7 September 1996
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Even though the polls in Britain seemed to confirm what some historians, experts
and republicans have been saying for sometime, that the monarchy had become less
consequential to the British people and as a result they cared less about what the
royals did or how the royal family acted, yet many still adored the Queen and the
Windsors. However, a newspaper poll found that fewer than 50% questioned said Britain
would be worse off without a royal family, quite a decline over the past three years.
For many Scots, Welsh, Irish, even English and millions in Europe, the United States
and indeed around the planet, the British royal family's embarrassments and foibles
are regarded as good entertainment. They followed and follow the British soap opera
loyally and avidly, almost insatiably and Diana was the super superstar. Diana, the
Princess of Wales, was irreplaceable! Diana was simultaneously the exceptional outsider
The Americans, the world at large and the entire British people, I reckon, genuinely
loved and adored her. I would not be altogether surprised if her sudden and tragic
death would make the British royal family much less popular because the accident
would add to the view that Diana was treated badly if not actually hounded out by
the British royal establishment.
For most people, including the British, the "public and unique" send-off
was no consolation. Diana deservedly merited more.
The fact that Prince Charles accompanied the body of his former wife home from Paris,
and was at Westminster was touching, laudable, noted and appreciated by the icon's
admirers all over the globe. I should think it never did once cross his mind that
he would perform this unimaginable role in his life. What Charles did was honourable
given the bitter open warfare between him and Diana following their unhappy union.
Diana's ripening beauty was admired by millions, including many good and gifted men
of her time. Her fairy-tale romance and marriage to Prince Charles, heir to the British
throne, now considered by many a diminished seat and her not-so-secret affair with
former English Calvary officer, Major James Hewitt, gave this ripe beauty far more
pain than happiness. The last one was with Mohamad Emad (Dodd) A1-Fayed, 41, an Arab-Egyptian
Diana met Dodi Al-Fayed, heir to billionaire Mohamad Al-Fayed, owner of Harrods,
the British prestigious store. During that short period she did appear to have found
happiness in the company of the Egyptian. Then, as suddenly as they began, they met
their brutal death - he instantly and she three hours afterwards, never regaining
A1-Fayed was buried within 24 hours of death complying with strict Muslim beliefs
that burial should take place as soon as possible. He was laid to rest at the Muslim
cemetery in Brookwood, Woking where many British Muslims and other Muslims are entombed.
Dodi was a nephew of the Saudi arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.
Chafing under the outmoded rules and the constraints imposed by the palace and court
protocols, her marriage was doomed largely contributed by menage-a-trois, (a marriage
wherein there are three parties). She was cast with insecurities, and became fragile
as her health suffered. She obtained a divorce with a good settlement, and started
to enjoy a lifestyle she had always wanted to pursue. But she was not destined to
live long to enjoy the elusive love and happiness she thought she had at last found.
The life of the world's truly superstar was quite brief; her superstardom lasted
just 16 years.
Diana was a good role model for young women for she was breathtakingly fresh, unconventional
and unconforming by any standards. She epitomised youth, vitality and the mode of
her time. And she was very devoted to whatever she undertook to do and proved it
by taking real personal risks in pursuit of her different causes: AIDS, land mines,
children, and homeless people, to mention just a few.
She insisted her two handsome sons - William and Harry - be raised as normal as possible
and one can observe that the two princes really enjoyed being together with their
mother during their various outings and vacations.
Diana said she wanted to be a Queen of the Hearts and she achieved it in life as
well as in death with her wide following throughout the globe. She has captivated
millions as no one has this century. Her beauty, easy manner, warm heart and her
ability to connect naturally and empathetically with peoples of all stations were
My wife and I consider ourselves privileged to have met this beautiful and caring
princess. Diana was easily the best known goddess of this century who was always
concerned to reach out to people in trouble and distress.
Diana was passionate in whatever she did. She did not do things simply for photo
opportunities, and I like to remember her as a modern princess of great beauty and
I have never seen anything like this in my life: the most visible outpouring of profound
international grief. I feel, like every one else, that a beacon of light has been
brutally and suddenly extinguished.
Sweet sleep, dear princess, and farewell! You will always be famous for simply being
Diana. You will live for a thousand years to captivate millions with your legacy
of good living and legend extraordinaire.
Dato' Abdullah Ahmad is Malaysia's Special Envoy to the
(This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of Sun