On the morning the death of Diana, Princess of Wales was announced, the front page of this electronic magazine carried the following notice. As the anniversary of her death approaches it seems appropriate to carry the notice again on its own page.


Diana, Princess of Wales

Her fate stirs emotions, yet for most she was just a shooting star that briefly illuminated our history and drew all men's eyes before it disappeared forever.

The majority of her subjects loved her and they all expected much of her. She gave them much, but she did not give them the ruthlessness her situation required. As a substitute she gave them charm, a quality that makes enemies far faster.

She had the optimism of youth; she had also courage and wit, and she won an international reputation for exquisite grace in carriage. Her height of six feet gave her the commanding presence so many of her contemporaries remarked, and on campaign she lived hard, attired as a man.

These words, written a few years ago to describe her ancestor, Mary, Queen of Scots, today remind us all of the wide range of Diana's qualities and accomplishments. We have seen her, too, living hard, attired as a man, on an anti-landmine campaign that required personal physical courage. We have heard her speak with optimism and wit about the solutions available for society's problems. We have learned how her charm has comforted the oppressed. We have witnessed the unforgettable effect she had on all who met her, and noted again and again and again her grace and beauty.

With her aristocratic virtues she held also the common touch. She sought to bring royalty to the people, as her ancestor had done. As the Queen of Hearts she hoped to become, she acquired millions of subjects who loved her with such intensity that the most profound grief has today flowed onto the streets, into the churches, around cancelled football games, carrying mountains of flowers to the gates of the royal palaces and filling airtime as completely and as surely as it will fill all available column inches in the weeks ahead.

As a star she illuminated our dull world briefly with a unique brilliance and is now gone. She deserved longer. Her loved ones deserved her longer. Her subjects deserved her longer.

Tragedies do repeat themselves. Let this one not.


31 August 1997

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