The life and sudden death of the "Queen of Hearts"
is one of the most interesting psychological and social events
of the turbulent century which has followed Nietzsche's
dramatic announcement of the death of God.
Diana was not the first human being to be deified to fill the vacuum,
others have preceded her.
With no hereditary monarch and no established church, dictators have
created their own propaganda and raised themselves into god-like beings.
The first in modern times was probably Napoleon, at least for the French
people, who were the first to reject Church and Crown. Hitler had a similar
hold on the hearts of the German people and Stalin was adored by the
Russians. None of these men had the same effect on people living outside
the borders formed by a common language.
Unlike the dictators some individuals reach this status of idols through
sheer personal popularity with the masses, and of course with the
collaboration of the democratic mass media. Eva Peron, the Duke of Windsor
(almost), Winston Churchill, John Kennedy and Princess Diana were unusual
combinations of both political eminence and personal charisma. Even in the
past, with just a limited number of newspapers and broadsheets, this
phenomenon has taken place, as the public adoration of Admiral Nelson
It was not until the invention of electronic means of communication that
images carried through film and television could reach people all over the
world. The divination of Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Elvis Presley is
not just an American phenomenon. Each of these individuals incarnated
certain character traits which made them suitable for mass idealisation and
The one thing they all had in common was a powerful appearance of
sincerity. Their hearts were on their sleeves. Their self-destructive
personal lives showed that they were not calculating but "playing it by
ear" or, as Diana put it, "leading from the heart". This made their
behaviour unpredictable and hence "magical".
For over two hundred years the Enlightenment and secular humanism, with
their emphasis on individualism and independence, have been blind to the fact
that human beings, like other intelligent animals, have hearts as well as
heads. As Pascal pointed out, and was quoted by the Duchess of Windsor,
"the heart has its reasons, which reason knows not".
Not only do our hearts lead us into unreasonable relationships but they
lead us into worshipping or hating others with a most unreasonable passion.
It makes no difference if the ones we love are cruel, or selfish or
stupid, the spell-bound lover is blind to any failings, just as the
spell-bound hater is blind to any good qualities.
Diana, like Eva Peron, was unpredictable and paradoxical in so many
ways. For hundreds of millions of people, whatever she did, no matter how
heartless, vindictive or stupid she was perfect. She was never blamed when
she did bad things, yet when she did good things she got all the credit.
Her love of expensive clothes, her vast wealth, her affairs, her
membership of the heartless, vulgar and moronic international set (like the
Windsors) and her final love affair and proposed marriage into the
notoriously corrupt al Fayeed (Moslem) family, made absolutely no difference
to her image. She will always be the beautiful misunderstood princess
ruined by a heartless husband, as far as those in her spell are concerned.
I would like to put a word in here for true love and not magical glamour.
(Glamour, according to the ancients, was a spell cast by witches.) Could there
be a better example of true love than Prince Charles' twenty-five years of
passion for the quiet, unglamorous Camilla?
I blame Charles for not putting up more of a fight against the pressure
from his father, trendy palace advisors and the mass media, and refusing to
marry so unsuitably, and of course for giving that stupid interview (you
don't compete with superstars on their own turf).
Diana was a victim of family breakdown and could not be expected to be
as stable and responsible as a future queen should be. Charles knew his
heart was already engaged elsewhere. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
and Charles has been through more hell than anyone can be expected to
stand. The fact that he can still carry out his duties and keep smiling is
tribute to his inner strength.
In a marriage bust-up both partners are likely to suffer. Let us not
forget in our empathy with the sufferings of our idols that our monsters
also have hearts.
In conclusion I feel we are unlikely ever again to experience such a mass
grieving as there is today over the sudden death of the Queen of Hearts.
Especially since she had incredible empathy with grief herself and an
amazing ability to draw love from so many people.
Will we ever see such a powerful combination of unusual characteristics
again? She came from an aristocratic family, yet had an unerring sense of
fashion. She was hounded by reporters yet had them jumping through hoops
for her when it suited her. She was part of the playboy set, yet took an
active role in relieving suffering. She had affairs with appalling men yet was a good
mother of the future king. She met her end at the height of her popularity
in a car crash that was inexplicably stupid. Most important of all, she had a
will of iron, yet looked like a fragile and easily wounded little girl.
Other examples of post-modern wizardry can be found on the
Wizard's Home Page.