A small observation as the adulation pours forth on this, the tenth anniversary of Princess Diana’s passing: there is nothing better for one’s legacy than to be beautiful, young and dead.
That is not to knock Princess Diana in any way. She accomplished a lot in her short life and her work with charities was exemplary. She inspired many. Yet, she is surely not the only person to have done so. Mother Theresa would pass away less than a week later, for example, and – as many observed at the time -she would not receive half of the attention that Princess Diana did. Nor, I fear, will she when the 10th anniversary of her death comes up next Wednesday.
This is a symptom of our celebrity-worshipping society. Nothing cemented John F. Kennedy’s legacy more than being shot in Dallas while he was still young and attractive. Sure, he did some very fine things. He lowered taxes, he strengthened our defenses, he stood up to the USSR, and he re-energized the nation. But, on the flip side, his administration also included the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the beginnings of the Viet Nam quagmire and a whole lot of womanizing. He was a man, not a saint, as most leaders are. It was Oswald’s bullet, more than anything, that ensured that most people would forget about his failings.
So let us mourn Princess Diana, whose life was taken far too soon. But let us also remember that there is also beauty to be found in the souls of many less beautiful and more aged than she.