Princess Diana, the “people’s princess,” was often described as the World’s Most Photographed Woman. So it shouldn’t have been too shocking when the paparazzi chased her driver head-on into a concrete pillar in a Paris underpass on August 31, 1997.
In the decade since, a media ecosystem has grown fat off of books and movies detailing Diana’s life and death. The juicy bits include her hellish marriage to Prince Charles, his and her infidelity before their 1996 divorce (she liked men who could handle horses), her suicide attempts and bulimia, her good works and warm personality, and conspiracy theories relating to her death.
One theory suggests Britain’s secret service knocked off Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed (the heir to Harrod’s department store) because Muslim offspring would be an affront to the Crown. But a $16 million investigation concluded earlier this year that the blame fell mostly on Diana’s driver (who had sucked down the equivalent to four shots of whiskey before taking the wheel) and partially on the paparazzi. Even Diana herself was somewhat at fault — she failed to buckle up.
Not only have we lost a great humanitarian, but also the woman Tina Brown (author of The Diana Chronicles) refers to as the “last great golden icon.” “Celebrity these days is completely for sale; it’s not remotely mysterious,” explained Brown in a recent interview. “But there’s something that remains glamorous and mysterious about royalty.” Guess the gossip mill will just have to focus on things like Kim Kardashian’s Ass.