The new ITV documentary ‘Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy’ is not in any way an explosive version of Princess Diana’s interview about intimate details of her marriage, or her, and her husband’s extra-marital affairs. There was none of that. Rather it was an intimate account of her sons, Princes William and Harry, on how they view their mother and the impact she had on their lives yet with very little new insight. William and Harry speak about their mother on film for the first time and they didn’t really go that far or that deep which is understandable. They probably feel it would be a dishonour to Diana if they revealed too much about her life. I wish we heard them talk about what they learned from their mother’s mistakes, or their own reservations about a life lived in front of the public eye.
Interestingly, Prince Harry talks about her mother being a “naughty parent” and telling him “to do anything naughty as long as you don’t get yourself caught doing it.” I’ve read some biography books about the late princess and learned about the complexities of her public persona, how she manipulated the media and all of that, but watching her talking to a stalker demanding he gives her and her sons some privacy is absolutely compelling.
Towards the end of the documentary, Prince Harry talks about the first time he cried after his mother’s death, and Prince William reveals how he keeps the memory of his mother alive for his children. He says, “I do regularly, putting George or Charlotte to bed, talk about her and just try and remind them that there are two grandmothers, there were two grandmothers in their lives, and so it’s important that they know who she was and that she existed.” William also jokes that his mother would have been a “nightmare”grandma. He says, “She’d love the children to bits, but she’d be an absolute nightmare. She’d come in probably at bath time, cause an amazing amount of scene, bubbles everywhere, bathwater all over the place and then leave.”
It was then finally, as I watched William share all of that, that it went from public to personal testimony – with William talking of an imagined grandmother, suddenly showing up unannounced at bath time, creating madness around yet making it so much fun for the kids, and leaving just before it gets all too messy — perhaps just enough for the kids to cry out, “Granny, please don’t leave!” It is perhaps the most fitting comparison given in this documentary for Princess Diana’s legacy – showing up, moving things around, creating a little bit of a mess here and there while making everyone around laugh and feel loved, and then disappear in an instant.
Whether you’re a fan of the late princess or not, you’d enjoy watching this documentary. Footages of Diana shaking hands with AIDS patients, talking to the homeless people in London, accepting flowers from a little girl on the street, or visiting the landmine victims in Bosnia — all of these show that she really had a unique gift of making people feel loved; that she can easily empathize with anyone, and she really did care for the less fortunate.
Note: Sorry the link to ITV no longer exists, and it’s not available on YouTube.