Diana, Self-Interest, and British National Identity

Synopsis

The public display of grief that accompanied the funeral of the late Princess of Wales drew attention to the many Britons who had found an affinity with Diana. Seeking an explanation for this affinity, Taylor argues that during Diana's brief time in the world spotlight Britain underwent a change in values and a shift in national identity from a system based almost exclusively on household and family values to one more accepting of individual autonomy and self-interest. Accustomed to royalty as symbols of national values and identity, persons of resentment (women, people of color, and homosexuals) found the divorced princess an apt symbol of their transvalued values. These groups declared ignoble the Queen, Prince Charles, and others who had previously been the patterns for nobility in British society, and they held up Diana as one truly noble.