August 30, 2007

The night Diana died I was dining with Jeremy Menuhin, son of the great violinist, and my close friend Oliver Gilmour, a symphony orchestra conductor.  This was in Gstaad, and we got into an argument over Diana’s behavior. “The mother of the future King of England cannot be seen with a coke snorting no good playboy like Dodi Fayed,” said Oliver. “But she’s only doing it to bother that asshole,” said yours truly, referring to Prince Charles, “and she’s definitely not sleeping with Fayed, and I know this straight from the horse’s mouth.”  (I had spoken to her that afternoon and the way she explained the situation convinced me she was telling the truth).

After awhile drink got the better of us and Gilmour and I began to argue in earnest over Diana. To the extent that I left the room, went downstairs and turned on the television in order not to escalate the disagreement. That is when the news bulletin announced her death. I went upstairs, asked Oliver and Jeremy to come down with me, and when they heard the news, they both burst into tears. This was ten years ago tomorrow night. A lot has happened since, but one thing is for sure, the Windsors, like the Bourbons, have learned very little.

Take the case of the man whose ears are more like radar dishes than listening devices,  Prince Charles. Until this week he insisted his wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles, now known as the Duchess of Cornwall, sit next to him in the front row for Diana’s memorial service tomorrow morning. This is the same woman who caused Diana more pain and misery than any other individual, yet dumbo ears insisted until the last minute that Camilla the cow should be present at an occasion celebrating Diana’s life. Worse, he has used Diana’s children, William and Harry, by making it known that it was they who invited Camilla (Diana called her the Rotweiller) to attend their mother’s service.

Charles’s behavior is par for the course. This was simply an echo of his past treatment of Diana. In the week before his wedding Diana looked on helplessly while he delivered a bracelet to his mistress engraved with their pet names for each other. I am no one to talk about fidelity, but even I wouldn’t publicly humiliate a young woman a week before I married her. His determination to have the Rotweiller next to him until wiser heads prevailed (she would have been booed by the public and that’s what made him agree to her absence) is proof that he always put Diana second to Camilla, and himself first before anyone.

The service for Diana is more about consolidating the redemption of Charles than celebrating the life of his ex-wife. This is for sure. The other thing that’s sure is that Diana was left alone without her children as she headed towards a mangled death in an empty city after weeks rattling around the flesh spots of Europe with a man she found physically repellent. She deserved and deserves better.


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