With William and Kate’s wedding less than a month away, I have a bunch of royal-wedding-themed goodies I want to show you at the blog. But, before I do, I want to tell you more about the special association I have with the Royal Family, which has brought up many emotions for me as William and Kate’s Big Day approaches. If you didn’t already know, Princess Diana was my childhood idol from the time I was eight years old (when I woke up early to watch her wedding in July 1981) until the day of her death (a devastating day for me). Diana was truly my role model while I was growing up (second to my parents, of course). It’s hard to put into words exactly the influence she had on me, but it had a lot to do not only with every little girl’s fantasy of becoming a Princess, but also of this particular Princess’s amazing gift for connecting with people, inspiring them, and doing good.
I followed everything that happened in Diana’s life after she got married. I watched her through her 20s and 30s, as she became a famous icon, “The People’s Princess”, and a devoted mother to her two boys. I vividly remember the day that William was born–June 21, 1982. I was 9 years old and in the middle of my Monday afternoon piano lesson when my sister excitedly told me she heard the news on the radio that Princess Diana had her baby and it was a boy! So besides feeling very old that that same new baby is now getting married (!), I also feel that William and Kate’s wedding will bring me “full circle” since my own interest in the Royal Family began almost exactly 30 years ago. Most of all, I am so sad that Diana won’t be there to see her son get married. Since I have my own little boy now, I understand the connection Diana and her boys had. The idea that she didn’t live to see the young men they have become–and won’t be at William’s most important day–is even more heartbreaking to me now that I am a parent myself.
I was lucky enough to meet Diana in person a few times, both in London and New York. Those are other stories for other times. But I promised you all awhile ago that I would share some of my photos of her, so I’ve posted two of them above. They were taken in June 1997, when she was here in New York (for what would be ultimately be her last visit here) for the auction of her dresses at Christie’s. I took the close-up photo of her myself. And in the other photo–well, that is me giving her flowers (another story), and someone else in the crowd took the photo. She was tall (larger than life), beautiful, sweet and kind. These pictures are exactly how I will always remember her.
I’m sure many of you will be watching the wedding live on the morning of April 29th, too. I sure will be. And I hope that somewhere, Diana will be watching too.