Plus ça change. Markets are turbulent, Iraq is disintegrating, and we still have time for a dead Princess. Or so we can assume when looking at some of the commemorative gush that is streaming out ten years after Diana’s death. Not even Winston Churchill, whose quotes dot the after-dinner circuit, compares. The saviour of Britain and empire doesn’t even warrant a service. The ethicist Peter Singer ‘encountered’ the Diana myth in 2004 as one would a tree, finding middle-aged women he unfairly described as resembling ‘football hooligans’ in commemorative Diana dress. This still continues, though the glow has dimmed.

The Diana story is a stage show. Its subplot is the idea of Britishness. To be born British has been said to put you ahead of the game, to win you ‘first prize in the lottery of life’. Tony Blair did not disagree, and proceeded to demonstrate what that might be, pushing the envelope of the cult to an extreme. We could already see signs of congenital mythmaking at Downing Street, and it looked like Blair was preparing for a career on Broadway.

And what a show it was, something that came to resemble, in the words of Carmin Callil, the Nuremberg rallies. If Diana is Saint, then Blair is her High Priest. Blair managed to use Princess, death and demagoguery to spin a fine tale of a princess both accessible and vulnerable. She was the Ennio Morricone of the cult scene, writing the death score as she was sped, Dodi Fayed at her side, to her doom by a drunk chauffeur. Blair, a Sergio Leone in the director’s chair, did the rest. Alistair Campbell, in the aptly named role of ‘director of communications’ was of course, in the credits, along with the nameless paparazzi. The show might have been termed Once Upon a time in Britain. Marketed as the people’s princess, it was a New Labour contrivance that placed Tony Blair closer to God and Diana closer to the people. Neither case was true, but it didn’t have to be.

Blair’s role in the whole saga is now firmly ensconced in celluloid format in The Queen, which had the negative effect of drawing sustenance from the Diana myth despite humanising the wise denizen of Buckingham Palace. Sadly, not even Dame Helen Mirren had the cinematic clout to outflank the spectral ‘Saint’ Diana. Theodore Dalrymple would complain in the Britannica Blog that the grief was of the pop variety, insincere and ‘pyschopathological’. A new breed of Briton had bolted out of the stable with debilitating attributes: emotional incontinence with an inclination to ‘blubber in public’ when not infuriatingly rude.

Conspiracy theories flourish in the manure of myth. Diana loyalists, and they are many, continue like new-age radicals seeking justice for the princess. For them, the enemy is the very institution that actually gave us the princess in the first place. She was flawed and modern in the way the Queen isn’t, but then again the Royal person was never foolish enough to permit it. There are still suggestions rich with the stench that Diana was done over both by forces within and without, though these are starting to echo less with time. The cheese-eating ‘frogs’ across the pond must have cut corners in their investigation, but even this allegation is only held by the most fervent Dianists. Besides, she died there, searching for happiness, hounded by media vultures and spurned by the House of Windsor.

Prince Charles’ wife Camilla, neither femme nor fatale, yet the object of the ‘crowded’ relationship that was plastered with tedious regularity across the papers, will not attend the Friday service. She prefers the discomfort of home viewing at Ray Mill in Wiltshire. Charles was openly ‘defied’, or that is at least how it was portrayed. Then again, defiance is a common theme within the Windsors, who, when not defying modernisation are best at defying each other. Once Mrs. Simpson nabbed Eddie, the royal family was never quite the same again.

BINOY KAMPMARK is a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He can be reached at bkampmark@gmail.com

October 08, 2015
Michael Horton
Why is the US Aiding and Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Genocidal War in Yemen?
Ben Debney
Guns, Trump and Mental Illness
Pepe Escobar
The NATO-Russia Face Off in Syria
Yoav Litvin
Israeli Occupation for Dummies
Lawrence Davidson
Deep Poverty in America: the On-Going Tradition of Not Caring
Thomas Knapp
War Party’s New Line: Vladimir Putin is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
Brandon Jordan
Sowing the Seeds of War in Uruguay
Binoy Kampmark
Imperilled by Unfree Trade: the TPP on Environment and Labor
John McMurtry
The Canadian Elections: Cover-Up and Steal (Again)
Anthony Papa
Coming Home: an Open Letter to 6,000 Soon-to-be-Released Drug War Prisoners From an Ex-Con
Ramzy Baroud
Listen to Syrians: The Media Jackals and the People’s Narrative
Norman Pollack
Heart of Darkness: A Two-Way Street
Gilbert Mercier
Will Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite Militias Defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq?
John Stanton
Vietnam 2.0 and California Dreamin’ in Ukraine
William John Cox
The Pornography of Hatred
October 07, 2015
Nancy Scheper-Hughes
Witness to a Troubled Saint-Making: Junipero Serra and the Theology of Failure
Luciana Bohne
The Double-Speak of American Civilian Humanitarianism
Joyce Nelson
TPP: Big Pharma’s Big Deal
Jonathan Cook
Israel Lights the Touchpaper at Al-Aqsa Again
Joseph Natoli
The Wreckage in Sight We Fail To See
Piero Gleijeses
Cuba’s Jorge Risquet: the Brother I Never Had
Andrew Stewart
Do #BlackLivesMatter to Dunkin’ Donuts?
Rajesh Makwana
#GlobalGoals? The Truth About Poverty and How to Address It
Joan Berezin
Elections 2016: A New Opening or Business as Usual?
Dave Randle
The Man Who Sold Motown to the World
Adam Bartley
“Shameless”: Hillary Clinton, Human Rights and China
Binoy Kampmark
The Killings in Oregon: Business as Usual
Harvey Wasserman
Why Bernie and Hillary Must Address America’s Dying Nuke Reactors
Tom H. Hastings
Unarmed Cops and a Can-do Culture of Nonviolence
October 06, 2015
Vijay Prashad
Afghanistan, the Terrible War: Money for Nothing
Mike Whitney
How Putin will Win in Syria
Paul Street
Yes, There is an Imperialist Ruling Class
Paul Craig Roberts
American Vice
Kathy Kelly
Bombing Hospitals: 22 People Killed by US Airstrike on Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan
Ron Jacobs
Patti Smith and the Beauty of Memory
David Macaray
Coal Executive Finally Brought Up on Criminal Charges
Norman Pollack
Cold War Rhetoric: The Kept Intelligentsia
Cecil Brown
The Firing This Time: School Shootings and James Baldwin’s Final Message
Roger Annis
The Canadian Election and the Global Climate Crisis
W. T. Whitney
Why is the US Government Persecuting IFCO/Pastors for Peace Humanitarian Organization?
Jesse Jackson
Alabama’s New Jim Crow Far From Subtle
Joe Ramsey
After Umpqua: Does America Have a Gun Problem….or a Dying Capitalist Empire Problem?
Murray Dobbin
Rise Up, Precariat! Cheap Labour is Over
October 05, 2015
Michael Hudson
Parasites in the Body Economic: the Disasters of Neoliberalism
Patrick Cockburn
Why We Should Welcome Russia’s Entry Into Syrian War