Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when Princess Diana died?
Where were you and what were you doing 25 years ago today, that horrific day in 1997 when Princess Diana died in a car crash in Paris at the age of 36.
It was the day that took our collective breath away. The People’s Princess was dead, leaving behind two young sons, William and Harry.
Although she is not here physically, it appears she is close in her sons’ thoughts: In April, Prince Harry told Today’s Hoda Kotb “I feel her presence in almost everything that I do now. But definitely more so in the last two years than ever before. Without question. So, she’s watching over us.”
In 1997, The Daily Express reports, Diana was “taking back her life,” a sentiment echoed by her younger brother, Earl Spencer—he said his sister was “looking for a new direction in her life” at the time of her death. Diana had spoken “endlessly” about leaving the U.K., he said, “mainly because of the treatment that she received at the hands of the newspapers.”
“I don’t think she ever understood why her genuinely good intentions were sneered at by the media, why there appeared to be a permanent quest on their behalf to bring her down,” he said. “It is baffling.”
After becoming the most famous woman in the world upon her marriage to Prince Charles in 1981, by 1992 the couple had separated, not long after the release of Andrew Morton’s bombshell Diana: Her True Story, then categorized as a biography, but later revealed to have had ample assistance from the princess herself.
In March this year the huge global response to Oprah Winfrey’s “bombshell” interview with Prince Harry and his wife Meghan saw Morton’s book surge back onto bestseller lists, including making it into Amazon’s Top 10.
An icon in life and a legend in death, Diana continues to garner attention and fascinate the masses. Diana remains one of the most talked and written about people in the world. An entire industry worth hundreds of millions of dollars has ballooned around her legacy.
In May 2021, according to Google, there were more than 66,100,000 articles referencing her, roughly three times the number generated by the late Princess’ living contemporaries such as Madonna.
“Her fans are now in their 50s through to their 80s and this group of women are our biggest consumers of traditional media,” Woman’s Day and New Idea group publisher and longtime women’s magazine editor Fiona Connolly told the Sydney Morning Herald.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “As Diana devotees get older, she has stayed fixed in time – a young, innocent and utterly beautiful woman who was treated terribly by everybody around her. The fascination with her and tragedy of her life only grows the more dysfunctional the royal family becomes.”
Since Diana’s death a multimillion-dollar memorabilia industry has continued to grow. In the late 1990s this comprised CDs, books, videos, stamps, coins, ornamental “English roses” and knick-knacks bearing her image.
Elton John’s tribute song, a reworked version of his Candle in the Wind, amassed local sales of 400,000 copies within a week of its release — unheard of in today’s market — with back orders topping 350,000. Worldwide sales reached 15 million.
Princess Diana was gone much too soon. We hope she is resting in peace.
- Diana: Shutterstock