This time last week I sat down, with many millions of others, to watch the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle. It was a lovely event (despite the BBC being obsessed with her black heritage – actually only half black) and disproportionately focussing on issues related to that. Yes, the ‘sermon’ went on too long, but the preacher clearly felt passionately about his subject and that was, at least in-principle, a reasonable text to focus on, given the occasion. Otherwise, it was a very happy event.
Since then and seemingly increasingly, the wider media are also obsessing about her ‘heritage’ and every aspect of her past and present. There is even an US outlet asking (in all seriousness) what sort of Queen she will make. Others are saying that she is putting the Duchess of Cambridge ‘into the shadows’.
Initially, when Princess Diana married Prince Charles many years ago, things went well and, of course, we were in a very different world with regards to media and especially social media. Towards the end of her life, things really hotted up and the ‘paparazzi’ had a major role in her demise.
The effect that Diana had on our consciousness as a nation and more widely, has been dramatic, not so much in terms of the direct effects, but more in terms of societally. Our ’emotional incontinence’ has magnified and continues to accelerate so that in a relatively short period of time and right across a nation that was historically and traditionally recognised (globally) for its ‘stiff upper lip’. These changes continue unchallenged.
So the Dianasyndrome is alive and well whether, for example, on TV, at the Grenfell Tower enquiry or by the roadside, where people leave plastic flowers apparently in memory of loved ones. But we now have, additionally, Meghansyndrome, which is taking off nicely and, if it coincides with or overtakes Dianasyndrome, has the potential to be even more destructive for the UK as a nation (and possibly the Monarchy) on a number of levels.