I remember the morning of August 31st, 1997 so clearly. What started out as any other day quickly transformed into a day of sadness as I awoke to the sounds of sobs coming from the living room. I tip toed around the corner and could overhear my mom repeating to herself, “NO! NO! She’s dead. She’s dead. Why, lord? Why?”
I could barely make out the words through the tears that drowned them, and all I could see was my mother rocking back and forth while sitting there on the couch with her arms wrapped tightly around her chest as she listened to the news. From the severity of her tone, I thought it was a family member that passed, but it wasn’t.
“What’s wrong, Mommy?”
“Diana… my Diana… Princess Diana… She’s dead.” she said with a wet face, and a sorrow that only the deepest of all tragedies could ever evoke.
To my mom, Princess Diana was more than just the People’s Princess. She was her Princess. Coming to America from a small village in Italy made my mother feel out of place at a very young age. She never had groups of girlfriends, never had any role models, and never had anyone to look up to while she made her way through the new world she was thrown into at such an early age. She identified with Diana, not because of the similarities between them as surely there weren’t much, but because through Diana she found a friend. Someone to follow, someone to be proud of, and someone to aspire to be like.
Out of all the times I’ve seen my mother cry, this still remains to be the one time I can recall her crying the hardest. And she wasn’t alone. The whole world was in mourning. From such ugly news, something beautiful began to take shape. A sea of flowers was starting to form and everyone who could quickly grabbed some flowers of their own to contribute on the footsteps of Buckingham Palace, and those who couldn’t bowed their heads in silence and sollomnly shed more than a few tears.
It’s partly because of Diana’s death that people love Kate so much. It wasn’t until Kate came around that the reminder of what a People’s Princess looks like was brought to light once again. For years, the love and adoration of the Royal family, and any hopes of a fairy tale happy ending laid dormant. The ideal and representation of what a Princess truely is died along with Diana, and it wasn’t until we all started catching glimpses of Prince William’s mysterious new girlfriend that it slowly started to reawaken again.
Through Kate, Diana lives on and through Kate, we can all see what Diana would’ve wanted to see and experience for herself. She may not be the People’s Princess as no one could ever replace Diana, but she came from the people and turned into a Princess in her own right. It was the lost dreams that Diana couldn’t fulfill that seemed to get another chance through Kate, and the whole world wondered as the paparazzi followed her around if she would be the one to carry on her legacy and bear a descendent of Diana to one day claim the thrown.
The people already approved of Kate long before Will woke up and realized he’d never find anyone as spectacular and more deserving than her. She possesses the same qualities as Diana: Grace, class, elegance and a presence that screams “I am here” without ever having to say a word. She is beautiful, kind, giving and all the things Diana innately was. She makes William happy, and to us fans that was all that mattered. Anytime any mention of Kate came across the TV, I dropped everything I was doing to stop and watch.
When the news of their engagement broke and the world saw that iconic sapphire ring all over again, all the potential that died along with Diana was brought back to life. And I can only speak for myself, but seeing that ring live on and serve as the mark of a new beginning and a fresh start through an all new Princess that Diana would surely be proud of, brought tears to my eyes. My mother’s too of course, but this time those tears were out of joy.
Now I can’t wait to see what Kate wears to events, the messages she has to say during speeches, and to watch her children grow. Kate became the world’s biggest fashion icon without ever having to ask for the title, and that’s exactly what makes her so appealing.
Now, it is with deepest pride and greatest pleasure to call Kate an idol of my very own. And one day, I hope Giada can look up to Princess Charlotte the same way that I look up to her mom, & the same way my mother looked up to Diana.
There will never be another Diana. But Kate… well, she’s as close as anyone will ever get.
💋 Graziella H.
[This post was sponsored by Vital XII].