I've always been interested in Princess Diana but at the height of her publicity, I was still too young to have any other impression of her than those of fairy tales, a handsome prince and his princess. Then she died and the hype and mystery surrounding her death also kept me captivated for a while. I didn't think to read anything about her until a friend mentioned recently that he wanted to (thanks Mostafa). I figured now, as an adult, was a good time to read her story, understand the facts, and have a grownup perspective of what was really going on in the Princess's life.

I guess this review is going to be a mix of what I thought about Diana based on the book more than what I thought of the book itself. And it's going to contain spoilers because I don't know how to stress my emotional outrage while leaving them out. Is there such a thing as spoilers in an auto/biography, anyway?

Very interesting in the beginning— the actual transcript/interviews between Morton and Diana. It might have been the best part of the book because after that, things became redundant.

"Dubbed as the longest divorce petition of all time." That gave me a chuckle.

Firstly, I feel as if he exaggerated how horrible her childhood was to set the foundation for her immature/confused character later in the book. As if he was blaming her upbringing for her erratic actions later in life. Morton stated that Diana's fear was to be blamed for something and that's what I felt Morton was doing throughout the book: deflecting the blame from Diana. I still don't understand what was so bad about her childhood? That her parents divorced? That she was supposed to be born a boy? She was raised as an aristocrat and lived a privileged life. She had ponies and skiing holidays abroad. Her family mingled with royalty. Even her brother remembered her as a happy go lucky child at her funeral. Why the emphasis on what a sad childhood she had?

Second, WHY did she go through with the wedding when she knew that jerk was still in love with Camilla? She caught him several times during their engagement and even intercepted his (intimate) gift to Camilla the night before her wedding. Again, Morton deflects the blame saying Diana was young and immature. I didn't realize you had to be mature or experienced to know that if a guy is clinging onto his ex or sidepiece all throughout your engagement, that he's not good for you. It baffled me that someone who hated being in the public eye, someone who wanted a husband who loved and paid attention to her— someone who knew what she wanted— would choose to marry into the royal family, specifically Charles. From the very beginning of their courtship, Charles, through his actions, made it clear that he never loved her. That she will always be second or third or even last in his life. Well, according to Morton, that is. I guess the magical idea of marrying a prince trumpeted all her worries.

I despised the way the royal family alienated her, the way her husband completely ignored her. This book contained a lot of little details about Diana's miserable life inside the palace. The lonliness, especially during her battle with bulimia, the charade of being someone she was not. Morton uses the metaphor, a prisoner in a 'gilded cage', ad nauseum. She hated the protocol, she hated the press, she hated publicity, but I can't help but wonder what she expected when she married the Prince of Wales. Obviously not a life of seclusion. Diana hated everything about royalty except the way it gave her access to make an impact in the world and in people's lives, specifically the sick and the dying... and of course, the wealth her position brought her.

I sympathized with her. She was in an impossible situation in her private and public life. Still. There are two sides to every story and this one was clearly one-sided. On the Windsor's defense, Diana was emotionally unstable— the eating disorder, the loveless marriage, the suicide attempts— but Morton didn't dwell too long on that, blaming any insecurity or instability on her part on an unhappy childhood and lack of maturity. What really goes without saying is: If you choose to marry into a royal family, there will be a change of lifestyle and you basically need to get with the program. Diana did not want to, or couldn't handle it, or whatever the reason is, and she didn't know how to extricate herself.

Regarding the book, there were too many unnecessary details. It was hard to follow what happened in chronological order. Morton was redundant in laying out Diana's problems: the way the Establishment treated her, the unrelenting exposure in the media, and the 'other woman' in her husband's life. He could have saved us some time and made his point in lesser pages.

I'd probably want to read another book about her but one that's less one-sided so I can get a more balanced view of events. But according to this one, I'll say that:

The world will always love Diana for who she was and what she tried to accomplish in her short, public life. In her private life, she brought color and life and... normalcy to a dull, morose and uptight institution and the Windsors hated her for it. Drama. All drama with a very sad ending.