Prince Charles & the Queen will not mark the 25th anniversary of Diana’s death

August 31 will mark the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death in Paris. In years past, Diana’s sons have marked the day in different ways, and I suspect that Prince Harry will likely send flowers to Althorp (where his mother is buried) and do some charitable work in her memory on the day. William will likely mark the day in some way, probably privately. But what of Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth? They always make themselves scarce around the anniversary of Diana’s passing. In fact, Charles has leaked stuff before about how “hurt” he was that Harry and William did a joint interview to mark the 20th anniversary. Well, the Daily Beast has a story about how the Windsors have zero plans to mark the 25th anniversary. Diana, it seems, is still a sore spot for these people.

She is one of the most famous women who has ever lived. She is also a woman who changed how the British royals were understood around the world. Incredibly, however, the royal family has no plans to formally commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana on Wednesday next week—illustrating, some would say, just how threatened they still are by her, even in death.

While her sons are widely expected to issue, at a minimum, online tributes, Prince Charles, who conducted an affair with his second wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, both before and throughout much of his marriage to Diana, which Diana publicly blamed for the collapse of their relationship, is likely to maintain radio silence.

“Charles can’t win,” an old friend told the Daily Beast. “Not saying anything makes him look unfeeling, but if he did say anything he would be accused of being a hypocrite. He’ll do what he always does and lie low.”

Charles’ office declined to comment in response to a question about whether or how the prince would be marking the day. However he has never before made a public statement on any anniversary of her death, and it seems unlikely he will change course now.

For Queen Elizabeth, paying tribute to Diana should be less controversial. After all, Diana is the mother of her grandchildren, one of whom, William, will one day take over the queen’s role as monarch. Had Diana lived, she would have continued to have an important constitutional and ceremonial role by virtue of that simple fact. However, a palace source told The Daily Beast it was “unlikely” there would be any commemoration of Diana’s death by the queen.

Jon Conway, the author of the controversial play Truth, Lies and Diana, which dramatized the inquest into Diana’s death, told The Daily Beast: “The reason there will be nothing said or done to mark the anniversary of her death is the same reason that there is almost nothing in London to mark her life. As a character says in my play, they want her ‘airbrushed out of history.’ It’s quite surreal when you consider she is one of the three most significant royal figures of the last 200 years: you have Queen Victoria, you have Elizabeth II and you have Diana. The establishment simply do not want any more focus on Diana.”

Conway believes that for the institution of royalty, not acknowledging Diana’s death is a strategic as well as moral error. “This is a woman who did untold good in her life, and whatever difficulties she caused for the family it is unthinkable to not commemorate her. I am a supporter of Charles and Camilla, theirs is a remarkable love story, but their behavior around Diana inflicted a lot of pain on Diana and the country. At some point they will need to acknowledge that and do penance for the way he treated her.”

[From The Daily Beast]

It is shocking, when you think about it. That Charles couldn’t even find some way to pay tribute to the mother of his sons. That the Queen can’t make some simple gestures in memory of the woman who rocked the monarchy. It legitimately does leave the impression that the monarchy is still scared of her and scared of her supporters. Plus, these are the same people who have tried to appropriate Diana for their own purposes and turn her into some kind of conservative monarchist at heart, willing to do anything for the continuation of the crown. Incidentally, whenever there’s a significant anniversary involving Diana or her tragic story is revived in pop culture, I’m reminded of the fact that Charles and Camilla’s careful, expensive, multi-decade rehabilitation campaign is just a mile wide and an inch deep.

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red, Instar.

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