For Britons too young to remember Dianaâs death, âsheâs basically like Grace of Monaco, but more recent,â said Mr. Power Sayeed, who has spoken to more than 50 people about their memories. âThey donât register just how much it matters, or how much she mattered.â
For those at least 30, however, Dianaâs death remains a cultural touchstone. âApart from people in their 20s or younger, itâs something that we all share,â Mr. Power Sayeed said. âEveryone wants to tell me about the moment they heard she died.â
Recent research by YouGov, one of Britainâs leading pollsters, appears to support part of Mr. Power Sayeedâs thesis. YouGov found that Britons over 50 were most likely to remember Diana for her reputation â as âthe Peopleâs Princess,â as she was branded by Tony Blair, Britainâs prime minister at the time, in the days following her death.
By contrast, those 18 to 24 were most likely to know her simply as someone who had died in a car crash.
The same generational disconnect was visible in last yearâs referendum to leave the European Union, when exit polls suggested that 75 percent of voters 18 to 24 had cast ballots to remain in the union â against 39 percent of people over 65. In Britainâs general election in June, over 60 percent of the 18- to 24-year-olds were estimated to have voted for the Labour Party, the left-wing opposition, compared to less than 30 percent of the older group.
This generational gap is also defined by a difference in economic opportunity. Younger Britons, for example, find it far harder to buy property than their parents did at their age. The average cost of a home in Britain is now 7.6 times the average annual salary â a ratio that has more than doubled in the past two decades.
Dianaâs death occurred just as many of these economic tensions began to emerge, said Shiv Malik, the…