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The Meaning Of Diana

It was an extraordinary episode but what does it tell us? Prospect writers (and guests) try to make some sense of the events of the past few weeks

By Michael Ignatieff   October 1997

Michael Ignatieff

The British public wanted a grand send-off for her because they wanted something better for themselves

It was impossible to stand outside her death. Irony suddenly became impossible. People who went to bed on Saturday night thinking, if they thought about her at all, that she was a foolish and inconsequential woman woke up on Sunday morning to find themselves ambushed by their own emotions. She died a horrible death which upset even those who had been unmoved by her life.

The emotions which overwhelmed the country were large but they were never simple. It…

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