Why do we keep tuning in? Why do we keep buying the magazines? Why do we keep checking out the pictures?
What is it about this child?
Perhaps the best way I can tell this is to tell what happened to me.
There I was, walking through the grocery store, when I was flagged down by this cute little picture of this scrawny young'un in a suit. Hair sticking out a little. Just as cute as could be. Sickeningly. He took pride in his disgusting cuteness. Attitude personified. My first thought was, "Diana Drop: The Next Generation." Ow. For reference, this is the April 1995 issue of People (US).
I get it and open it up when I have time and there's this child displaying the purest example of "more-royal-than-thou" picture taking. Not better-than-thou. Not-more-anything-else-than-thou. Just more-royal-than-thou. The distinct lack of amusement hung in the air. Like a strawberry in a dish of Eton Mess. I refer to the picture of him turning toward a photographer, nose firmly in the air, at Easter at Windsor Castle. 1994. The child was eleven. I said eleven. Go look at this picture. Eleven, I said. You could practically hear the clip-clop of horses pulling the carriages and the Royal Standard snapping in the wind. Those are two shots. Just two shots. After an articleful of these shots (anyone seen that "fluffy-white-animal-in-the-fingers, walking-along-the-sidewalk one on the Net?), I put it down. Picked it back up. Put it down. Picked it back up again. I'm well over the age where this child would be considered attractive in the usual way. Well. Skinny little thing. What?
Couldn't put it down. What was happening? My friends remember that summer well. My royal summer. Summer of 1995. The time she goes nuts. Zero to royalwatcher in 60 seconds. Grabbed a subscription to a London tabloid to see the reportage firsthand. There was a story here. Got so Icould scan People for royal content in five minutes flat. Flat. Started reading like mad. Andrew Morton. English history. Anything. Anything. Tell me about Mommy. Granny. The corgis. The staff. The castles. The arguments against the castles. The musicians. Anything. I was driving people crazy.
Everything from Anthony Burgess to Shakespeare. Beowulf. Trollope. Douglas Adams. Tell me about the soul of this land. I listened. I read. I pondered.
And Diana spoke. And the world went wild. Suffice it to say that I was grabbing media right and left. Every angle. Understand what the papers were saying. They were part of the story. It always is with an icon.
And Icon Junior started to emerge. What were they saying? What were they thinking? The cameras focused on him, as locked away at Eton as in any castle tower. Except for the occasional photo op for the subjects. The rest of the world began to get the idea.
What was going on with this kid? That uncanny ability of his to hold a camera started to show. Overcoat, tailcoat, or sweatpants, it was there. Better than Mommy, quite frankly. You saw England in the shot. What was England thinking? What was England feeling? Check it out. See what you think. I couldn't blame them for running the pictures.
D-I-V-O-R-C-E. Wow. How was she going to spend that $26 mil? And how was he handling it? It became, if you'll notice, de rigueur to check a pic of that blond-headed little barometer. How he was doing was how we were doing.
And don't tell me it wasn't. I saw it. Comparisons. Multiple times. These were events that were affecting us all. Icould take the latest William shot outside and check the first three people I saw and see in many ways the same facial patterns. The unconscious rules. Something was happening.
And then. "Waaah Day." "Crunch Day." "Diana Day." Whatever you want to call it. You can write the rest of the paragraph yourself.
Literally. That's the point.
What is happening here? I'm still trying to analyze. I have probably figured out the first 23 hours since that horrible pronouncement at that Paris hospital.
It may take the rest of my life to figure out the first week.
I've gotten this answer. That answer. Thanks. I'm still digging.
But I can tell you this. Not an analysis but a prediction.
Batten down the websites. Make sure you're on a server that doesn't go down. Watch your graphics for easy loading.
Make sure people can get in. We had sites crash under the load of Diana Day. Learn your lessons. Review what happened those first three days. And don't fool with bandwidth. You'll need it. I'm on Tripod and I ain't moving. If you're on Geo-Whatever, you may want to reconsider. Bad reputation.
Let's keep the rumors down. Most supercharged environment I've seen in ages. One, two, three, girls, he is not going out with Zara Whats-her-face!
And let's be careful out there.
This ain't over yet. Is it so unfashionable to see what's directly in front of your face? This child. Right now. Is bigger than Diana. Two months before the wedding.
As a very perceptive acquaintance of mine said, "There's hope for Britain yet."
What more need I say?
What more need I say?