​I know I wrote about Princess Diana recently but did anyone watch ‘Diana : In Her Own Words’ last Monday?  Jeremy?  The hype that preceded that programme and whether or not it was morally wrong to use private footage …  laughably, Penny Junor was, repeatedly, on the news arguing against it for the sake of William and Harry; that from the person who is blatantly cashing in on the twentieth anniversary of Diana’s death by drudging up the whole story, yet again, in her book about Camilla!  Personally, I believe that Princess Diana was anything but stupid – contrary to the hopes of her adversaries – and she, very definitely, wished her story to be told.  These videos were taken for a reason and that reason had little or nothing to do with improving her public speaking.  Discussing anything and everything, she was happy to leave the tapes in the hands of her ‘voice coach’ knowing that it was inevitable they would make their way into the public domain at some point.  Voila!
The publicity surrounding the programme, inevitably, ensured huge viewing figures with myself among them. However, within seconds, I wanted to turn it off.  Glaringly obvious, the tone and heightened dramatics, I was struggling to tolerate not only the ridiculous music but the voice and accent of the narrator.  If I hadn’t known any better, I would have thought I was witnessing the opening of some dreadful attempt at King Lear!  Well, apologies to ‘King Lear’ for the analogy but one knows what I mean. 
The sum total of video footage of Diana?  Probably, at most, 5 minutes.  Any genuinely new or shocking revelations?  Not really.  Once more, it was a blatant money making exercise.  Would the content upset William and Harry?  No more so than Penny Junor’s latest book.  On the other hand, for my part, it did real damage to the Queen, Prince Charles and Camilla serving only to remind me of – and strengthen – my views on Diana’s appalling treatment at their hands.
I am glad I endured 75 minutes of flannel for the few delightful minutes of Diana talking to camera.  She was just as I expected, a character who was full of fun and thrived on people.  No pomp or ceremony, she was warm and open and I loved it when Peter Settelen asked her why she was, now, focusing on her chosen charities (or words to that effect) and she replied ‘Because I have nothing else to do!’ whilst bursting into fits of laughter.  That’s the sort of thing I would have said and that’s exactly the point: she was normal, fun and came across as someone with whom one could have been great friends.  Good move but, then again, she was far more than just a ‘fat Sloane Ranger’!
What I shall take from the programme are the lasting words of Patrick Jephson and Ken Wharfe.  Private secretary and bodyguard, respectively, they have been interviewed many times over the past twenty years but never before do I remember them being so strident in their support of Diana.  There is a sad acceptance in Jephson’s words: ‘A lot of the things that I admired about the monarchy, for me, died with the Princess of Wales; and, more than that, with the way in which she was treated before she died.  That idea of the monarchy has died for me.’  A damning indictment but no less so than his declaring ‘I saw royal virtues embodied in her more than in him.’  
Twenty years on, the affection felt for Diana by both men is clear to see but, moreover, there is an anger which lingers at the treatment of ‘a proud, aristocratic woman’ who, sadly, craved the love of a man who loved another woman.  There is reference to the ‘whispering campaign’ which not only questioned her suitability as a mother but her very sanity, itself.  Her death in Paris only served to expedite the inevitable, Charles marrying Camilla and, poignantly, Ken Wharfe reflects that, had she been alive, Diana would have remarked, “You see, Ken, I wasn’t wrong, was I?”  
She wasn’t wrong.  The public weren’t wrong.  Her treatment was very definitely wrong!  Ironically, those responsible were subject to a gross error of judgement: her strength.  In her own words: ‘Every strong woman in history has had to walk down a similar path.  It’s the strength that causes the fear.  Why is she strong?  Where does she get it from?  Where is she taking it?  I’ll fight to the end.’  By golly, she did – and, by golly, I will!
Obviously, there is an abundance of programmes on Diana at the moment and I happened to catch one entitled ‘Princess Diana’s Wicked Stepmother’.  Time wasted but it did leave me in utter disbelief as, accompanying the inevitable footage of the crash in Paris, the narrator blatantly referred to the 29th August as the night of her tragic death.  Seriously?!  For an inherent proofreader who lacks computer skills and thus the confidence to pursue remuneration in said field, it makes me increasingly irritated that such catastrophic mistakes can go unnoticed.  Errors abound in newspapers and magazines but in a world in which the words ‘grammar’ and ‘punctuation’ are now confined to a dictionary, the use of which is all but obsolete, what can one expect?
Next subject?  Something upbeat?  Difficult.  I might say, however, that I have just found a scribbled note which made me smile …  Earlier this year, I required the services of a painter and this chap was recommended by the joiner – of course.  Anyway, I phoned him and he duly appeared to peruse the job.  It wasn’t until he was leaving and seeking confirmation of my name and number that I discovered what he thought was my name – ‘Trivia Manson’!  If the cap fits …
Enough jollity at my expense.  Back to sombre and nostalgic.  We lost Glen Campbell this week, another of the all time greats.  The documentary of his Farewell Tour in 2011, ‘I’ll Be Me’ was difficult viewing but a reminder of, at once, his genius and his catalogue of wonderful songs which will transcend time.  Suffering from Alzheimer’s for the last six years of his life, his musical memory was the last thing to go; put a guitar in his hand and it was like turning on a switch.  How amazing is that?  Married four times, he had struggled with drugs and alcohol but, ultimately, found happiness; one of the lucky ones. 
Of late, there have been adverts for a new John Denver CD, ‘The Ultimate Collection’.  You know, I have never understood why his death on October 12th, 1997 went so under the radar.  He, too, was a musical genius; the understated genius of simplicity.  His poetic lyrics were serenades to the rocky mountains and the Colorado he adored.  His voice possessed a pure, melodic quality as though born of the fresh country air and the accompaniment of his acoustic guitar only served to transport one to a gentler place – it still does.  Annie’s Song, Poems & Prayers & Promises, Goodbye Again and my favourite, Sunshine on My Shoulders, are timeless persuading one to appreciate what is truly important in life.  Sadly, I think his troubled relationship with his father meant that he never really believed in himself.  He had everything he valued, everything he sang about but he just didn’t realize it until it was too late.  The innocence was gone but, thankfully, the songs remain.
‘If I had a day that I could give you, I’d give to you a day just like today.
If I had a song that I could sing for you, I’d sing a song to make you feel this way.’
‘Sunshine On My Shoulders’, John Denver.
This is Trish, signing off.