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  #261  
Old 07-21-2007, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Polly View Post
I think, too, that it might be noted that whereas there are quite a few 'personal communication' footnotes, there are also many from well-known, named sources.
As you might guess, I disagree with this statement.

There are so many inaccuracies and wild guesses passed off as fact. We have HM apparently breaking the habit of a lifetime by cornering an unnamed guest and complaining that Diana was staring at them, have we ever heard of HM discussing anyone with friends, let alone a guest?
How about the assertion that Diana didn't go with 'them' to shoot the feathery baby grouse. Now much as I disagree with shooting game birds as a sport, they are not feathery baby grouse and most people would know that, including Diana!

It seems to me, that Brown has perpetuated all the inaccuracies that were in other peoples books, added more than a few unsubstantiated rumours, her own outsider looking in angst and a lot of imagination.
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  #262  
Old 07-21-2007, 07:23 AM
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Before it gets lost in the to 'n fro, Polly deserves congratulations for her considered post at #248 above where she examines Diana's role as "patron saint" to various people and the connection between royal mystique and modern celebrity, and for placing the "Diana phenomenon" in a social context. Much appreciated.
Well I certainly didn't lose Polly's excellent comment in the to and fro. I think she explained clearly what she had gotten out of the book from a social context.

And that's when I realized that as much as facts and figures are important at certain times, sometimes the facts and figures are not relevant.

It seems that the main value of the book is not how it describes a particular detail of Diana's life or even how sympathetically or not sympathetically it portrays any individual, Charles, Camilla, Diana, the Queen. Like others said, a lot of the facts Tina Brown puts forth have already been published in other books. The main subject of the book seems to be the media phenomenon of Diana rather than the person that was Diana.

If Tina Brown is talking about media phenomenon, then that is a subject that she is eminently qualified to speak on as an authority. It is her stock in trade.

I may wait till I get her book from the library and do a little comparative reading with Sarah Bradford's book.
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  #263  
Old 07-21-2007, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ysbel View Post
And that's when I realized that as much as facts and figures are important at certain times, sometimes the facts and figures are not relevant.
Unfortunately, if the fact's are wrong then it follows that the conclusions are also wrong.
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If Tina Brown is talking about media phenomenon, then that is a subject that she is eminently qualified to speak on as an authority
Perhaps for an American audience.
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  #264  
Old 07-21-2007, 10:09 AM
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Looking forward to your review about the book ysbel. I am not fasinated by this book but I do see what Tina
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  #265  
Old 07-21-2007, 10:31 AM
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Unfortunately, if the fact's are wrong then it follows that the conclusions are also wrong.
Not necessarily skydragon. If the conclusions don't necessarily have to be based on the facts to be true then it doesn't matter if the facts are wrong. For example, the striptease that was referred to in the article posted before may be true or may be false but it really doesn't have an effect on Diana's impact as a celebrity icon because until now the public didn't know about the striptease for the story to affect their perception of Diana as an icon one way or another.

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Perhaps for an American audience.
I admit that an American audience would be more susceptible to Diana's appeal. However,Tina Brown made her name in Great Britain at the magazine Tatler, a famous British society magazine. Previously I only knew of Tina Brown through her later work at Vanity Fair (but I knew more about Anna Wintour who was her protege) and then with her (unsuccessful at least to me) tenure at the New Yorker. But recently I have been reading more about her and was surprised to find out that her parents were in with social set of the British film industry and her father had briefly been married to Maureen O'Hara before the marriage was annulled.

I think if Tina grew up with parents prominent in the film industry, she must have been very well acquainted with the British celebrity and social set that was in the British media at the time before she went to Tatler.

Not least of which the book on the British young set, Bridget Jones' Diary had a hilarious scene at a social party where Bridget Jones uncomfortable in the British society set decides to copy the social expert Tina Brown and dart off after an embarassing conversation with the phrase, "Bye, must fly now!"
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  #266  
Old 07-21-2007, 11:02 AM
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Looking forward to your review, Ysbel. I think Tina Brown's book is more suitable for US general readers as well. I don't think either her book or her are very warmly received in UK. I always find Tina Brown has a sharp mind a sharp mouth and she certainly know how the celerities and famous people's really feel like during these high society parties and other occasions. I think she is very qualified to write a Vanity Fair style article about Charles and Diana and she proved herself in 1985 article. I just doubt why she moved to US in 1985 year and she is certainly clever enough to make sure about her own standing in the society.

Her book does not change my perception about Diana and my critics towards her. But I do see Diana's more sufferings during her life because of her innocent and naive ambition about being Princess of Wales. I guess you probably will enjoy the reading because this book is not a boring and long style. I find Sarah Bradford's style too boring and long. Moreover I question her interviewee because of too many uses of anomoymous sources of her information. I hates that and Tina Brown seems to have done a better job in revealing their names when permitted.
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  #267  
Old 07-21-2007, 01:52 PM
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The book is really not boring, but was quite shocked about the negative picture of Diana in this book. Lets hope this is not true, cause then you can can not blame Charles for the marriage trouble in total.
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  #268  
Old 07-21-2007, 01:54 PM
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Skydragon--It sounds you are having some of the same issues I had with the book?

I agree--this book does seemed more geared to the readers here in the US. Polly did a great job explaining about the social aspect of the Diana "era" and how it might be of value historically.

However, that might be lost on a good number of american readers. I am American (although British born), so I hope this doesn't come across as offensive to other American's on this board? I am not really referring to you in this generalization. This country is so driven by the Celebrity Media--be it TV or print media. I mean where else had "up to minute" coverage of the Beckham's arrival to America this week complete with 2 hour long prime time TV specials? They are getting better coverage for the most part than the Queen did during her visit. So I would suspect the average reader of The Diana Chronicles here will miss the serious side of the book and focus on the fluff.

I will say this about Tina's book--she did a much better job on her booknotes etc than Christopher Andersen has done with After Diana. Talking of quotes--I am still trying to figure out how Andersen has such direct knowledge of conversations between Charles and Camilla complete with quotes. Overall, where The Diana Chronicles is fair to all the participants the same can not be said for After Diana. It is very anti-Camilla, Charles and RF for the most part--IMO.
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  #269  
Old 07-21-2007, 02:04 PM
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The book is really not boring, but was quite shocked about the negative picture of Diana in this book. Lets hope this is not true, cause then you can can not blame Charles for the marriage trouble in total.
I think you will survive the shock Grace-Patricia . There will always be some people who will write anti-Diana, anti-Camilla or anti-Charles sort of stuff. Anyway for the marriage the both are 'responsible' IMO. A divorce is never caused by only one person, but again that's my humble opinion .
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  #270  
Old 07-22-2007, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by ysbel View Post
Not necessarily skydragon. If the conclusions don't necessarily have to be based on the facts to be true then it doesn't matter if the facts are wrong.....
I admit that an American audience would be more susceptible to Diana's appeal. However,Tina Brown made her name in Great Britain at the magazine Tatler, a famous British society magazine.....I think if Tina grew up with parents prominent in the film industry, she must have been very well acquainted with the British celebrity and social set that was in the British media at the time before she went to Tatler.

Not least of which the book on the British young set, Bridget Jones' Diary had a hilarious scene at a social party where Bridget Jones uncomfortable in the British society set decides to copy the social expert Tina Brown and dart off after an embarassing conversation with the phrase, "Bye, must fly now!"
If the basis for someones conclusions are based on lies and inaccuracy, the conclusion cannot be anything but wrong, IMO. Don't forget, that for many the Thatcher years were wonderful, far from being dislocated the nation was united behind a woman said to have had more balls than the whole parliament put together over the invasion by Argentina of the Falklands. Few complained of the right to buy their rented homes, many applauded her for putting the oh so powerful unions in their place.
The Tatler was a super magazine subscribed to by aristocrats and the upper classes, Tina Brown turned it into a middle class version of any of the gory gossip magazines, concentrating on wannabe's and celebs. Most people I know cancelled their subscriptions, although there was a rise as the middle classes purchased it instead.

Don't forget, Bridget Jones was middle class and that of course was the set she mixed in, (great film).

Changes happen within society, with and without people like Diana. The Diana 'success' has been followed by a lack of interest in anything that is not celebrity driven, which in turn has led to a lack of basic decency towards others.

I always find it worrying when normal people start to believe the facts as written in books like this, that they are willing to believe everything and common sense goes out of the window. They fail to question how so and so could possibly know that, have heard that etc. I am slightly heartened by the response to this book by a lot of people, there are over 30 copies of it in the local charity shop.

Is it the history book on Diana or the times, no, I don't think so.
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  #271  
Old 07-22-2007, 07:38 AM
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Sarah's reminds me of something that I would see on Public Television and Tina's reminds me of something on a Made for TV movie. If that makes sense?
Good comparison. With regards to historical value about the era, it still reads, to me, as written by someone who wasn't quite there.

Each person reading the same publication or even being at the same place or time, will take away different impressions. That is why you have people following cult A, B, C or none at all.
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  #272  
Old 07-22-2007, 10:38 AM
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Good comparison. With regards to historical value about the era, it still reads, to me, as written by someone who wasn't quite there.
That's an impression I often have: if you have no idea how the life of the British upper classes used to be at that time, you don't really understand what was going on. Neither Charles nor Diana were middle class people so trying to explain their behaviour with middle class experiences simply doesn't work. IMHO.
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  #273  
Old 07-22-2007, 10:58 AM
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That's an impression I often have: if you have no idea how the life of the British upper classes used to be at that time, you don't really understand what was going on. Neither Charles nor Diana were middle class people so trying to explain their behaviour with middle class experiences simply doesn't work. IMHO.
I totally agree with you. Beside human reactions like laughing, crying, etc. People who aren't from this class can't understand why they did this or that. They didn't grew up the same way so how could they react like middle class persons.

Some people also think that because you live in a beautiful castle, with jewels and all you don't have the right to complain but it doesn't work this way IMO. You can be from the upper class and feel terribly lonely. Like the Beatles said : "Can't buy me love" .
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  #274  
Old 07-22-2007, 11:33 AM
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Ysbel,

It was, and always has been, my position that neither 'side' was inherently better or worse behaved than t'other. My sense of loyalty to Her Majesty and her Heir has never once wavered. However, I truly believed that Diana engendered a tsunami of difference, i.e. difference of opinion and attitude. To my observation, the Palace and its attendants and lackeys were utterly confounded by her popularity, and, yes, it must be said, adoration, in some quarters. To whit: they were completely at a loss as to how to countermand her prescience and appeal, even in those few instances where they could even begin to comprehend it. That they couldn't accept, much less inhabit, a radically altered world which worshipped celebrity in all of its manifestations, was its major shortcoming. In the final analysis, there are highly paid advisers to advise and inform on social aberrations and indulgences.

From my perspective, I could almost hear the tumbrils rumbling, and was most anxious that Her Majesty would survive, unscathed. In my long view, it was a near run thing, and although I'm not a fan of his, Tony Blair did a great deal to assist in maintaining the status quo in this instance. Both in England and Australia I was horrified to hear the slanders and anger directed at The Queen and her son over Diana's ghastly death, which I always felt was manifestly unfair. Neither of them, no matter what, would have wished her dead!

Still, I believe that Diana was an immense threat to the English so-called Establishment. A.N. Wilson, in The New York Times, commented that if she continues to rock the boat, "the Establishment will simply get rid of her, as they got rid of Edward and Mrs Simpson". The irony here, is, of course, that the Spencers were much more legitmate 'Establishment' than all of the nouveaux and faux-gentry which surrounded the Crown, especially those who inhabited Camilla's world. Its interests, invested in the Crown's patronage, was seriously challenged at a mundane, social level, and therefore Diana's actions were deemed insupportable. The advent of Diana relegated the almost religious reverence which many held for the Royal Family into a more secular milieu.

In an historical sense, the quasi-religious mystique of royalty came full circle with Diana. Monarchy used to be based on divine right. But just as monarchy, traditionally, used religious trappings to justify its rule, modern celebrity has a way of slipping into a form of popular religion, hitherto quite unacknowledged and unappreciated in its power.

In this sense, Diana evolved into a sacrificial symbol in several ways. First she became the patron saint of victims, the sick, the discriminated against, the homeless. Then, partly through her real suffering at the hands of a rigidly formal family trained to play rigidly formal public roles, and partly through her shrewd manipulation of the press, Diana herself projected a compelling image of victimhood. Women in unhappy marriages identified with her; so did outsiders of one kind or another, ethnic, sexual or social. Like many religious idols, she was openly abused and ridiculed, in her case by the same press that stoked the public worship of her. And finally, she became the ultimate victim of her own fame.

I remember some people, devoted monarchists all, bewailing Diana's death. "How could she leave?" For the last 16 years, on the world's stage, Diana had embodied Britain for much of the world. She showed that despite the loss of empire and influence and the heavy weight of history, the country was capable of youth and vigour and immense charm, still. By blood alone and her impeccable lineage, she was an endorsement of all which Britain had been and still could be. If one were to investigate such things, Diana Spencer was a much better bred Englishwoman than anyone else in the Royal Family.

But what mattered most was that Diana was truly the world's princess, a title which no other could ever hope to attain, and no monarch ever has. How many nations embraced expressions of shock and dismay and mourning in public, far beyond diplomacy's or mere politeness' requirements?

There have been many changes for the better in House of Windsor, and 'tis my considered opinion that they are for the better, and that they are due to the late Princess of Wales.

Tina Brown's book endorses this view. Tina Brown's book, though, does not do this at the expense of Diana's ex-royal-in-laws. On the whole, I admire it because it's approps, and casts no heavy stones.
polly i have to say that this is one of the (if not THE) best post i have ever read on any of the royalty discussion boards that i've been on. it makes total sense of things that i have wondered about and it's well thought out and very very logical.
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  #275  
Old 07-22-2007, 11:48 AM
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People who aren't from this class can't understand why they did this or that. They didn't grew up the same way so how could they react like middle class persons.

Some people also think that because you live in a beautiful castle, with jewels and all you don't have the right to complain but it doesn't work this way IMO. You can be from the upper class and feel terribly lonely. Like the Beatles said : "Can't buy me love" .
while i agree with the last part, i have to disagree with the first. i think everyone, no matter what class you come from can relate to everyone if they're honest with themselves. perhaps a lot of the life experiences are different but you know when it all boils down that we're all the same. you don't have to grow up middle class to know that having extra marital affairs is wrong even if it is the "accepted" thing in your social set. and you don't have to grow up upper class to know that all the wealth in the world will make you happy.
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  #276  
Old 07-22-2007, 01:17 PM
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while i agree with the last part, i have to disagree with the first. i think everyone, no matter what class you come from can relate to everyone if they're honest with themselves. perhaps a lot of the life experiences are different but you know when it all boils down that we're all the same. you don't have to grow up middle class to know that having extra marital affairs is wrong even if it is the "accepted" thing in your social set. and you don't have to grow up upper class to know that all the wealth in the world will make you happy.
I don't think someone from the upper classes could understand a lot of what happens in the middle classes and vice versa. How can someone with plenty of money know what it is to struggle to pay the electricity account, or for someone with no money to understand a £5000 restaurant bill.
Someone once said, having money doesn't make you happy, but it means you can be miserable in comfort.

Clearly all parties involved in this menage kept it secret for as long as they could. It is often reported that it is accepted by the upper classes, to have affairs, but IMO as a general rule, it is no more acceptable whatever your class.
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Old 07-22-2007, 01:30 PM
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Clearly all parties involved in this menage kept it secret for as long as they could. It is often reported that it is accepted by the upper classes, to have affairs, but IMO as a general rule, it is no more acceptable whatever your class.
Yes I think that also. Perhaps in other culturs or civilizations having affairs is something normal. Although in our princips it's considered like wrong. It's because of these princips that women and men feel betrayed. If Charles and Diana were living and raised in a country that consideres polygamy as a common way of life, there would have been no problems.
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  #278  
Old 07-22-2007, 06:01 PM
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I don't think someone from the upper classes could understand a lot of what happens in the middle classes and vice versa. How can someone with plenty of money know what it is to struggle to pay the electricity account, or for someone with no money to understand a £5000 restaurant bill.
Someone once said, having money doesn't make you happy, but it means you can be miserable in comfort.

Clearly all parties involved in this menage kept it secret for as long as they could. It is often reported that it is accepted by the upper classes, to have affairs, but IMO as a general rule, it is no more acceptable whatever your class.
i love that quote! and i agree with money part of it but what i mean is that people from both classes understand each other perfectly in that they all know right from wrong. there are certainly parts of both lifestyles that the other side would never understand but essentially, morally and to a large degree emotionally people aren't all that different. we all know what it is to hurt and be hurt - to be lonely and to be without "something".
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Old 07-22-2007, 08:01 PM
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Ah skydragon I see my mistake. Of course, Tina Brown wasn't privy to the inner workings of the aristocracy or royalty, you are absolutely right and that's all what society was before the media age.

What I should have said is that Tina Brown is imminently qualified to write of the society that comes from the celebrity culture and from what you are saying, it seems that this celebrity culture is decidedly middle class. Makes sense. Interesting. I remember Hugh Grant saying that foreigners thought his movie Three Weddings and a Funeral depicted the upper classes but the characters in the movie were just middle class.

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The Tatler was a super magazine subscribed to by aristocrats and the upper classes, Tina Brown turned it into a middle class version of any of the gory gossip magazines, concentrating on wannabe's and celebs. Most people I know cancelled their subscriptions, although there was a rise as the middle classes purchased it instead.
Ah so Tina Brown did with the Tatler exactly what she later did with the New Yorker? I hated the dumbed down version of the New Yorker after she finished with it. But then I am more academic which is why I enjoyed Sarah Bradford's book. It is academic in tone which to a lot of people is very boring.


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Don't forget, Bridget Jones was middle class and that of course was the set she mixed in, (great film).
Oh indeed and the book was even funnier! I don't know if the scene where Bridget mimics Tina Brown is in the movie but in the book it was hilarious! I didn't really think about what class BJ and her family was in, but it makes sense that they are middle class.

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The Diana 'success' has been followed by a lack of interest in anything that is not celebrity driven, which in turn has led to a lack of basic decency towards others.
Ah, although I am interested in reading Tina Brown's book and I understand what Polly means about the social influences of the celebrity culture, I must say I agree with your opinion of celebrity culture especially when people from more traditional and conservative institutions like royalty cross into the celebrity culture. In other areas, the celebrity culture doesn't bother me as much and can be quite fun. I am amused at people outraged at the tackiness of Posh and Becks. He's a ballplayer and she's a former girl singer. In my opinion they are fine for what they are. If David was Charles' son and Victoria his bride and they were in line to the British throne, that would be a little horrifying. But in the position they are as ballplayer and former Spice Girl, to me they are perfectly fine.

I must say though that if the Diana success influenced the lack of interest in anything that is non-celebrity as you say it did then Diana would have been still a very powerful social influence although not a positive one.

From the excerpt I read it seemed that Tina Brown was chronicling Diana's move from the royal society to a more celebrity-driven society. Since I still believe that Tina is an expert in this celebrity culture, I think she may be more qualified to talk about Diana's move to celebritydom and her interactions with that set rather than about Diana's relationship with the Royal Family since as you say, it is a different culture.

I know that Diana was aristocratic in blood but in many ways she did not seem to act very aristocratic. It was said of Diana once that while she had the common touch and could easily relate to underprivileged people and people in pain, she had a hard time relating to people of her own social class. skydragon, I don't think you would say Diana was a typical example of anstocratic English girl, would you?

So while I agree that Tina could not have really understood the class from which Diana sprang, I think because Diana didn't seem to fit within her class very comfortably and did fit into the celebrity culture more comfortably than the aristocratic class, that Tina Brown could understand Diana and what motivated her and probably moreso what drove the decidely non-aristocratic public to adore her.
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  #280  
Old 07-22-2007, 10:44 PM
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In my opinion, there is no effort big enough to completely explain the Diana phenomenon or Diana as a person. There were so many “insight” stories about her that we can never imagine there would be another person in this world who would be so closely investigated as her. However, though we knew so much about her, she was still a big question mark to us. Because these stories presented to us were mostly conflicted with each other. The more we knew the more we were confused. I don’t know whether it was because of Diana’s own conflicted personality or because the writers of these books were taking so opposite sides that they tried their best to present us that one-sided “Diana” suited to their purposes. Or because the simple presumption that “Diana was complicated” drove those writers to write their books more conflicted and controversial. For so many books I read about her, I couldn’t find a book which can convinced me that was the true picture of Diana. To each person who knew her, Diana had drew a unique picture of her own.

And I don’t buy the idea that Diana was just a celebrity. I found it so hard to compare her to other celebrities. And I didn’t see any celebrity would have such an impact on people’s mind. Not a small number of people would declared that they were thinking of Diana even now. I am one of these people. But if I were asked why I always thought of her, I couldn’t come out even one word. And I’ve already given up the effort to explain why. To me she was just simply “magical”. If you ask me to use one word to depict Diana, or the Diana phenomenon, I would choose “magical”. However, this world become so rational that people didn’t believe “magic” any more.
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