Virgin goddess of females and childbirth,
worshipped by women wanting pregnancy.
She was also beautiful and youthful,
energetic and athletic.
She was a patroness of the disadvantaged.
Plebeians and slaves were given a holiday
on her festival day, August 13th, in Rome.
She showed delight in dancing,
but wrath and anger to those who failed her.
As a moon goddess, she was changeable
and unpredictable. She showed independence
and physical strength.
Hesiod said she was, “of lovely shape.”
A tragedy that deals with suffering
taking place within a royal setting.
A marriage with little success,
but loaded with unhappiness.
Love, hatred, jealousy and passion,
anger, lies, devastation and deception.
The exodus you will see
ends with a catastrophe.
The prince enjoyed his single life
and ignored questions about a wife.
The bachelor mode is not one to hury
there is not too much need to worry.
One solution not to be missed,
was to have a married women list.
That class of society has a management
by both parties, “coming to an arrangement.”
Then the prince was told to provide an heir,
but couldn’t find a qualified bride anywhere.
Early on, there was a mistress who was renewable,
but royal acquaintances called her – “unsuitable.”
Some women who were considered worthwhile,
did not want that kind of royal lifestyle.
The prince then joined the Royal Navy
and began another life at sea.
His mistress had married when he returned
and her husband was a very good friend.
As the mistress’s relationship went deeper,
the prince decided that he wanted to keep her.
His deceased uncle, who had given his opinion,
had said it was crucial that she was a virgin.
This feature was one that he had insisted
would prevent her past being exploited.
A young virgin, ripe for manipulation,
naive and innocent, was the expectation.
Someone who was suitably gullible
and wouldn’t cause any kind of trouble.
A blushing 19-year-old, sweet and shy,
who didn’t pause to ask herself – why?
When asked if she was in love — “Of course”,
a comment that she didn’t have to force.
The prince asked, “what ever – in love – is”:
as if this was some kind of quiz.
He was the answer to a young girl’s dreams,
but to be a princess is not what it seems.
As the papers scrambled for their cover,
did any of them know about his lover?
Had gossip from among the press
exposed the current royal mistress?
If they did know, then they didn’t confess.
A wedding was big coverage for the press.
The engagement sealed with a sapphire ring,
was soon followed by the Royal Wedding.
Then came a critical moment of discovery
when she discovered two pieces of jewellery.
A bracelet and cufflinks inscribed Gladys and Fred,
the pet names the lovers used in bed.
Betrayal is a hollow feeling of erosion,
a bitter experience of torn emotion.
That small slip into melancholy
pushed by a sudden memory.
Hanging between despair and anger,
hindsight is a harsh teacher.
This young girl, full of youth’s idealism,
blindsided by a dose of realism.
Disappointment magnified to something more
corrosion seeping into an inner core.
She did not want a wedding day;
too bad, the plans were underway!
In March, when he went on a Royal Tour,
she was feeling very insecure.
A press photo showed a tear fall from her eye
at the airport, as she waved goodbye.
They said that the tears were due to parting
but actually the Royal War was now starting.
When her parents divorced, she was devastated.
So the word – divorce – was something she hated.
Meanwhile, the prince also had his doubts
what this young bride would be about.
the age difference of 13 years
gave rise to many of his fears.
They had very little in common
except that they both wanted children.
Together, each other they would thwart,
but here are their characters, when apart:
He liked quirky humour.
She liked fun and laughter.
He was quietly serious.
She liked the hilarious.
He could be despondent.
She could be effervescent.
Her immaturity helped her get selected
and compliance then would be expected.
When trying to find a suitable wife,
he was playing with fire in her life.
And even on the wedding day
the mistress did not stay away.
The princess saw her at the start,
“It was a dagger through my heart.”
She realised that her role there
was to provide a son and heir.
In spite of the handicaps and the affair,
they both tried hard in the media glare.
But she found that it was very wearing,
camera lights constantly flaring.
Pregnant, soon after the honeymoon,
in ‘82 a son was born in June.
Then in ‘84 another son arrived.
Her duty complete, two sons supplied.
prince and princess were both delighted;
in their love for the children both united.
She had a gift of natural empathy,
not just a show of sympathy.
Her charity was the – hands on – kind,
with the disadvantaged in mind.
Because she was so powerless,
she looked for her own ways to express.
In ‘85 for the prince she rehearsed a dance
and gave a surprise public performance.
She thought that he would be pleasantly pleased,
but anger and embarrassment were what he seized.
Large cracks were appearing in the relationship
and the veil of effort had begun to slip.
It was clear that interests were miles apart,
and she was still dealing with a broken heart.
She had not been academic at school,
but was proving to be nobody’s fool.
The prince did not understand her popularity.
She was the one the public wanted to see.
Their interest was in her daily,
giving rise to his jealousy.
The princess realised she was used to display
any fashion or travel tour coming their way.
Her attractive appearance and winning smile
made crowds of people’s visits worthwhile.
And yet – “When I slipped, they criticised me”
she later stated outspokenly –
“And when I did well, they ignored me”,
so they disapproved of her capability.
She was upset by constant media attention
but realised there could be manipulation.
No longer was she deluded and naïve,
she now had her agenda to achieve.
But early on, she felt she had nowhere to hide,
and later said she had attempted suicide.
“Lies, deceit, betrayal and unhappiness,”
was not the story of a fairytale princess.
In war, “Always confuse the enemy,”
and find who you can trust specifically.
She had to deal with the false, and betrayal,
and rely on those who were truly loyal.
The prince did not expect her to fight back,
but how she was treated led to combat.
There was a new type of battleground
when tapes were released and “found.”
But bedtime talk between two lovers,
may sound ridiculous to others.
The prince had his own brand of selfishness
and ignored her when she was under duress.
He dismissed her as – “crying yet again”,
without trying to alleviate the pain.
There was no professional intervention
or even requested conflict resolution.
She was followed and spied on all the time
as if she had committed a major crime.
She looked for ways the monitoring to avoid,
which would make the sanest person paranoid.
She said she was completely full of woe –
“I have cried more than anyone will ever know.”
Isolated and criticised in a palace persecution,
the princess fought back for some retribution.
Although her life was looking so bleak,
she knew she still had a tough streak.
“I am weary of the battles, but will never surrender.”
She determined to fight with a combat agenda.
Knowing she was photographed in every location,
she always dressed beautifully on each occasion.
His battle lines were extremely unfair
because his mistress was always there.
And when the princess was away,
she hosted those invited to stay.
The princess knew that the enemy
had taken over where she should be.
This always lead to more hostility
and provoked the princess to be military.
Their behaviour didn’t make her back down.
She challenged husband and mistress on her own.
When making an assessment of her battle station,
she decided to go for confrontation.
At a social event which she crashed,
she challenged them both, unabashed.
She asked her butler to find the pair
and he reported the location downstairs.
To the mistress she demanded “back off”
and told the prince – “this is enough.”
When she had the courage to fight back,
the Palace felt it was under attack.
When she showed she was strong and able,
they said she was mentally unstable.
In spite of being downcast and in despair,
she continued to fight in this warfare.
However, too much stress can make you ill
and is not always relieved by a pill.
As a reaction to the early marriage failure,
she had developed an eating disorder.
A cry for help displayed in bulimia
to fill an empty space inside her.
Eating as much food as she could,
knowing that hunger wasn’t involved.
Next, full of self-disgust – a purge.
Then a return once more to gorge.
She could be vomiting every other day.
As a reaction, the prince would walk away.
Nobody tried at all to help her,
she had to deal alone with that fear.
Some of her friendships were not reliable,
and there were always people critical.
The chill of being surrounded by isolation
and bolstered by lies in this situation.
The icy touch of being afraid;
the frozen fear of being dismayed;
the glacial terror of being betrayed.
Both sides were weary and exasperated.
By December ‘91 they were separated.
But in ‘92 a book about her came out
telling the public what her life was about.
Some features of her life were a nightmare
and described events she had to bear.
By ‘93 the war seemed to wind down
and she looked forward to time on her own.
She made some public announcements
that she would have fewer engagements.
She hoped that she would a truce see;
unfortunately that was not to be.
She was portrayed as the enemy
when the prince gave his story.
In ‘94 he gave an interview on TV
and admitted to his adultery.
He had tried hard to live with her problems
but there did not seem to be solutions.
He admitted to having a mistress and affair,
but not the length of time she was there.
In ‘95 the princess had her interview on TV
where she said in her marriage “there were three.”
She “didn’t want a divorce but clarity.”
To her, the public were mostly sympathetic,
but the prince was not apologetic.
The war had gained the status of soap opera,
and the royal family were not very popular.
The war was finished, there was no doubt.
The prince had to take the only way out.
In August ‘96 the marriage was over
that was the final result of the Royal War.
At the Palace, the prince’s cards were on the table,
he insisted that his affair was “non-negotiable.”
After four years of turmoil during the separation,
the divorce was now announced to the nation.
In an act of freedom and new creation,
a set of Testino photos was a revelation.
She had said afterwards it was refreshing
to be in a studio where creativity was meshing.
She had begun to find her own way
regardless of what others would say.
She was herself recovering
finding a new way of living.
She now had a freedom of choice
and the ability to use her own voice.
Her basic connection to vulnerability
was often where she wanted to be.
Knowing the pressures of frequent duress,
she would be able to help those under stress.
With an awareness of deep insecurity
she hoped to give others some sincerity.
She had always believed that the personal touch
could help the afflicted to recover very much.
She wanted her sons to experience this by seeing
and so reach their potential as human beings.
Not just the trappings of a royal life
but an exposure to people who felt strife.
She needed a refuge after the divorce.
You would expect her brother to help of course.
But he refused to assist in her distress
and made false comments about her illness.
She found a new project she would work for,
banning landmine use as ammunition in war.
She would also investigate injuries,
and visited Bosnian casualties.
Hugs and comfort for those victims
injured by the use of landmines.
She particularly liked to be with children
who had suffered, in some cases, amputation.
During her nineteen ninety-five TV interview,
she was asked about a recent book review.
“I was in love with him, but I was very let down.”
Another man who turned her world upside down.
When they parted, after a few years,
he wrote a book, the worst of her fears.
Her first reaction was about her sons,
and any negative communications.
On the day that the book was published,
to her two sons she instantly rushed.
Before, she had talked of the importance of love,
not showing that you had something to prove.
It was one of her greatest joys,
being a mother to her two boys.
After the divorce, her HRH title was removed,
which would have protected her with a bodyguard,
but her son assured her that when he was king
he would return the title without her asking.
After the divorce, in a letter to her butler,
she made it clear what her thoughts were.
She was “by the system battered and bruised,
and for the past 15 years, mentally abused.
But now she felt no resentment
or hatred from that torment.”
She thanked the prince sarcastically
for giving her the opportunity,
by putting her through such hell,
she had learned many lessons well.
And finally, as she assessed her past,
she realised she had gone forward fast.
Also, that she had retained some pride
about often remaining strong inside.
The ability to hold on and bounce back,
had kept her on a disintegrating track.
The horrible irony of finding her way
was that the story turned into a tragedy.
She died on August 31, nineteen ninety-seven,
almost exactly a year after the divorce was given.
Some redemption from this catastrophe
was that her sons carried on her legacy.
The princess died in a crashed car;
in a tunnel, it hit the thirteenth pillar.
A jury verdict, on which nine agreed,
didn’t actually mention speed.
The verdict was, “unlawful killing”,
and also “grossly negligent driving”.
We know who the people in the Mercedes were,
but who were the people in the following cars?
Not an “accidental death” as some Press declared,
but an “unlawful killing” the jury had agreed.