Over 20 years after her death, people all over the world are still fascinated by Princess Diana. She shook up royal traditions with her charm and modern ways and quickly soared in popularity, even among those who didn’t consider themselves royal watchers. The Netflix documentary Royal House of Windsor explains that Diana and the rest of the royal family were very much aware of her popularity and sought to capitalize on it in their own ways. Express reports that among the ways Diana hoped to capitalize on her popularity in the future was a life that included some level of involvement in politics, as reflected in her own words.
Diana’s former private secretary, Patrick Jephson, described her as “the star of every dinner party and every event.” He spoke specifically of a cocktail party Diana attended during a tour of Egypt. It was hosted by an ambassador, and Jephson explained that she stole the hearts of everyone in attendance. The mere fact that she was at the party made it “the most social activity in the city that year.”
Diana’s image was seen by British ambassadors and businessmen as well as the royal family as an asset as she was seen as a modern, international face for a centuries-old institution. In Jephson’s words, she was the rare and precious combination of “duty and beauty,” and an “asset to British diplomacy.”
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Princess Diana’s popularity rubbed some in the royal family the wrong way, though, as she became more widely accepted and more loved by the general public than royals had historically been. According to Jephson, she must have been very much aware of the friction she caused, but it didn’t stop her from wanting to use her popularity to positively impact the world. In the Netflix documentary, Jephson spoke of a letter he wrote for Diana in which she spoke of some aspirations she had for life after divorcing Prince Charles.
“I do hope my short tour will have made some contribution to your aims. Please be in no doubt of my gratitude for the opportunity, such a visit gives me to broaden my own horizons, or my readiness to give my support to our foreign policy in any way you think would be helpful.”
The statements seem to indicate her willingness and hope that she can, at some point in the future, play a role in politics and to support international relations in any way she could.