Diana at 50

By Brown, Tina | Newsweek, July 11, 2011 | Go to article overview

Diana at 50


Brown, Tina, Newsweek


Byline: Tina Brown

Chilling with the Middletons. Tweeting from Davos. And still the people's princess. If not for that tragic night, what her life might look like now.

After Diana's death, nine years after the car crash in the Paris tunnel, I attended a ball at Althorp, her ancestral home in the English county of Northamptonshire. The party was hosted, improbably, by Mikhail Gorbachev (with Tatler magazine) to raise money for his late wife's foundation. The crowd partying in the tent that night was Diana's crowd--the London uber-swirl of fashion and society and media. Had she been there, Diana would have lit up the gathering with her radiant blondeness. Sitting next to old Gorby, she would have caused his birthmark to flush deeper as she leaned in to hear him speak of his wife, Raisa, grasping his hand as she fixed her big blue eyes on him.

Diana would have been 50 this month. What would she have been like? Still great-looking: that's a given. Her mother, Frances Shand Kydd, with her cornflower-blue eyes and striding sexuality, was a handsome woman to the very end. Fashionwise, Diana would have gone the J.Crew and Galliano route a la Michelle Obama, always knowing how to mix the casual with the glam. There is no doubt she would have kept her chin taut with strategic Botox shots and her bare arms buff from the gym. Remarriage? At least two, I suspect, on both sides of the Atlantic. Always so professional herself, she would have soon grown exasperated with Dodi Al-Fayed's hopeless unreliability. After the breakup I see her moving to her favorite city, New York, spending a few cocooned years safely married to a super-rich hedge-fund guy who could provide her with what she called "all the toys": the plane, the private island, the security detail. Gliding sleekly into her 40s, her romantic taste would have moved to men of power over boys of play. She'd have tired of the hedge-fund guy and drifted into undercover trysts with someone more exciting--a high-mindedly horny late-night talk-show host, or a globe-trotting French finance wizard destined for the Elysee Palace. I suspect she would have retained a weakness for men in uniform, and a yen for dashing Muslim men. (A two-year fling with a Pakistani general, rumored to have links to the ISI, would have been a particular headache to the Foreign Office and the State Department.) Davos and the Clinton Global Initiative would have become her new post-palace power circles. She would perhaps have caused a press sensation with an unplanned pledge from the CGI stage to raise $50 million to help educate women in South Sudan.

Back in Britain, to visit William and Harry, she would have enjoyed some elegant schadenfreude over the scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.--the one that revealed that for years the British tabloids had been hacking into the phones of celebrities and royals and publishing their illicit skimmings. She would have sued for sure, and collected record-breaking damages (donating to the children's cancer ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children). Is it possible that even Squidgygate, the embarrassingly steamy phone call between Diana and her lover James Gilbey in December 1989, was really one of the earliest examples of press malfeasance? I never believed the bizarre explanation, investigated at length in my book, The Diana Chronicles, that a radio ham named Cyril Reenan had picked up this call and offered it to Murdoch's tabloid The Sun. Was Reenan, who later spoke of "being set up by a sinister conspiracy" and died in 2004, really a cover for a nefarious phone hacker? If so, Diana's obsession about eavesdroppers in the last days of her life--often mocked as paranoia--was simply the sound intuition of a careful student of the folkways of Fleet Street.

Politically, Diana would have been very much at home with David Cameron and all the old Etonians who now run Britain. She would, much earlier, have parted company with Tony Blair, stung by his failure to use her for big peacemaking missions overseas.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Diana at 50
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.