The Media's Princess I Oxford Open Learning

The Media’s Princess

It has been twenty years since the death of Princess Diana and still she continues to be a subject of fascination for the media. Her legacy and the circumstances surrounding her death continue to be subjects of great interest. Known as the ‘People’s Princess’, an image created by the media, Diana was a national icon, she played a key role in the royal family and touched everyone with her charm, glamour and charitable nature. Her work with HIV was considered groundbreaking. Yet, for a woman whose death was partly blamed on the paparazzi – is being used to sell newspapers really warranted?

Diana was first and foremost a human being under a lot of pressure from being one of the most photographed women from a very young age. Being beautiful, famous, of royalty, and a humanitarian do not give the media permission to take away all rights to privacy. Living in the spotlight on a daily basis was a lonely place for Diana, who had her own issues with bulimia, depression and anxiety.

Some say that Diana played a dangerously symbiotic game with the media, using their attention when she was photographed at social events and calling attention to humanitarian issues, but encouraging personal intrusion in so doing; Whilst seeing Diana harassed by photographers at the airport or enjoying herself at Thorpe Park with her children does not support the idea that she used the media in an especially calculated way, the princess knew how to use them to benefit not just herself but her causes. On the other hand, the media used Diana to gain profit out of the private and public moments of her life and never showed her the respect she deserved. They wanted to touch, control and own her all for money. They could not draw the line between when it was appropriate to report her actions and when best to leave her alone. Despite this, Diana handled abuse from the media admirably. She continued to grow, developing from a shy, quiet young girl, to a (well portrayed at least) confident, outgoing and glamorous lady that we all grew to admire and respect.

Princess Diana had such an impact on people during her lifetime that it still resonates today. Teenagers and twenty year-olds, born after Diana died, want to know her story. She was seen as the perfect princess, though again that itself is an image created by the media. Young girls were and still are fascinated by her and she remains a beloved figure 20 years after her untimely death.

Diana will always fascinate the British public and people around the world, and as long as this fascination continues, so the media will not stop reporting stories about her. That this is the same media who once capitalised on all her flaws and problems as much as possible now portray her as almost perfect, now seems almost implausible. Whatever the case, she will always be a big part of British history. Her legacy now lives on in her sons Prince William and Harry who vowed to make a difference and continue with her charitable causes.





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