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‘Diana-Mania’ Spreads As Britain Awaits Death Anniversary

By Chidirim Ndeche with Agency Report 26 August 2017   |   9:00 am

The 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death has filled magazines, newspapers and television screens in Britain for weeks, but not only there: across Europe, media groups are marking the occasion, underlining her international appeal.

(FILES) This file photo taken on August 31, 1997 shows tributes plaved by the gates of Buckingham Palace in London 31 August 1997 after it was announced that Diana, Princess of Wales, and her companion, the Egyptian millionai film-producer Dodi al-Fayed, died in Paris after a midnight car crash.<br />Public anger at the monarchy following the death of Princess Diana marked a turning point for the royal family, forcing a revolution in its communications machine that helped revive the brand. As mourners left thousands of bouquets of flowers at the gates of Buckingham Palace and nearby Kensington Palace, after Diana’s death on August 31, 1997, the royal family were nowhere to be seen. / AFP PHOTO / GERRY PENNY

Britain’s celebrity press have offered special editions, supplements and reams of news articles picking over the impact of her tragic life and death as well as her relationships with her sons and Prince Charles.

The popularity of Charles, the heir to the British throne, has plunged as a result of the renewed attention on his former wife and their apparently loveless marriage.

In Europe, many media groups have commissioned documentaries, special reports or their own investigations two decades after her death in a Paris car crash on August 31, 1997.

(FILES) This file photo taken on March 6, 1996 shows Britain’s Diana, Princess of Wales, arriving at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Central London. From her engagement to Prince Charles as a shy teenager, to her roles as doting mother, humanitarian and global celebrity, Diana brought fresh energy but also instability to Britain’s royal family. But the acrimonious breakdown of her relationship with Charles, during which every salacious detail was played out in the world’s newspapers, would shake the monarchy to the core and cause her inner turmoil. / AFP PHOTO / Gerry PENNY

In Austria, public broadcaster ORF will screen several documentaries about the princess this week, including one entitled “Diana — Forever and Ever”, a retrospective of her life inside Buckingham Palace.

“It shows a life inside a golden cage, imprisoned by traditions, and Diana’s repeated attempts to break out of this golden cage,” ORF’s royal expert Lisbeth Bischoff said in a statement to AFP.

On August 31, the anniversary of her death, Radio Vienna will dedicate its entire programming to the princess, led by Austrian journalist and Diana fan Ewald Wurzinger who raised a monument to her in a Vienna park in 2013.

In France, the public channel France 2 will offer a day of programming about her on Sunday which is to include several documentaries and an investigation.

“Twenty years after, it’s time to look again at what she brought to the monarchy in spirit and who she was really,” said one of the channel’s royal experts, Stephane Bern.

He said her enduring appeal was her “tragic destiny” which put her among stars whose early deaths have immortalised them, such as American actresses Grace Kelly or Marilyn Monroe.

Matthias Gurtler, director of the celebrity weekly Gala, said the magazine had published a special edition on Diana in response to French interest in the British princess.

The attraction for her was linked to her image as a rebel and someone who “broke the rules in a stiff and uptight world,” he said.

(FILES) This file photo taken on August 31, 1997 shows shows the wreckage of the car that Britain’s Diana, Princess of Wales was travelling in along with Dodi Al-Fayed, in the Alma Tunnel in Paris. The 1997 car crash that killed Britain’s Princess Diana spawned a host of conspiracy theories, but evidence that it was an accident only grows stronger, bolstered by new revelations about the history of the vehicle. A book titled “Qui a Tue Lady Di?” (Who Killed Lady Di?), published in May, revealed that the Mercedes 280 had a previous owner and had been stolen twice before the fateful night of August 31, 1997, when Diana was killed along with her new Egyptian lover Dodi Al-Fayed. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE BOUSSEL

– Still of interest –
In Poland, women’s magazine Wysokie Obcasy put Diana on its front page this month.

“We’re taking the anniversary very seriously. Poles are still captivated by her,” said editor-in-chief Ewa Wieczorek. “Diana’s story is a modern-day fairy tale turned legend.”

One of Bulgaria’s most popular newspapers, 24 Chasa, recently published five pages of stories and a large photo spread about the BBC’s new documentary on Lady Diana and her sons.

“Princess Diana’s life and the circumstances of her death still interest the public, that’s why we wanted to be the first to run a large story,” 24 Chasa editor-in-chief Borislav Zumbulev told AFP.

Public broadcaster BNT will also screen the BBC documentary “Diana, 7 days” in which the princes talk about their mother’s death.

They have given a series of interviews in the run-up to the death anniversary, including for a separate documentary on Britain’s ITV channel, in which they open up about the last time they spoke to their mother and their relationship with her.

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Princess Diana
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