Diana’s Legacy: A Reshaped Monarchy, a More Emotional U.K.

As an example, Mr. Freedland pointed to the queen’s brief, witty appearance in a film for the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics, in which she greeted the actor Daniel Craig in his guise as James Bond and then appeared to parachute with him into Olympic Stadium (the first part was real; the parachuting was done by a stuntwoman.)

The new generation — namely Diana’s two sons, William and Harry, and William’s wife, Kate — has put a youthful, modern (at least by their standards) spin on what it means to be a royal person in 2017. They exude asexual wholesomeness (in the case of William and Kate) and bad-boy cheekiness (in the case of Harry), and give the appearance of working alongside, not in opposition of, public opinion.

They present as both curiously formal — Harry and William in their tailored suits; Kate in her dress-and-hat combos that make her look 20 years older; the royal children’s nanny in an amusingly old-fashioned uniform — and relatively normal, considering how not-normal their lives are.

Diana was considered disloyal and unhinged, an unguided missile, when she went on the BBC in 1995 to talk about her emotional distress. (“There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”) In a sign of how much things have changed, William and Harry are marking the anniversary by speaking publicly about their mother — with royal approval.

Her death also marked a turning point in the history of Britons’ relationship to their own ids, ushering in an era in which people have new license to express themselves and feelings can weigh more heavily than reason, Mr. Freedland said.


British tabloids after Diana’s death accused the queen of heartlessness.

Associated Press

“The reaction to her death is a preview of the Brexit landscape, in which emotion trumps…

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