Recently I saw the British film 'The Queen'. It was well-acted, an accurate portrayal, perhaps, of the Royal Family, but I was left wondering how happy the Queen would be with the subject matter of the film. I am guessing that she would prefer it if other movies about her are made at some stage, and that the only cinematic representation of her life did not revolve around her relationship with a dead bimbo.
While she was alive I more or less held Princess Diana in contempt, and her sudden death did little to change my opinion. To me, she had always been a symbol of undeserved wealth and fame, a triumph of both the vacuous cult of celebrity and the hereditary cult of royal privilege. I mistakenly thought that other people shared my view, and I have a vivid memory of walking into my class of Vietnamese and Lebanese migrants and raising my arms in trimph as I announced 'The Stupid Cow is dead!' The students' reactions made it clear that I had completely misjudged people's reactions- I get the feeling the Queen made the same mistake.
It is still very difficult for me to rationalise public respect for Diana, let alone adoration.
Notoriously thick from an early age, she failed her O-levels twice. Born not so much with a silver spoon in her mouth so much as a whole goddamn cutlery set, she auctioned off her virginity, Jane Austen-style, to the highest bidder, and was lucky enough to score the jackpot, Prince Charles himself, a man with whom she had almost nothing in common. She allowed herself to be portrayed as a victim in this marriage, the young and foolish girl married off to a man with a lover on the side and in-laws from hell. But if she had any real reservations, walking into a life of world-wide fame and perpetual wealth and glamour, she didn't voice them. She deserves no pity regard ing her marriage; it didn't look to me as if she was being dragged down the aisle.
If she was hard done by in the sense that her husband was seeing Camilla, she soon got her revenge by sleeping with every man in England except Lord Nelson at Trafalgar Square. The list of men identified as her lovers include Barry Mannakee, David Waterhouse, James Gilbey, Oliver Hoare, Dr Hasnet Khan, Bryan Adams, Will Carling and Dodi Fayed. Apparently they buried her in a Y-shaped coffin.
Despite all this and her divorce (or perhaps because of), she was unfailingly popular with the public. Apparently much of her reputation rests with her charity work, a very curious phenomenon indeed. In 1987 she was photographed- shock of shocks and horror of horrors-
holding hand with an AIDS patient,
which some people at the time seemed to think rather honourable or admirable. Her motives were so obviously selfless that future secret and unannounced visits to AIDS hospices invariably were widely covered in the media. Meanwhile her work for the banning of landmines was similarly self-serving and manipulative. There were pictures of her touring a minefield wearing a flak jacket and helmet, long after, of course, the mine had actually been cleared by professional mine-clearers. Even the most fervent supporter of Diana admits that she had almost zero influence in the campaign against the use of landmines until after her death! At which time, supposedly, Britain and several other countries signed a treaty banning landmines. Those who trumpet this fact usually forget to note that the largest users and producers of landmines (the USA, China, Pakistan, North Korea etc) have failed completely to ratify the treaty.
In the last few years of her life however, Diana devoted herself wholeheartedly to those activities for which she had a natural talent: bad mouthing her ex-husband on TV, being glamorous, and sucking cocks on multi-million dollar yachts. Her senseless death was nothing more than the natural conclusion, the culmination of a wasted, senseless life.
I find it incredible that a thinking person could view her death as a tragedy. The silly cow was cavorting with her playboy billionnaire boyfriend in the back seat of a sportscar, swilling champers, seatbeltless and unthinking, while the driver, pissed as a newt and tripping off his dial, careless of speed limits and disdainful of safe driving, steered into a pylon and did all of us a favour.
In this context it is painfully obvious that public response to her death was not a response to Diana the person, the dull silly bimbo, or even to her life, a misled and gruesome joke. Something else is happening here. Something weird and perhaps inexplicable.
It has always been clear to me that any thinking person, anybody truly concerned with the betterment of the humanity's lot, could not support the existence of the royal family. How could they exist? What sad, parasitic culmination of the mindless and useless class system could this be? The ultimate pinnacle of hereditary privilege, responsible for countless and justified revolutions in hundreds of political systems in global history.
The royal family is both protection for and culmination of the iniquitous and pernicious class system which, to this day, permeates Bristish, and, to a lesser extent, all Anglo-Saxon society like a cancer. Take away the royals, and the whole sorry system will collapse. No more public schools, hereditary privilege, snobby accents, kinky repressed Tory MPs whipping each others' botties with bit of wet lettuce. All that will slowly decay if you take away the royals, which is of course what should be done. The French had it right after all: Off With Their Heads, the whole sorry bloody lot of them.
The absurdity and abhorrence of the royal family is understood, if only unconsciously, by every British person. The working classes feel it the most, because they are the largest victims of the class sytem; and in a seeming paradox, it was the lesser-educated, the unthinking, the shallow, who loved Diana the most and reacted with such inane panic at her death.
The conclusion is obvious. Diana's sacrificial death represents, at some deeper level, not only the sacrifice that the royal family makes in being royal (and do you think Prince William is due for a happy life?), but the sacrifice the public makes in supporting this parasitic atavistic snobbery in the first place. Those who wept for Diana wept for themselves, she was the sacrificial lamb for the absurdities inherent in the monarchical system. The tears were selfish tears. They wept for themselves, for the poor, pitiful, deluded and exploited fools that they must know, on some level, that they are.
Diana's failure is our own. Her failure is the failure of those who loved her most. Her weakness was theirs. The poorer, the more blighted, the more atavistic, the shallower, the more banal you are, the more likely you were to identify with and join the demented millions who wept at her funeral.
She also falls into that large category of 'more successful in death than in life' celebrities. She is the Jimmy Hendrix, the Kurt Kobain of the royal family. Her death provides infinitely more significance and satisfaction to history than her life. It has made her glorious and has given her purity and abilities she never had in life.