This month marks the seventeenth anniversary of Princess Diana’s tragic accident. Recently I took a group of Americans on a Culinary Trip to the UK and decided it had been long enough, I needed to visit Althorp and Princess Diana’s resting place. I had put it off for too long… through personal reasons. I had seen first hand the way Princess Diana’s brother Charles had turned away from her when she needed him.
Saddened that her brother hadn’t wanted her at Althorp in life but insisted on her being there in death, I was convinced that he would take care of her resting place out of pure guilt, if nothing else, but I was to be dissapointed. Needless to say, my heart felt like lead when I saw the island she was buried on in the center of “The Round Oval” lake at Althorp.
It was a mess and in my opinion no place for a Princess. The lake was full of algae and the trees and bushes on the island were an overgrown mess looking like they had never been trimmed since the day she was buried on the island. Even the memorial with blistered paint looked more like a ‘tatty old garden shed at the bottom of the garden’ than a shrine to the most photographed woman in the world.
There are two quotes on the wall of the memorial, one from the Princess and one from Earl Spencer… The latter gushing about how proud he was of his sister. In my opinion, placed there to overcome his guilt for refusing to let her have a house on the family estate when she was alive. He knows why he made her the offer and then rescinded it and I believe The Princess when she told me his reasons too while in tears in the kitchen after hearing the news.
I don’t know why I was surprised at seeing so many people waiting to visit the lake almost seventeen years after her death. I should have remembered how she touched peoples lives when she was alive. I talked with many of them, including the group I had travelled with. All seemed to agree it was sad that the Princess now seemed to be forgotten, even here at her resting place, even here at her family home, even here with her brother. The brother she comforted as a little boy when their parents divorced.
That’s what made me want to speak out and rant. And I did, through my Twitter account @DarrenMcGrady I was surprised, but thrilled my tweets were picked up by media as far away as Australia and the UK. I hoped and still do hope that Earl Spencer will see them and instruct his staff to clean up the lake.