After massage I went to meet my friend. We had lunch at Herbis (my guilty secret, I go there all the time after work), and then to my surprise she produced tickets for Diana: A Princess Remembered which is currently showing in Osaka. I wasn’t keen to go at first, because I feared that it would be mawkish and sentimental, or even ghoulish. To my surprise, it was neither. There were around 130 panels and items, mainly excellent paparazzi shots of Diana in her prime. There were also six of her most exquisite dresses on show (my god, she was skinny!). I cannot describe how moving it was for me to be up close and personal with her stuff. The venue was crowded, but silent. To my surprise a few other gaijin were in attendance. In the video room I realised for the first time just how much of the “common touch” she really had. For example, everywhere she went in the world, little kids would scamper up to her and demand to be picked up and held. They didn’t know or care that she was a princess. All they knew was that they liked and trusted her. Elderly people reacted in the same way. A lot of us – in favour of criticising her personal life – have forgotten just how groundbreaking her work was. She even publicly took the hand of an HIV person, back in the days when the disease was regarded like leprosy. And let’s not forget her unstinting support for the international campaign to ban landmines. Or the fact that her sons now rise up and call her blessed.
Say what you like, but Diana was truly a people’s princess. She is well worth remembering , and celebrating. I’m so glad that I went to the exhibition, after all.
(Masako, get your butt into gear!)