Princess Diana – A Legacy

Why the Press Has Become Less Agressive in the Past 20 Years

courtesy of:
TheEventChronicle.com

courtesy of: TheEventChronicle.com

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Believe it or not, around twenty years ago the press was much less friendly then today. The classic aggressive press hounding is much less severe than it used to be, and many of today’s celebrities owe that to the death of Princess Diana. Princess Diana was the icon of the 20th Century. At the young age of 19, she married Charles, Prince of Wales,  a massive deal even today. It was seen as the perfect fairy tale: the young middle upper class women, a school teacher at the time, engaged to the Prince of England. Although it seemed ideal, they actually had many problems behind closed doors. She was the average English woman thrust into the spotlight; a shy girl new to attention form the entire world. Because Diana was this icon, she was almost always followed by the paparazzi. Her name was constantly in the tabloids, her face across the cover of Vanity Fair and Vogue. Everyone loved her, yet this became the death of her and thus a lesson for the press.

After years of being tormented and harassed by the paparazzi, Diana had come to find ways to avoid the cameras. In late August 1997, Diana had been divorced from the Prince for a year and was already in a new relationship. She was in Paris leaving the Hotel Ritz with her partner, Dodi Fayed and the driver, Henri Paul, acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris. She had deployed a decoy car to leave from the front of the building on order to avoid the press. After leaving from the back of the hotel they continued down the streets of Paris and into the Pont de l’Alma tunnel. Even though the decoy car left earlier, they still had paparazzi on their tail. What was certainly not helpful was that the driver of the car was intoxicated, which made the escape from the paparazzi all too dangerous. In the end it was not so much the blinding lights of the paparazzi cameras but instead the drunk driver. He ended up losing control of the car and crashing into one of the walls in the tunnel: A traffic collision.

When Princess Diana was announced dead to the world the sadness was felt in great masses. The funeral drew a crowd of nearly 3 million mourners and onlookers in London. At first the press was blamed for their constant harassment of the princess, but soon it was found that although the press did not make the situation easier for her, they were not the direct cause of her death. Instead it was merely a drunk driver, unable to operate any vehicle  safely. Since the incident the Royal family has gotten much more touchy when it comes to the press. When it was announced that Prince William, Diana’s first born son, was engaged to Kate Middleton, he immediately put out a statement to the press asking to respect her privacy and not hound her like they have with the family in the past. Overall, Diana’s death put an immediate halt on the paparazzis’ aggression and to this day is a reminder of what can go terribly wrong.

 

-“Diana, Princess of Wales.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

– “Princess Diana.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, 30 Nov. 2016. Web. 15 Feb. 2017.

 

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