England’s Rose

As we wait with bated breath – LOL, for the upcoming nuptials of Will and Kate, the television is swarming with stories and documentaries about Princess Di and the love that never was.  Journalists are desperate to turn history into a romance novel by edging out the very tiny pieces of a story that was all wrong to begin with, just to make something positive out of a negative on behalf of her son.  The truth is here.

My devotion to Princess Diana began prior to my passion for psychology, though her journey was a part of every bit of my own process toward psychotherapist at large which I am today.  She was only one year, one month and 10 days older than I. We were married about the same time, she a year and a month after mine.  We both had sons, hers two years after mine.  We both got divorced for similar reasons – abuse – though I did not marry a King in waiting, so I got out long before she did.  We also had to abandon our children.  She in death and I in life.  Ironically, the day she died, I was working the late shift at a domestic violence shelter and the women who were there at the time, all from the inner city, had no idea who she was.  As I grew into the woman I am today, I watched her psychological drama play out on-screen and began to piece together what I saw.

Princess  Diana wanted a love story.  She came from a divorced family with step-parents and clung to the hope that one day her own romantic saga would turn out better and different than that of her parents.  This is the dream of most of us who have come from dysfunctional families.  We want better.  We crave the love that we never had from our own parents – that unconscious guilt that the divorce was somehow our fault.  The feeling that we were not loved and one day we will be.

Princess Diana had known prior to the wedding about Camilla Parker-Bowles.  Yet for a woman whose job is now to create an “heir and a spare,” and who has become an international romantic sensation, how could she back out?  This was a compromise but I think it was also a fantasy that we survivors often create in our heads.  “Maybe he will love me after all.”  “Maybe I can make him love me.”  “Maybe he will forget about her.”  Of course there is also the celebrity status that no one could blame a person for.  If she had not made the decision to go on with the wedding, she would not have fulfilled her universal priority in life.  Sometimes you must do what you are meant to do in life, face the consequences, whether you want to or not.  Her destiny was already written in the stars, it was meant to be.  This is a lot of weight to carry on one’s shoulders.

The wedding was beautiful and for a minute, it looked like Princess Diana would have the dream come true.  For a little while Charles played his royal duty and could get a Best Actor role for this.  Many players, such as he, are very good at making someone believe their love toward you.  They don’t even have to say it – they can just while away at wooing you by day and spooning you at night, all for the sake of getting what they want.  Camilla couldn’t give Charles an heir and a spare and she was not even what the court wanted.  She couldn’t even pass the chastity test which is now no longer a concern with dear little Kate – who obviously is not if she has been cohabiting with Will for some time now. 

Once the heir was born, we begin to see the decline in family values amongst the royal couple.  Charles did not put on such a show while in wait of the spare.  The player had what he wanted, he could get on with life as he wished in preparation for what would occur once the spare had taken his first breath and sex was no longer mandatory.

Meanwhile the press went crazy chasing the couple all over the place.  We learned every little detail about their private lives, their entourages, the secrets, the recorded messages, weight gains, weight losses.  Reality television was making its mark and our own president was talking about oral sex.  No longer was our world the place our grandmother’s had created for us.  Values, sacredness, morals, they were fuel for the fire as the public demanded to have more knowledge as they purchased their gossip rags by the dozens.

Princess Diana’s dream come true became the fool’s roast.  How could anyone expect anything different from a woman who was traumatized from beginning to end?  First a childhood home ripped up and shipped out.  Now her own family life more than she could bear. 

Eating disorders were not uncommon during her reign.  This was a growing epidemic amongst white women in middle to upper class families.  Now it has become more common place in families with money, regardless of their race.  It was a time when the media, fashion houses, models, television, movies,  began making us believe women normally wore a size 0.  Naturally her psychological drama would make sense but at that time, it was still a learning curve for us.

Princess  Diana had suicidal urges.  Nothing uncommon for a woman who wished to have the love of her husband.  It is not a mystery now that there were three people in their marriage and when a woman is depressed, trying to control her weight and realizing she is never going to have the love she wants, that which she so passionately craves – desperate measures are in order.

The people on Charles side who have no background in psychology whatsoever but are loyalists to the royal house, blame Princess Diana for her struggles because it makes them feel patriotic.  Whenever a Charles documentary is pushed in our faces, we hear the “other” side of the story which is nothing more than biased PR.  Politically correct royal groupies who have titles to make them feel good at night. 

Charles was a player plain and simple.  He emotionally abused Princess Diana.  He manipulated her into loving him and giving him what he wanted so that he could then dump her and get on with his life with Camilla Parker-Bowles.  After all the controversy around his uncle’s love affair and loss of kingdom.  After the end of the queen’s sisters love affair which wasn’t good enough for their lifestyle, the palace had to do lots of compromising for that would be King.  You do what we want you to do and then you can have what you want. 

When the whole story came out and we heard the various versions going from one end to another, it was hard for me to not have empathy for Princess Diana.  My knowledge of psychology was at the beginning of gaining the graduate degree.  Her death forced a new passion into a fascination with forensic cases.  My knowledge of metaphysics gave way to a renewed interest in cause and effect.  Her life and her death was nothing she could control.  Powerless but determined, she tried so very hard to be a survivor through it all.  Despite her setbacks, at the end she had begun to start a brand new life.  Had she lived, but then it does not matter because that was not meant to be.  Passionate well-loved people often end very tragically.  This is the stuff legends are made of.

Princess Diana was called England’s Rose in a song Elton John re-created for her epilogue.  She was a woman who became very powerful and who inspired so many of us along the way.  Women are now CEO’s, head of life-changing non-profit organizations.  International charities are in abundance and human rights concerns are more common place than they once were.  Women are seen as change agents, leaders, heads of states, not just a beautiful idol.  Princess Diana was not only England’s Rose she was a Woman of the World. 

Her story is very touching and one that no one in my generation will ever forget.  There are two sides to every story yet the victim’s tale deserves more credit than she often gets.  Charles is the first batterer anyone has ever had sympathy for which gives weight to double standards for the wealthy royalty.  Like with OJ Simpson who’s glove did not fit, he may not have been riding on the motorcycles behind the limo, but it is hard to not think he had some role in the scheme of things.

As her son prepares to marry his bride, we look back at where it all began.  Once again, it appears to be a fairytale as we prepare to be glued to the tube.  Princess Diana’s spirit is on center stage as her energy from the rock now sits on her daughter-in-law’s hand.  Lessons have been learned.  Her son shares her image, her smile and he carries on with the mission she gave him.  Be grateful that he took after her and not him.

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