Diana: The Most Beautiful or Famous Woman of the 20th Century?

If you have answers, please help by responding to the unanswered posts.

Was Diana the most famous woman of the 20th century?

  • Yes

    Votes: 152 49.5%
  • No

    Votes: 155 50.5%

  • Total voters
Actually, I would like to think that you're right, BeatrixFan. However, I'm confident that if you stopped the average citizen in the streets of Melbourne, or New York or London, and asked 'who discovered radium?" they, most likely, wouldn't know. If you asked the same ordinary citizen 'who was Princess Diana?' I'm sure that they could answer. That's fame, to me. Remember, fame doesn't, nor has it ever, necessarily equated with worth or value, e.g. there's an American, peroxide-blonde hotel heiress who's quite famous though few can determine what her actual 'value' to the world is. (Not of course that I compare the late princess with anyone at all; I'm merely making a point).

Marilyn Monroe died before I was born but I've always known who she was and what she did. She's become a legend, undoubtedly, just I believe that Diana will, if she hasn't, already. Whether this is a good thing or not, the simple truth is that she gave a great many people a great deal of pleasure and who can begrudge anyone that?
No I don't think so. She will be one of the most famous women in late 20th century and she cannot be the most famous woman of the 20 century. I would rather bet on Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II. They have more significant impacts on history.

My point, love_cc, is that Diana was internationally known and admired (or disliked, depending on your point of view). However, as much as I admire Her Majesty, it's not likely that her contributions to history, such as they are, mean anything at all to the majority of the world's vast population. We, understandably, share an anglo perspective on world events, but that's very much a minority world view,these days.
Sorry, are we saying that the Queen - 50+ years on the throne of many nations and Head of the Commonwealth - has had less impact on the world than someone who spent a split second as a Princess in comparison? No, I don't get that at all and I'm sorry, I find it insulting that you'd suggest that Diana has been a better asset to the world than the Queen. It's untrue, it's unfounded and it's totally impossivle.
No, of course I'm not saying that, so there's no need at all for you to feel insulted.

My point is that Diana is better-known to all and sundry, wherever they live, than is our Queen. Because she's 'Our Queen' we know a lot about her, she is within our purview, which is, historically, Anglo. This is not a criticism: it is, though, in my opinion, a statement of fact. However, hundreds of millions of others, scattered around the four corners of the globe, knew of and admired Diana, irrespective of her or their nationalities. My contention is that Diana was better known; ipso facto, more famous. I thought that I had made myself quite clear on my take on 'fame', three posts back, but apparently not. Sorry for that.
I have to agree as well with this reply. There were many greater woman but few could relate to the people as Princess Diana did - a warmth that touched everyone. Unfotunately her tragic death helped in making her more famous, though not in the wanted way. The 20th century will not easily forget her.
Her warmth did not touch everyone, it didn't touch me so let's not make sweeping statements. Her warmth touched those who read Hello! magazine and were foolish enough to shell out pounds on staged photoshoots. She lived in the 20th century, she was famous but she certainly wasn't woman of the century. What on earth did she do to warrant that title? I very much doubt Diana is known to every human being on the planet and I very much doubt that those who did know her also admired her. Someone mentioned Marilyn Monroe - why is Diana suddenly more famous than Marilyn? Why is she more famous than the Queen? Polly, you say you believe it's a fact that in the Anglo view she was the most famous woman in the 20th century. Where on earth is the evidence to support such a 'fact'?
I would say Diana was undoubtely one of the most famous women of the 20th century, but I wouldn't go as far as calling her the most famous woman.

Among Royals, Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth could all give her a run for her money.
Among non-Royals, Margaret Thatcher, Mother Theresa, Marie Curie, Marylin Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, and a number of others were no-less famous.

Edit: A poll with simple yes/no options was added, so you can express your opinions via poll as well. But please don't just say yes she was or no, she wasn't. Give reasons for that, like all people have done up to this point.
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Her warmth did not touch everyone, it didn't touch me so let's not make sweeping statements.

She clearly didn't and that's just dandy, but, was it not you who said to me quite some time back that the way in which you viewed Diana had, well...altered? And for the better if I recall.

Perhaps an 'episode' of charitable understanding? Or one too many cheap wines.lol.

Among Royals, Queen Alexandra, Queen Mary, Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth could all give her a run for her money.

Queen Mother certainly, but Alexandra or Mary? No, I don't believe so and to me, that signifies the gross intrusiveness of the media and how much much it has 'advanced' since their respective times as consort. They are/were undeniably known though THE most famous women...not entirely sure about that as such.

Though, with each era there is someone who 'takes the cake' and at some stage, during their lives, I'm sure they were exceptionally well known far and wide. I guess really, it's an ever revolving cycle of who's "in" and well, who's "in".
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Polly, you say you believe it's a fact that in the Anglo view she was the most famous woman in the 20th century. Where on earth is the evidence to support such a 'fact'?

No, BeatrixFan, I didn't say that, nor would I, as I don't believe it. I'm sorry that we seem to be at cross purposes here, which, no doubt, is due to my inelegance of expression.

On a lighter note - I had quite a chuckle at your quote from Livia.
Someone mentioned Marilyn Monroe - why is Diana suddenly more famous than Marilyn? Why is she more famous than the Queen?

Because people change and forget. The Queen is still alive but she's 81. The young people of the world can't indentified them in her. As sad as it can be, Marilyn and Diana died at 36, they will 'remain' young forever. Marilyn died in 1962, Diana in 1997, there's 35 years separating them. It's normal that people recall more of Diana. In 30 years we will remember of Marilyn, Diana, The Queen Mum, etc. But the general opinion will have forgotten a little about them. They will concentrate on what's happening now and not what happened. Nothing will stop the time.
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I have voted no. She isn't THE most famous woman of the 20th century, but she's definately, as I said, in the top 10, in my opinion.
Personally, I can't look past Elizabeth II. Acceded the throne at a time when the media interest surrounding public and 'political' figures greatly intensified.

81 years of age and Queen Regnant for 55 of them! Need anymore be said?
It would be difficult to find a woman more famous the Queen Elizabeth II during the 20th century. She was known of and famous world-wide from birth...how many women have been on the cover of TIME magazine at the age of three? Seventy-four years of constant and widespread fame outranks less than 20 years, in my view. Diana's fame may have been more concentrated because of the shorter time, but in order to choose her 80% of the 20th century would have to be discounted.
i agree she's in the top 10, but jackie O and princess grace are at the top imo
IMO she's in the Top 10. Okay, some will disagree because she didn't do such thing like Marie Curie or Mother Teresa but she had something that interested people and then people got interested by royalty. Before Diana, the United States didn't care of the Royal Family or even sometimes despised it. Diana made people see the monarchy in a really different way, like no one had before. If this political institution didn't have some persons like Diana or Grace of Monaco to entertain the 'fairytale' and the magie, only a few would find a special thing in this kind of regime.
I agree with you 'The Truth'. Diana captured the world's imagination in a way few women have. I think tho' History will place Queen Elizabeth II as the most famous woman in the 20th century in the same way as we link two former great queens with their eras e.g. Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria. Even tho' Queen Victoria's reign extended into the 20th century we identify her with the 19th century.
She was NOT my type of ideal Princess, and I know that a lot of people shares my opinion about her. But undoubtly she is among the "top ten" famous women in the XX Century. I do not like very much this kind of mesuring things "top 10", "top 40 " and so on, but bof...It's in the habits of almost everyone.

But if we accept this "top ten", we must add to it some other important women like Indira Ghandi, Eva Perón, Jackeline Kennedy-Onassis, Edith Piaf and of course, Grace Kelly. I don't know if there is many women Royals who deserves to be in this list...

If we define "famous" as "well known" for the purposes of this poll, then Diana would have to be in the top 10.

I think it is important to take into account the advances in communications technology in the last quarter of the 20th century which meant that information about a person, and their image, could be flashed to all corners of the globe in seconds rather than taking weeks on a boat or horse-drawn vehicle or even on foot which was the case earlier in the century, particularly to remote areas. Because of those changes "famous" people of the latter part of the century had a distinct advantage over those of the earlier part.

Despite that qualifier, I still include Diana in the top 10. She had to be because she was photographed so much and written about so much. However I have to put Queen Elizabeth II at Number 1. HM was a "celebrity" for several decades, including throughout some very well populated areas of the world, and during a time when communication was not as quick as it was during and since the Diana years.
*I'am back from Italy and France*
As much as I respect and cherish the memory of the Princess of Wales I cannot say that she was the most famous woman of the 20th century.
Diana was one of them, there are so many great ladies of the 20th century and she is one of them.
Diana was certainly famous, and that is what this thread about--not works, deeds, accomplishments. It is about who was the most person of the 20th Century. I agree she's up there, but I don't quite think she is the THE most famous person of the 20th Century. Who is? I don't know, but most of them have been listed already--I can't remember if Wallis Simpson, the Duchess of York was listed or not but I think she would really be up there on the list, too.
From Online NewsHour: Princess Diana Remembered -- September 1, 1997

JIM LEHRER: Michael Elliott, as a Briton--I read today that Princess Di--Princess Diana was considered the most famous woman in the world. Is that an accurate statement?
MICHAEL ELLIOTT, Newsweek: I think so probably. I was in London yesterday when the news broke. I was staying with a friend and woken up at 7:15. So I got some of the immediate reaction to her death in Britain. And although she was huge all over the world, she was beyond huge in Britain.
This discussion took place just after her death, on September 1, 1997. I believe he wouldn't think the same way today. Time passes and people realize that Diana was famous but she doesn't appear like THE most famous person.
I voted yes that right now she is and we can only speak in the present tense. Marilyn Monroe, as far as I know, only made films and dated a married President and Senators. Other than that I do not recall her doing anything charitable one day of her life. If I am incorrect please tell me. She did die young which was tragic I agree. She was not royal, nor a good mother, nor a humanitarian. Diana was all of these. Her sons are continuing to carry on her work and doing it how she did it by touching and hugging others unlike how any other royal had ever done it before. Her legacy is carrying on and that is why I believe she is and will continue to be famous.

Perhaps one of the most photographed and most written about. That does not fame make neccessarily.
Diana will be the most famous woman of the current century as the truths surrounding her will unravel a lot of what Charles dreamed of inheriting. Look at how her restless sprirt fired a maelstrom of bad press for her ex husband's current wife for a one hour semi private religious service!

...and we have yet to survive October's revelations....

Jackie Kennedy made the most impact on the 20th Century, imo.

She embodied an end result of the rock 'n roll era where we could see our leaders could be young and full of idealism rather than looking like our "safe" and war hero grandparents.

"Youth" had finally found its source of power and voice. No longer did we want to drive our dad's doddering Oldsmobile...We wanted the Mustang.....with the top down.

Thank you Jackie, my Leo sis-tah!
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yeah she is the most famous woman of xx century because everyone knew who she was... europe, america (north and south), asia, middle east... she was famous everywhere.
Sorry, I don't buy it. I'm sure more people would know women who brought down the Soviet Union and discovered radium than a glorified glamour model.

What women brought down the Soviet Union? You mean Margaret Thatcher.
With all what happened before her death anniversary, everybody talking about it etc.; it shows that she is very close to, if not, on the podium.
What women brought down the Soviet Union? You mean Margaret Thatcher.

Indeed I do. Indeed she did. Well, played a very large role in it at any rate.
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