Diana was “our model of cheerful young motherhood,” according to the press.


Diana was “our model of cheerful young motherhood,” according to the press.

For a woman over the age of 30, all “important” birthdays are a challenge. We often say that age is just a number, and that you are only as old as you think you are. However, the majority of us have a few items in our bathroom cabinets that we hope will keep time at away.

Diana, however, never had her first truly “important” birthday as a woman. The dreadful number 40… or 50. She would have turned 60 on Thursday and was looking forward to getting free medicines and eye exams. But it was all taken away from her when she died at the age of 36, when she was at her most beautiful and memorable. We’ve seen so many photos of her in those final hot August days of 1997, long-legged and sun-kissed, gorgeous, goddess-like, in the last few weeks.

She made a huge impact on the people around her. I never met her, but my husband and I were having lunch in Launceston Place, a Kensington restaurant that was one of her favorites, in the late 1980s. She – the world’s most renowned lady – entered discreetly, dressed in a navy blue suit, to join a friend.

The room was deafeningly quiet.

“She wasn’t astonishingly beautiful,” my husband continued, clearly smitten, “but she was radiant.” She appeared to be lighted from the inside out.”

When Diana initially emerged, I was in my mid-20s, a rather uncomfortable posh teenage girl who was a nursery school teacher, pictured with the sun pouring through that cotton skirt. She wasn’t precisely despised, but she did appear to be simply another stupid Sloane who would make a good royal wife. It’s unlikely to cause a stir. What a mistake we made.

I felt a little envious of her youth, which was perhaps the first time I was concerned about aging. But only in the insignificant sense that one thinks about celebrities and compares their life to your own if they’re more or less current.

On that glorious July day, nearly precisely 40 years ago, I had no intention of watching the wedding. But, of course, I did, as I sat hooked to the television for hours on end.

I suddenly wanted a fancy wedding as well, even though I’d never considered it before. The Emanuel wedding gown’s enticing neckline was exactly what I was looking for.

People expressed their dissatisfaction with the silk’s appearance. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”


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