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The Diana Chronicles

The Diana Chronicles - Tina Brown The Diana Chronicles
by Tina Brown
Publisher: Doubleday 2007
Hardcover: 542 Pages

As a mental health professional I’ve been naturally curious about Diana’s riveting appeal for so many, many different kinds of people; their devotion to her in life and death. Prior to this I’ve read excerpts of various books about her and Charles that seemed to be one dimensional and did not wet my interest enough to buy. This book coming out ten years after her death allows the author to have enough distance to see the full tapestry of Diana’s life. Tine Brown accomplishes this and presents the multidimensional person that was Diana, making it an interesting read/study.

Reading this book took me back to Graduate School when we were required to study abnormal Psychology. By the end of the semester we were all fining ourselves to some degree or another in many of the presented diagnoses. In reality it may have sent some into psychotherapy and rightly so.

In Diana’s case she carried such a burden of early unresolved loss and pain she suffered something for everybody. She experienced grief, emotional eating, bulimia, shame, anxiety, post partum depression, low self esteem, inflated self esteem and an underlying personality disorder. Unresolved childhood issues may not show up until we are propelled into stressful situations in life for which we do not have tools. Developmentally and emotionally we tend to get stuck in a much younger paradigm of functioning and so it was with Diana. As she was catapulted into the royal family and its rigidity and limelight she was as a lamb being led to slaughter.

Diana was not prepared emotionally or mentally for the royal life she chose or rather chose her. She fell in love with illusions, the prince, the princess, the castle, the dream. It wasn’t as though the royals set out to give her a hard time; they were what they were and have been for centuries. They were as troubled as she was, just in different ways. They are much more accustomed to denial and leaning on the structure of conditioning since birth to live a royal life.

Charles, though older was emotionally unable to fully engage with Diana and family. He saved all the emotional involvement of which he was capable for his mistress as it was safer. Affairs with a married lover, with its forbidden element are often quite intense and a lot of fun. I venture that Camilla with her ability to be quite manipulative has a much cooler relationship with Charles now that it is not forbidden. She may have some of the same complaints regarding Charles that Diana had.

Diana’s light was very, very bright and leaving a rich legacy of generosity, empathy and intuition admired and loved by many. At times her shadow self seemed to eclipse her star but not for long. Time and time again she was forgiven for her human frailties. She was out front and center in the limelight for us to project onto her our own illusions, sadness and our howling hurts. She did not understand her underpinnings sabotaged her possibilities for happiness by repeating behaviors that did not work. When something doesn’t work, more of the same won’t work. I recommend this book not for the glamour and glitter of Diana’s life but as a study of a women who in spite of great psychic pain got up in the morning and put one foot in front of the other and made her life count in spite of great odds. Although she was a princess with the accompanying luxuries, it was her compassion and ability to relate to the commoner that opened up a new paradigm of what it means to be “really royal”. Diana married a real life prince with all the illusions of being happy ever after and was left broken hearted. How many of us may with the belief of the “white picket fence” or somebody who will always be there for me illusion and get very disappointed. Nobody escapes the pain when we look to others for our happiness—Its an inside job. I recommend you examine the dynamics of Diana’s life and death and reflect on your life and what needs to be shored up. There’s a little Diana in everyone, we’re not so different as it is merely a matter of degrees.