“Being a princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.” -Diana, Princess of Wales
If you’re like me, that whole Disney-style princess thing is one huge turnoff. I mean really, what self-respecting mother is going to teach her daughter that the ultimate happily-ever-after comes from catching the eye of a handsome prince and getting lucky enough to sit next to his throne for the rest of her life? Uh, no. I don’t think so. I’m way more excited about Tinkerbell and her little fairy BFFs who are adorably flawed (Tink has a bit of an anger management problem), are able to acknowledge the awesomeness of their individual gifts, and proudly use those gifts to make the world better for everyone.
It makes perfect sense to me that Diana Princess of Wales was, and remains, so incredibly adored worldwide. Diana was never content to simply be Prince Charles’ wife, but instead chose to behave more like a fairy princess, refusing to pretend she was flawless, and flying around the world using her powers to relieve human suffering–while encouraging us all to be more loving.
“Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life.” -Diana
“I will fight for my children on any level so they can reach their potential as human beings and in their public duties.” -Diana
Just 12 and 15 when they lost her, Diana’s influence on the boys did not fade as they matured. Both princes are now known for their humble and friendly approach to the public, and both have upheld their mother’s legacy of philanthropy by contributing time and money to HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, wildlife preservation, environmental protection, the inner-city disadvantaged, the homeless, and African poverty relief. Harry is co-founder of Sentebale, a joint effort with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho to help meet the needs of children orphaned by AIDS . Diana’s sons have honored their mother by serving those she would if she were here–underscoring their strong belief that the dead continue on in another life and guide those they left behind.
“I’m aware that people I have loved and have died are in the spirit world looking after me.” – Princess Diana
Though she died over 13 years ago, Diana’s legacy as devoted mother of these two grandsons of Windsor (who are second and third in line for the throne) has recently become the topic of much conversation, as her eldest William just announced his engagement to his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton. William proposed to Kate a few weeks ago while in Kenya, offering her the sapphire and diamond engagement ring his father Prince Charles had given his mother.
“She’s not going to be around to share in any of the fun and the excitement…so this is my way of keeping her sort of close to it all.” -Prince William
The wedding will take place in late April, not long after Mothering Sunday (the UK version of Mother’s day), a day that is extremely painful for William. Last year he celebrated the holiday by announcing his patronage of the Child Bereavement Charity, an organization co-founded by his mother a few years before she died. After several private meetings with bereaved families, he spent time with a group of children who lost parents or siblings. He spoke candidly with the youngsters, referring to Mother’s Day as an occasion of sadness and emptiness, and describing a loss like theirs as “one of the most difficult experiences anyone can endure.”
“Never being able to say the word ‘Mummy’ again in your life sounds like a small thing. However for many, including me, it is now really just a word – hollow and evoking only memories.” -William
Those who cherish the memory of Princess Diana will be watching with excitement and hope as William and Kate begin their lives together as man and wife, and though I’ve never considered myself a “royal watcher,” I must admit I’m eager to see a few years into the future when the couple become parents, something William says they certainly plan to do. That is when Mother’s Day will be transformed from an excruciating occasion into a bittersweet celebration. When the day is spent honoring the mother of his children and reminiscing about the amazing grandmother they didn’t get to meet, I suspect Mothering Sunday will take on a new and much more joyful spirit for the prince.
God willing, Prince William will be able to say the word “Mummy” again soon, and when he hears it from the mouths of his little ones, he may find it holds a magical quality that, like Tinkerbell’s pixie dust, will lift him high above his pain.