Friday, 29 January 2016 14:38

Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, differences are black and white

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kate diDo you mind spending $10.00 for a magazine?

That’s with tax, but still– ten smackeroos?

I personally think that is rather a lot of money for something other than “Hello!” or the European equivalent, “Hola!” I mean, I can buy two and a half issues of Globe or the Enquirer, and theyhave much better pics of Princess Diana than the black-and-white cover Tatler’s got.

Yes, Tatler– the English glossy gabfest that gives us all the London gossip, the latest news on what the new twenty-something Eurotrash are up to (buying things, of course, when they are not falling into comas from heroin and cocaine overdoses taken while frolicking with a 54-year-old

transsexual hooker named Patrizia—really!

You can’t make this stuff up!

Just spend $10.00, and you can check it out yourself.


And just to entice us older folks, the Eurotrash enchant us by putting photos of their grandma and grandpa sailing on Cape Cod with a very handsome and beguiling U.S. President John F. Kennedy, with long-suffering wife, Jackie, in a pink head scarf by his side. I felt much better

about spending $10.00 on a British magazine once I saw the photo of the last “he-man” prez America ever had (not counting Reagan when he was astride his trusty steed, hacking around his ranch).

And George W. Bush on his glorified bicycle?

Let’s not even go there.

Anyway, the photo of JFK and Jackie is on page 99. In 1962, when it was taken, President Kennedy had just two years left to live.

Which brings us to page 72, where we are greeted by an old “contact sheet” of black-and-white photos of the late Princess Diana– a woman whose flawless skin and deep blue eyes cried out to be photographed in color. But, for Tatler, black and white it is. I think they do this to remind us that she is still dead, until, on page 75, Tatler assaults our senses with a garish color pic that makes her look like an over-made-up middle-aged matron math teacher in a toothpaste add. Or maybe it’s an add for invis-aline or some tooth straightening thingy, but whatever it is, it is a frightening picture for sure.

Less glamorous photos of anything have seldom been taken before, let alone of Princess Diana, the most beautiful and enticing woman of the 1980s and 1990s.

It makes me want to ask for my $10.00 back! But hey, I had to buy it at Barnes & Noble, and they know me there. And I spilled a teensy bit of cappuccino on it, but that is only because I gagged when I read, on page 76, that, had she lived, Princess Diana would have dumped Dodi Al Fayed, moved to New York City into a “vast apartment on the Upper East Side,” and toured India on the day that Charles and Camilla got married. Really! First, it’s sooooooooo unlikely that Diana would have dumped Dodi, who worshiped her, would buy her anything, and would have used his family’s vast wealth (which is the only kind of “vast” anything to have) to keep her in helicopters and Jet Streams. You may not think that “Tell Me Yes” ring was good enough or big

enough or classy enough for Princess Diana to have told Dodi “yes,” but there’s little doubt that their liaison was headed towards marriage, another child or two, and the great sport of setting up an alternative, competitive “Court” to put Prince Charles and all the British royals in the shade.

And that ring was just the start. Diana could have had any ring she wanted. My own mother changed her original wedding solitaire out for a much larger, glittery ring once she’d had three children, my father got stabilized in his office, and then hired a receptionist who looked a lot like Princess Diana– right down to that bleached blonde hair with the big black roots that Tatler likes so much that it put this picture on its cover. I have friends who joke that their wives are constantly changing their wedding bands to something bigger, more golden, more diamondy. But this change of ring did not make their marriages any less real.

Diana would have wanted a real ring and a real marriage with Dodi. He was the man of the hour, an ever-ready hero-in-waiting at a time when time and available men were passing the Princess fretfully by. The one thing that Princess Diana said was that she wanted more children, and, at thirty-six, her biological clock was relentlessly running, tick-tock, tick-tock. She’d already been through the mill with many men who could not remotely afford to maintain her– James Hewitt, Oliver Hoare, and “Dr.-Dishy Hasnat “Natty” Khan– and who resisted marrying her. Dodi was the first who could not only fully afford her and her crazy tag-along butler, Paul Burrell, but who would also be able to talk and talk and talk with her for hours on end– the one thing she needed to feel safe in the world.

The dream of “a vast apartment on the Upper East Side” is much more the dream of a Tatler writer than that of the most photographed woman in the world, who would have had a bevy of enormous private yachts waiting for her in the Mediterranean when she was not sunning herself in the Al Fayeds’ San Tropez beach villa, or Julie Andrews’ Hollywood mansion, or in any of the many gorgeous apartments the Al Fayeds had all over the world.

Dodi worshiped her, and Diana needed worshiping, despite what she told her “friends” about needing a new husband like a bad rash, blah blah blah. Sometimes, a girl in love just gets a rash! There are creams and ointments and allergy shots for that! 

If Diana wanted more children, she would have run to Dodi, who was willing, ready, and could afford the ticket for this life journey. Plus, he had the heart required. With Dodi, Diana’s drama of childhood abandonment could have come to an end. He would have done therapy with her, he would have talked to the astrologers. Dodi would have done whatever needed doing for Diana.

As for Tatler’s even crazier suggestion that Diana would have “slipped out of town discreetly” while Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles got married, well, honestly, if Diana had not died, chances are as vast as an Upper East Side apartment that Prince Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles could not have married at all– at least, not if Charles wanted to become king, which involves being the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, which does not countenance remarriage of divorced persons whose divorced spouses are still alive.

And therein lies the rub.... But Tatler doesn’t dare go there.  Instead, it goes into whether Diana “would have been fond of Kate.”

And once again, Tatler fails the reality test.

The one thing for sure we know would not have happened was the Middletons’ finagling of their daughter, Kate, into the Royal fold. Had Diana lived, there would never have been a marriage between “Catherine” and Prince William, and it is highly unlikely in the first place that William would have been piped off to Scotland to St. Andrews College, where he fell into Kate and Carole’s well-manicured clutches. Diana always had her eyes on Oxford University, or at least Cambridge, for her eldest son, and she would have placed no little pressure on him and the Oxford dons for that. While it’s true that Diana often yammered that she wanted William and Harry to live ordinary lives, it was nothing that she really meant.

What she meant when she said that was she wanted her sons to be more like her, and less like Charles and his parents and his sister and his cousins who are reckoned up by dozens and his aunts.  Even if Diana had made a stab at being “normal,” once the “ordinary life” involved in living in “a vast apartment on the Upper East Side” with a nosy doorman and nosy neighbors and Chinese takeaways was pressing Diana in the face, she would have woken up with a start, and orchestrated a very different life for herself and romance for her eldest son who, to his credit, did try, valiantly at one point, to wriggle free from Carole Middleton’s matronly clutches.

More beach, less Balmoral.

And one cannot imagine Princess Diana tolerating Kate’s “Uncle Gary” Goldsmith’s antics for a moment. Cutting up piles of cocaine in the kitchen, with an enormous gut pressing up against the table while “Uncle” goes “chop, chop, chop?” All that talk about being able to send hookers anywhere in the world? And all of it on film, forever?

Kate and William’s “romance,” if any there would have been had Diana lived, would have surely ended swiftly, and in tears, at least for Carole.  But as it was, Carole and her brood found the chink in William’s armor, widened it into a chasm, and in efforts that spanned more than a decade of relentless scheming, found a way in.

Now, Uncle James is trying to convince the world that he is a businessman who makes his fortune by ink-stained marshmallows; Auntie Pippa, a mocked writer, is now trying to get the world’s attention by becoming a celebrity athlete; and there are two small children, one with a mop of bright dyed blonde hair and eyes the color of brown earth, and the other, a little girl, who has been so continuously photoshopped from birth that we aren’t sure in what direction her legs are growing. We are “treated” to teensy little tidbits of photos taken by Grandpa Mike Middleton and others– two at a time– taken by some airy, seldom-seen entity who says she’s the “Duchess of Cambridge,” and we wonder whether she’s got a bank account somewhere into which the proceeds for these very occasional photos are placed.

It’s Kate Middleton’s perennial scowl that makes us realize what we miss most, now that Diana is gone. It is Kate herself and the Middletons who relentlessly tag along that makes the House of Windsor all seem a lot less royal than it was when Diana was ruling the roost.

One wonders whether Diana would have just stood by at this last Wimbledon while Carole glugged down white wine from a plastic bottle hidden in a brown paper bag, while photojournalists (hardly paparazzi, honestly) snapped away. Admittedly, it’s nothing as bad as overdosing on heroin and cocaine in the apartment of a transsexual hooker named Patrizia, like the Eurotrash do. But Carole glugging down that wine and then following with a bag of greasy chips is just tawdry.

It brings home just what we lost when Diana died.

Anyway, this month, Princess Diana, the dead Kennedys and Eurotrash galore are all in Tatler Magazine for $10.00. It’s a shame they chose the photos that make the late Princess Diana look like my father’s sexy receptionist in his medical practice, who lasted about a week until my mother, flashing her newer, bigger diamond ring, came in one day and gave her the old heave-ho (back in the days when one could just toss a lady’s handbag into the hallway, followed by the lady, without a corresponding EEOC complaint being filed).

But Tatler, with its tawdry, even pitiful imaginings about the late Princess, makes one seriously think about the glory of what might have been, had the ambulance in Paris only taken the lovely,irreplaceable Diana to the hospital on time.

Last modified on Friday, 29 January 2016 15:10
Sarah Whalen

sarahw2Sarah Whalen is a university journalism instructor, attorney and author.

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