Mourning Diana: Nation, Culture and the Performance of Grief by Adrian Kear, Deborah Lynn Steinberg

By Adrian Kear, Deborah Lynn Steinberg

The demise of Diana, Princess of Wales, on September 1 1997, triggered public demonstrations of grief on a nearly unprecented international scale. yet, whereas worldwide media insurance of the occasions following her dying seemed to create a global 'community of mourning', renowned reacions actually mirrored the complexities of the princess's public picture and the tensions surrounding the preferred notion of royalty. Mourning Diana examines the occasions which the loss of life of Diana as a sequence of cultural-political phenomena, from the quick aftermath as crowds accrued in public areas and royal palaces, to the kingdom funeral in Westminister Abbey, studying the functionality of grief and the involvement of the worldwide media within the production of narratives and spectacles on the subject of the commemoration of her lifestyles. individuals examine the advanced iconic prestige of Diana, as a public determine in a position to maintain a number of different identifications, and hint the posthumous romanticisation of elements of her existence corresponding to her charity activism and her courting with Dodi al Fayed. The individuals argue that the occasions following the loss of life of Diana dramatised a posh set of cultural tensions within which the bounds dividing nationhood and citizenship, charity and activism, inner most feeling and public politics, have been redrawn.

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Extra info for Mourning Diana: Nation, Culture and the Performance of Grief

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It was only really those commentators—on left and right—who felt excluded from the mourning process who doubted the ‘unities’ it was supposed to produce. As Elizabeth Wilson put it. ‘I [did not] believe that the tragic event had in any real or permanent sense “united the nation” as we were being told’ (Wilson 1997:136). It is doubtful if national identities are ever fully formed and entire in ‘a real or permanent sense’. I agree with Beth Edginton who concludes that ‘the nation really is an extremely delicate construct’ (Screen 1998:81).

Can still be recruited to British Euro-phobia, as in panics over whether the royal portrait can appear on the new Euro currency, or rows about attempted reconciliation with Germany in the commemoration of the Second World War. As a fully postwar figure, Diana was more distant from British Germano phobia and the safe, un-selfcritically affirmative version of ‘the War We Won’. Moreover, as a divorced woman and a single mother and as the socially compassionate ‘Queen of Hearts’, she was in tension with key themes in Thatcherite nationalism, especially the reckless stress on ‘enterprise’ and the moral traditionalism of ‘the family’.

EXEMPLARY DIFFERENCES In speaking and writing about Jill in public, I felt I was ‘doing her justice’ in ways I had failed to do in life. Later I started to read about death, loving and mourning, especially psychoanalytic works. I found Melanie Klein’s accounts moving and illuminating (especially Mitchell 1986). Her discussion of ‘the depressive position’ (a ‘normal’ psychic state, a key moment of infantile experience, but available to adults too) shows the closest of associations between feelings of loss and mourning on one side and love and reparation on the other.

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