Diana, The Torment Of Being A Princess

To be loved by millions, but to be shirked by the one you seek is a torment that can destroy anyone’s inner peace.

That, in a nutshell, is the story of Diana, a much loved Princess, but ignored by the one she desired.

Her life story, always fresh in our collective memory, assumes greater significance this year as it marks the 21st anniversary of her untimely death in a car crash in a Paris on 31 August.

A much spoken about book on her has been claiming to be a know-it-all for decades now, but not much of it has been understood by all.

First published in 1992, author and journalist Andrew Norton’s Diana: Her True Story, was republished months after her death in 1997 featuring transcripts of secret interviews with Diana — shaking the British monarchy with its raw and unfiltered content.

This year, the book has been re-released as the ‘Fully Revised 25th Anniversary Edition’ with a new foreword where Norton revisits the tapes to reveal “startling new insights into her life and mind”.

Of Eating Disorders and Self Harm

Morton’s June 1992 book about Diana revealed the depth of her despair: her struggle with a serious eating disorder, attempts at self-harm, and what he calls the “deep unhappiness” of her union with Charles that had a third person in the marriage with Camillia Parker Bowles, which ended in a bitter divorce in 1996. The 1997 edition saw Morton officially outing Diana as his principal source and reprinting the book using the transcripts of Diana’s interviews.

Here’s what the author has to say about the book.

The revelations are still causing damage (to the British monarchy) 20 years after her death…. The anniversary has already opened old wounds for Camilla, people are being reminded of the fact that she was instrumental in ending this marriage that was described as a fairy tale.

Andrew Morton, Author, Diana: Her True Story – In Her Own Words to AFP

Morton’s books have gone on to sell millions of copies worldwide, been translated into 29 languages and sold in 80 countries. His first book was widely dismissed as some made-up hogwash, but it was his second book, that contained edited transcripts of the princess’ taped responses (six 90-minute cassettes, not all filled) to Morton’s written questions that caused a huge flutter and exposed the rigidness of the British monarchy, while portraying Diana as a princess trapped in what the world had deemed to be a fairytale existence.

But some are saying that the 25th anniversary edition of the book has little new to offer in terms of material.

Apart from some new passages about Diana’s mother “driving her mad” at the time of her wedding with her anxieties, there’s also some fresh insight into her childhood — about how Diana once saw her father hitting her mother as a child, as reported by Daily Mail.

But the rest is much the same, says the report.

Most of the rest is a rehash, a rehash of a rehash, or a rehash of a rehash of a rehash. Yet, in a strange way, the tale of Charles and Diana grows all the more startling, all the more gothic, with each new repetition. – Daily Mail

The updated book has a slightly different headline, with “in her own words’’ added to the cover to make Diana’s involvement in the story clear. – The Courier Mail

But first time readers of the book consider it money well spent.

As for the book itself, the foreword is pretty lengthy with some intimacy, yet very prominent formality. Not my favorite writing style, but I’m glad it’s just in the foreword. Before purchasing this edition, I tried to find a comparison of all previous editions to see what was specifically added, but never could find solid info. This edition is broken into three parts: edited transcripts of Diana’s interviews that are in the original publication, a biography, and all aftermath to date since the original 1992 publication. In all, there are 13 chapters, the last being titled “The People’s Princess.” Hopefully this will help someone else considering this as a first read (like myself) or an updated edition. – An Amazon reviewer

The Diana-Charles Tug Of War

Theirs was perhaps a common story of infidelity and broken vows, but played out on an uncommonly public stage. Each used TV interviews and books by favored authors as megaphones in their bids for public sympathy.

It was supposed to be so different. Charles was heir to the throne, and Diana’s entry into the royal family meant she was likely to become queen one day.

“Nevertheless, Diana’s essential legacy are her children and the fact is that they are known more as her children than as Charles’, in the sense that the charity work they are doing resonates with what she was doing — difficult issues like mental health, just like she took on AIDS,” Andrew Morton says. “So she has a living legacy.”

But Morton concedes that the narrative of Diana’s life and death was hijacked by many for their own personal gains. In an interview to PBS, he says that he has been attacked “most vociferously” by people in the media, who ironically have made the most money out of her death.

And yet, despite all claims of a tell-it-all, the book is lopsided with no mention of Charles’ side of the story and little mention of Diana’s own set of torrid affairs. “I have always said Diana: Her True Story is not a balanced portrait’’, says Morton.

(With inputs from AP)

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