Had things turned out differently, it would have been the 39th wedding anniversary of Charles and Diana today. Google her name, and Diana is still providing news stories almost twenty-three years after her death.
The Net still abounds with stories that her death was the result of a conspiracy. Motivations advanced for such a conspiracy include suggestions that Diana intended to marry Dodi Al-Fayed, that she intended to convert to Islam, that she was pregnant, and that she was to visit the holy land. Organizations which conspiracy theorists suggest are responsible for her death have included French Intelligence, the British Royal Family, the press, the British Intelligence services MI5 or MI6, the CIA, Mossad, the Freemasons, or the IRA. It has been suggested that the intent of some of the co-conspirators was not to cause death. Alternatively, Diana and Dodi Al-Fayed are believed to be alive and living incognito.
Sir Bernard Ingham once said of conspiracies, “Many journalists have fallen for the conspiracy theory of government. I do assure you that they would produce more accurate work if they adhered to the cock-up theory.” Some of the theories surrounding Diana are similar in credibility to those suggesting Elvis is alive and well, others are just a sad reflection of the lack of confidence in public institutions. Ingham’s advice would be that the accident in Paris on that Saturday night owed much more to human frailty than to human design.
Historically, the treatment of Diana and the public reaction at her funeral seems to have marked a sea change in attitudes towards the traditional British monarchy. Perhaps it was the case that the British people were always going to move on from the deference once paid to aristocracy, but the behaviour of the Duke of York and the continuing controversies attached to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have created a steady stream of negative reactions to the Royal family.
If the monarchy is to survive beyond the present monarch, who remains an outstanding world leader who still commands the confidence and love of her people, it seems that it will need to jump a generation and pass to Diana’s son, Prince William. Listening to him talking about the things of everyday life, even about his support for Aston Villa, he seems to have a genuine ability to create a feeling of the trust and confidence, to understand what it is like to be an ordinary person