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Tuesday, May 29, 2007 

The undead princess.

Princess Diana is dead, just in case you'd forgotten. She's been dead for close to ten years. In life, she was chased by newspapers trying to sell their sordid wares. In death, she's chased by newspapers trying to sell their sordid wares. Oddly, the very same newspapers which day after day filled their pages with paparazzi photographs of the woman, apart from suffering a few pangs of guilt in the immediate aftermath of the accident in the Paris tunnel, with the Daily Mail famously announcing that it would never again buy snatched shots, only to break its own declaration within a matter of weeks, have since then felt the need to act as her personal shield; she can't defend herself, so they will instead. Again, this was a surprising role reversal, considering that the Glenda Slaggs' had loved to rip Diana to shreds over whatever they saw fit, leading after her end to the biggest reverse ferret in newspaper history. No longer was she a silly bulimic girl who had betrayed the royal family, now she was the greatest Briton who had ever lived, whose beauty, principles and dignity were second to none.

It's therefore unsurprising that the middle-market tabloids are united in anger over Channel 4's decision to screen a documentary which allegedly features images of Diana laying in the car being treated before she died. We had the very same faux-outrage last year, when an Italian magazine published the far from shocking images, at the same time as some genuinely shocking photographs from Lebanon and Israel were being comprehensively ignored.

Even so, it's difficult to deal with the sheer level of chutzpah, especially of the Daily Express, accusing Channel 4 of being "ghouls cashing in on her memory". This is the same newspaper which has spent the last few years propagating the bullshit theories of Mohammad Al-Fayed, the man most responsible for the death of Diana in the first place, dedicating its front page time and again to false "new leads" and lies about what happened that night. If it wasn't for the Express's Diana obsession, it would probably be even further in the mire created by its asset-striping pornographer owner, Richard Desmond. The only surprise is that Desmond hasn't tried to combine the two by giving away Diana sex dolls with each turgid copy.

As for the Daily Mail, variously accusing Channel 4 of "trampling on her grave", and today printing the words of Rosa Monckton, urging Diana to be given the privacy in death she didn't get during her life (from the very same Daily Mail), could this possibly be the same Daily Mail which back in February was giving away a free Diana figurine from Royal Doulton "worth over £100", as well as Diana DVD entitled ten years on? That isn't trampling on her grave, that's just taking advantage of her, and as we all know, there's a great difference between the two.

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