 'England's Rose, Queen of Hearts'"). CNN, Aug 31, 2006
Charles doesn't regret admitting adultery (says world is run by some very nasty, powerful people). Telegraph, Sep 3, 2005
The Prince of Wales had no regrets over the controversial documentary in which he publicly admitted adultery with Camilla Parker Bowles. He "enjoyed" Jonathan Dimbleby's programme and thought it was "beautifully done and tastefully executed"...On July, 1994 - two weeks after "Charles: the Private Man, the Public Role" was shown he sent a handwritten note to Dimbleby, the broadcaster, saying: "I thought I would be mortally embarassed but I wasn't!"...The Prince, who married the Duchess of Cornwall in April, warned Dimbleby in his letter that he would face opposition over his documentary. He wrote: "you were very brave to take this project on. I dread to think what it will do to you; the kind of things horrible people will say; the fact that people who seem to have become 'enemies' of mine may now become enemies of yours - all those complicated, 'heavy' things which indicate that on the whole, the world is run by some very nasty, powerful people."...The tone of the letter contrasts with the reaction to the programme from Diana, who was incensed and became determined to exact her revenge on Prince Charles and his then mistress, now the Duchess of Cornwall. On the night that documentary was aired, the Princess attended a dinner and wore a stunning, low-cut dress. The Prince's admission of adultery was widely regarded by royal observers to have been an error after the Princess retaliated in 1995 by giving a BBC interview to Martin Bashir in which she said it had been "crowded" with three people in her marriage.
Diana's death marked 8 years on BBC, Aug 31, 2005 & Princess Diana dies in Paris crash, August 31, 1997
DIANA BETRAYED BY SO MANY
Prayers mark Diana's anniversary (William & Harry remembering their mother). BBC, Aug 31, 2004
Diana's Memorial Fountain floods (blocked up day after opening). Scotsman, Jul 7, 2004
Queen unveils Diana Fountain ('she had shrewd ability to size up all those she met' & 'memories mellow with passing of years' & 'challenge was to capture her spirit'). BBC, Jul 6, 2004
*** Diana memorial fountain to go ahead (is to be built in London's Hyde Park - not far from her former home at Kensington Palace), BBC, June 29, 2001
** The official schedule for Princess Diana's funeral, CNN, Sep 4, 1997
* USA TV airs Princess Diana tapes (the first of a series being aired on NBC). BBC, Mar 5, 2004
DIANA: THE SECRET TAPES, Daily Mirror, Mar 6, 2004 (Tapes Princess Diana made six years before her death were played on American TV. They were a fraction of the seven hours she recorded for Andrew Morton, who used them for his bestseller Diana: My True Story...Her friend Dr James Colthurst, who acted as go-between, told NBC Diana was so eager to make the tapes she would snatch the written questions from him rather than let him read them out...)
GOODNIGHT SWEET PRINCESS and PEOPLES' PRINCESS & PRINCESS'S PEOPLE
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