Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Princess

This week, no doubt, a lot of people around the world will remember this lovely lady. I shall be one of them. On the day of her wedding I, like so many others, got up in the middle of the night and sat with my tea and toast to watch the splendor unfold in real time. Newly married myself, the pageantry seemed to me the very essence of fairy tale romance. When I travelled to London for the first time, only six weeks later, the old city still wore the wedding banners and congratulatory signs in its shop windows. In those early halcyon days, no one knew or could have even conceived that her fairy tale was doomed from the beginning. So well I remember that last weekend of August eleven years ago, coming in from a late dinner with friends and standing transfixed in the face of those dreadful words marching cruelly across the television screen announcing to the world, with a horrible, terse finality, that she was gone.
Much has been written and discussed about the feelings expressed during that last painfully sad week, concerning the nature of celebrity, the authenticity of collective mourning, and the stratospheric price of fame. I’ll gladly leave all that to the pundits. No one can dismiss the fact that this was a woman who brought joy into people’s lives, through her spirit, her kindness and yes, her beauty. And as her brother so eloquently stated in his eulogy on that sunny, sorrowful September day, she was taken at her most beautiful. A bright light forever frozen in a shining, bittersweet moment in time.
In her cloudless climes and starry skies, may she rest in peace.