The Story of Diana: Part Two
By: Paige Zinaman
Part Two of “The Story of Diana” follows the events leading up to Diana’s tragic death that was caused by the outrageous media frenzy that was Diana’s life at that time. In the 90’s the invasion of press reached a whole new level when they covered the marriage between Charles and Diana. This caused Parliament to summon a hearing in 1993 about privacy and the hearing brought forth Kevin Mackenzie the editor of The Sun, the UK’s best-selling tabloid to discuss the lengths they went to in order to cover Princess Diana and the right for the people of Britain to know. Diana made the following statement regarding media, “When I started my public life, I understood the media might be interested in what I did. But I was not aware of how overwhelming that attention would become.” Within the first few minutes the special it shows how the media had lost their minds over Diana and what her marriage was like. It shows how Diana struggles to even leave a parking lot without hordes of cameras surrounding her.
It was 1986 when everyone close to the couple started to realize Charles was in love someone else and that what Charles and Camilla had was real. They knew if they kept their heads down then they would be able to get away with little holidays here and there. But it was the same time Diana was well aware of what was happening between her husband and Camilla, but to the public she seemed like a happily married woman and enjoying her life. When Diana decided to find love outside the marriage it was with Barry Mannakee, who was at that time Diana’s body guard. In 1987, as Charles and Diana were headed to a film festiva, Charles got word that Barry had killed in a motorcycle accident and waited to tell Diana once they were on board the plane. Those close to Diana stated that she just wanted to be loved. Then, Diana met James Hewitt, a cavalry officer in the British Army. He was a man who if she wasn’t married to Charles would have been the one for Diana. Their affair was short lived when James was stationed in Germany. Diana’s friend Lana Marks recalls Diana spent her time with people, but thy weren’t the people she wanted to spend the rest of her life with and that deep down in Diana’s heart it was Charles that she wanted all that with.
In 1989, Diana attended a party for Camilla’s sister’s birthday. It is there that Diana confronts Camilla in person about what has been going on telling her, “Not make a fool of me.” It’s this time that Diana was tired of living a lie and what shift had just happened in the Monarchy as it was now that newspapers picked up on the trouble in Charles and Diana’s marriage when they start paying off butlers and staff at the palace to give them information. Diana became concerned people were tapping her phones at the palace so she started using scramblers just to talk to friends. She knew something was going to happen and come out, but her main concern was for William and Harry and the fear they would be taken away from her as they are the heir and the spare to the throne.
For her story to be told, Diana sought out Andrew Morton. Andrew was writing a biography on Diana to begin with and Diana thought she should help him with it so her side of the story was being told. So, her friend James snuck questions to Diana and she would answer them and he would deliver them back to Andrew to be placed in the book. Before the book’s release Diana became stressed because she was aware of her world about to crumble around her. The first part of the book released in June 1992. When Charles read what it said they knew it would rock the family. The media takes this by storm and it’s not long after the release when news everywhere was reporting about Diana attempting suicide five times, highlighting the fact she had bulimia and affairs; this news shocked Britain to the core. Diana’s Charity partner, Vivienne Parry, said that the news made Diana real to the people of Britain who understood her and what it was like. Diana wrote, “I didn’t think I was good enough for this family, so I took it out on myself…I hurt myself instead of hurting all of you.”
Diana was finally on the path of self-direction, which is what being a feminist is all about. Diana started receiving a lot of letters due to her story and it’s then that she knew she’s touched a lot of people. People who had bought the book said that Diana should be the next Queen because of her values and what she stood for. Very soon phone conversations come out between Diana and her then “lover” James Gilbey saying how Charles makes her life “…real, real torture.” That phone call had been tapped unbeknownst to Diana and James and the conversation made its way into the offices of tabloids. Meanwhile, another conversation between Charles and Camilla was illegally tapped and released, as the future King of England the tapes were making their ways to tabloids in Australia which was not ideal for the royal family. Tabloids chose to release the phone recordings stating it was in the public interest. Kevin Mackenzie once again was questioned about his defensive and aggressive manners and it didn’t help anyone to be on the side of the press. Posting the phone conversations was a breach in professional journalism and went against basic codes of conduct. This would lead to the how it would affect celebrities in general from that moment on. At the end of the day it was Rupert Murdoch vs the Royal Family in a massive battle in a personal belief the family wasn’t needed.The paparazzi became more threatened as the 24-hour news started to become more of a thing, this meant that they went to even greater lengths just to capture what they could of Diana before the news got it. This caused more of a stir when the paparazzi invaded Diana more on holidays. When confronted, one paparazzi said that to get the pictures of Diana made great amount of money and when asked if there is anything they wouldn’t do another one says they would do anything it takes to get the pictures they want. This includes people who were in Diana’s gym who took photos of her while she was working out. What really seemed to hurt Diana was when James Hewitt published a book that exposed everything that happened between himself and Diana. Camera men who followed Diana around everywhere she went started calling out random things to get a reaction from her and the words got very vicious as they started calling out things about Charles and Camilla and their relationship.
“From day one, I knew I would never be the next Queen,” words Diana had said that many had no idea were about to become a reality. Charles and Diana did a tour of South Korea that many believed Queen Elizabeth II forced Diana to go with Charles to try and save their marriage. Videos and photos showed Charles and Diana not being able to look at each other and was very icy. It was also noted that this was their last trip together. Robert Lacey stated that when they realized that this wasn’t going to work, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip (Duke of Edinburgh) sat both Charles and Diana down and had a little therapy session and asked what they could do to help and talk about what’s happening with Charles and Diana. Charles got upset and started yelling about if he said anything it would end up in the papers in the morning, but it was when they looked at Diana and she started crying is what told them everything. On December 9, 1992 Buckingham Palace announced that Prince and Princess of Wales have decided to separate but had no plans to divorce. This news shocked the British citizens seeing as this had never happened before and it showed how important the royal marriage was and that they hoped that the intrusion into their privacy would stop.
When her marriage started falling apart, Diana knew how to use the media to get back at Charles. She played the system and was often ahead of anything the palace sets out. So, with that knowledge Diana, made an appearance on a British news where she snuck the camera into the palace and didn’t tell anyone until the eve of the broadcast where she spoke openly about her marriage and how the family she’s married into probably didn’t want her to become Queen. Diana admitted that there were three of them in their marriage, stating it was a bit crowded, and she admitted to an affair and everything that nobody talk about in the 90’s and even today. After the broadcast aired Buckingham Palace took action and ordered that Prince Charles be divorced from Diana and she would lose her title as “Her Royal Highness” but was allowed to keep the title Lady Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana used everything that happened to turn herself into the “People’s Princess” and reclaim her life in some way.
Once Diana and Charles’ divorce was final she lost all police and body guards that came with being a part of the royal family. The amount of cameras and people that would crowd around her cars were outrageous, cameras got right up close to her face all because they wanted a more realistic photo of Diana. Diana decided to use all the media interest in her and took them to countries that needed a light shined upon matters that needed to be showed. She was at her best and doing what she loved. It showed the world the needs of others and was actually changing things. Diana’s life after marriage was hard because anyone that she was with would be in the spotlight, but it wasn’t until she met Dodi Fayed that she found someone who could offer her the protection and security and privacy that she needed but who also loved the spotlight. When the press outted Diana and Dodi were together to the public thy were in “hot pursuit” because it was such a different relationship. On a whim Diana and Dodi decided to go to Paris to spend the night and it was the night of August 30, 1997 that Dodi had an idea to outsmart the cameras and unfortunately the press was one step ahead and was waiting.
News of Diana’s car accident hit the air waves quickly and it was announced on August 31, 1997 that Diana, Princess of Wales, had passed away. Her death sent shock waves across the world and millions of people showed up outside the gates laying flowers and candles in memory of Diana. Everyone took their anger out on the paparazzi and media as they were the ones chasing after Diana’s car.
September 6, 1997, a day that millions watched, saw Prince William and Prince Harry walking behind the casket of their mother that was being taken to Westminster Abbey where Diana’s funeral was broadcast live around the world. Diana’s legacy lives on in through her sons as they continue the work their mother started years before. Charles went on saying it’s so easy to connect the dots where they are so much like Diana and it would be amazing to see Diana as “Granny Diana” as it would be the role she’d do best. But was Dr. Amanda Foreman that said, “Diana became the author of her own story,” and it’s a story that continues to inspire today.