Celebrity: Diana and Death

Peter Childs

in Texts

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780748620432
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671700 | DOI:
Celebrity: Diana and Death

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Diana’s funeral was watched on television by an estimated one in three of the world population, and thirty countries issued Diana commemorative stamps within a month of her death. The perceived importance of her death is evident in films across the world made in the following years, such as the French Amelie (dir: Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 1999), where news of Diana’s death is a life-changing event, and the Australian Diana and Me (dir: David Parker, 1997), which begins and ends with floral tributes to Diana outside of Kensington Palace. In its most extreme form, this hagiography results in Jeremy Paxman declaring the response to Diana’s funeral as a sign that the English are acquiring a new sense of self: one in which restraint and the traditional stiff upper-lip are replaced by open displays of public grief. This was also an occasion on which collective displays of emotion, produced by perceived pain and loss rather than ostensible strength and authority, resulted in small but perceptible changes at the highest social level of British society. For Small and Hockey, Diana’s death created an ‘affective enclave’ or ‘community of pain and healing’ empowered by collective grief at the margins of the social structure.

Keywords: Trauma Theory; Princess Diana; Englishness

Chapter.  5419 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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