Lessons Learned from Queen Elizabeth – Part 4

To recap:

Lesson #1: Duty and Love Rarely Mix Well
Lesson #2: Mothers Don’t Always Know Best
Lesson #3: There is a Big Difference Between Illusions, Delusions, and Reality

This brings us to the next lesson.

Lesson #4: Sometimes it is Important to Break Protocol


Two children and eleven years later, the famous royal couple, Charles and Diana, separated in 1992 and officially divorced in 1996. After the divorce, their relationship seemed to be less ruffled. After all, they had 50/50 custody of their children, and for the sake of the children, they each tried to do better. By this time, Diana had more or less accepted the inevitable: the relationship between Camilla and Charles was there to stay.

Death and Conundrums

One year later, Princess Diana left this earth in a tragic auto accident outside Paris. This was where it got wonky. Was there a protocol for this situation? Would she be treated as a royal member of the family? Or not? Queen Elizabeth was silent. The “institution” was quiet. There was no official announcement for five days. The public was outraged. How could this be? 

Let’s set the stage.

  • Princess Diana, no longer a wife to Charles, was in France. 
  • Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, and the boys, William and Harry, were vacationing at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
  • The “institution” was in England.

So, to start with, the deadly news was shocking. Shocking to the royal family. Shocking to the rest of the world. Because the public admired Diana’s resilience, honesty, and relatability, many loved her, and the tragic impact was felt around the globe. 

Royals are Human Too 

The royal family did what most families would do under these circumstances. They came together in solidarity to make the necessary arrangements, which were a bit fuzzy. First, there was the logistical nightmare of where all the key players were at the time of the accident, as cited above. Second, Princess Diana was no longer a member of the royal family. Or was she? She was undoubtedly the mother of the future King of England and Prince Harry. Thirdly, there were high expectations of a royal funeral. After all, she was still the People’s Princess. 

Diana’s Funeral & Broken Protocol

As the world began to mourn Diana’s death, it became apparent that a private funeral would not suffice. 

A spokeswoman for the palace told reporters, “This is a unique funeral for a unique person.” 

The Untold Truth Of Princess Diana’s Funeral (grunge.com) 
Image Credit: Daily Mail

Queen Elizabeth supported a private ceremony, while Prince Charles and Diana’s brother encouraged having a more significant event. We will never know why the Queen thought what she did. But by allowing the elaborate funeral procession, the Queen clearly said something without saying a word. (She broke protocol.) Queen Elizabeth also ordered the Union Flag to be flown at half-staff, another break from protocol. It was her way of, an apology of sorts. Perhaps from a mother-in-law who may not have responded as lovingly and kindly as she should have or may have even wanted to. Her bowing at the casket was a sincere tribute to Diana’s legacy.

Granny Elizabeth 

After Diana’s death, Queen Elizabeth seamlessly stepped more concretely into her grandmother’s role. A role she grew fond of as the years went on. She was the boys’ rock and was instrumental in their grief journey. 

Diana’s Legacy

Princess Diana, beautiful and graceful as she was, was human too. With her battle with bulimia, self-injury, and feelings of worthlessness, she brought a “freshness” to the monarchy as she became known as the “relatable” princess. With courage and bravery, she prioritized her mental health and sought help. Her actions brought significant awareness to mental health.

But what is often forgotten is that Diana was also a paradox: under the magnificently poised image she presented to the world, she struggled with bulimia, self-injury, and lingering feelings of worthlessness.

Princess Diana’s Legacy on Mental Health, Eating Disorders | Time

She did indeed relate to the public. She brought attention to so many issues. Her quiet yet charismatic personality charmed the world. Princess Diana’s life and death were tragic. The media responded with relentlessness, and the world responded with love.

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