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Diana’s Legacy: A Reshaped Monarchy, a More Emotional UK – New York Times

And so the papers are full of snippets of “news” that have somehow managed to escape public disclosure until now.

A tourist from Ohio emerges from obscurity to claim he was in the tunnel in Paris at the time of the car accident that killed Diana; her boyfriend, Dodi al-Fayed; and their driver, Henri Paul. A Diana-watcher reports that the princess, her identity muted by a voluminous head scarf, regularly visited the grave of the police protection officer whom she loved and who died in what she believed was an “establishment plot,” but was really just a motorcycle accident. Diana’s “energy healer” reveals that she has heard from Diana recently (from beyond the grave) and that, in case you were wondering, the deceased princess is pro-Brexit.

“She was interested in the referendum and suggested I vote to leave because Britain was really great before the E.U.,” the healer, Simone Simmons, told The Daily Star.

Beyond these sorts of details, which help to keep the princess in the public consciousness and to sell tabloid papers, Diana’s influence is perhaps most evident in the evolution of the royal family.

During the days after her death, known now as Diana Week, a nation that had always appreciated the monarchy’s adherence to tradition was suddenly demanding that it tear up the old rules and learn new ones, right on the spot. “Show Us You Care,” The Daily Express said in its emblematic headline, imploring a staid queen, who had never once let down her guard in public, to address the nation and lower all her flags to half-staff, even as every fiber of her deeply conservative being militated against it.

Seriously shocked by what they encountered, the royal family had no choice but to respond.

“The times were changing, and they were not keeping up with the times,” Mr. Freedland said of the royal family. “But the truth is, they did manage to modernize.”.

As an example, Mr. Freedland pointed to the queen’s brief, witty appearance in a film for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, in which she greeted the actor Daniel Craig in his guise as James Bond and then appeared to parachute with him into Olympic Stadium (the first part was real; the parachuting was done by a stuntwoman).

The new generation — namely Diana’s two sons, William and Harry, and William’s wife, Kate — has put a youthful, modern (at least by their standards) spin on what it means to be a royal person in 2017. They exude asexual wholesomeness (in the case of William and Kate) and bad-boy cheekiness (in the case of Harry), and give the appearance of working alongside, not in opposition of, public opinion.

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British tabloids after Diana’s death accused the queen of heartlessness.

Credit
Associated Press

They present as both curiously formal — Harry and William in their tailored suits; Kate in her dress-and-hat combos that make her look 20 years older; the royal children’s nanny in an amusingly old-fashioned uniform — and relatively normal, considering how not-normal their lives are.

Diana was considered disloyal and unhinged, an unguided missile, when she went on the BBC in 1995 to talk about her emotional distress. (“There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”) In a sign of how much things have changed, William and Harry are marking the anniversary by speaking publicly about their mother — with royal approval.

Her death also marked a turning point in the history of Britons’ relationship to their own ids, ushering in an era in which people have new license to express themselves and feelings can weigh more heavily than reason, Mr. Freedland said.

“The reaction to her death is a preview of the Brexit landscape, in which emotion trumps expertise,” he said. “It was a shock to people — we didn’t think it was part of the British mind-set — and now, after Brexit, you can see there was something growing there, a willingness to give two fingers to the experts.” (Instead of using their middle fingers, Britons use what is known as a two-fingered salute.)

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Diana’s Legacy: A Reshaped Monarchy, a More Emotional UK – New York Times

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