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  • Writer's pictureJessica Nacovsky

141: Comparing The Crown, Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words, and Spare

Howdy! I'm no monarchist but I've always loved learning about royal families. When The Crown came out on Netflix, it was inevitable that I'd watch it, and while I've generally preferred historical fiction over auto-biographies, I eventually got around to reading Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words and Spare. If you aren't familiar with these titles, The Crown is a show about Queen Elizabeth II's reign, Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words was originally published as a biography but later amended to an autobiography as more information regarding that writing process came to light after Diana's demise, and Spare is Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex' autobiography. While I minored in Art History, I'm no historian and I've followed their history casually, for entertainment purposes. I'm no expert on the subject.

I also have anti-billionaire biases and I view each story as obvious propaganda, an attempt to gain public sympathies. That The Crown was given the royal go-ahead to exist at all, let alone film on-site, means we, the audience, can take it for granted that the royal family had a say in what stories were told, and how. Bearing that in mind, as media to be consumed, The Crown was an evocative watch. I recommend it for anybody curious about the recent history of the U.K. and Commonwealth. Being a U.S. American, my education focused mainly on my homeland and I still don't fully understand what the Commonwealth even is.

Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words was very repetitive and difficult to get through. The original version of the book, when she was still denying any involvement, didn't contain her actual interviews, and instead summarized her story, as though it was told from many close sources. But that's not the copy I read. Mine featured her direct interviews, the summary thereof, then a general aftermath, updates on her life after the book came out, focusing also on her legacy after her death. While her story was interesting, and I didn't mind the casual manner of her quotes, I felt like I was being spoon-fed the same anecdotes on repeat. I can see the appeal of sharing her words, but I think the book would benefit from another round of edits, merging her interviews with the summary, adding facts after each of her statements, rather than the current format.

I don't know how heavy handed the editing of Spare was, but it's much more enjoyable to read. The writing feels casual, but is more formal and concise, than Diana's Story.

The Crown covered a wider range of time than Diana's Story and Spare but they largely focus on the same people. Obviously The Crown portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in a positive light, and Diana's Story said nothing directly to dispel that. She spoke highly of the person, her complaints focusing more on the flaws of then-Prince, now-King Charles, his relationship with Camilla, and a pattern of royal advisors failing to protect her from the harassment of the press. In Spare, Prince Harry calls out the neglect of his father to protect him from the onslaught of lies from the press, and also for allowing his own press office, and (now Queen?) Camilla's, to add to those rumors, for the betterment of their own reputations in contrast. He also, while generally avoiding insulting Prince William, shares many anecdotes that color his brother cold, with anger management issues. What's curious is that, towards the end of Spare, Harry describes three royal advisors who directly work with Queen Elizabeth II and he implies that they're pulling the strings of a woman in her 90s. At no point did The Crown hint that Queen Elizabeth II was mentally feeble, or easily led. Princess Margaret is a source of drama in The Crown, and kindness in Diana's Story, but shown in a such a way that is directly at odds with the coldness she expressed towards Diana in The Crown, and is barely touched on in Spare. According to Prince Harry, Princess Margaret was cold towards him, once gifting him a biro for Christmas, which is apparently a pen. He regretted their lack of a relationship, given the commonality between their roles.

The Crown touched on the abuses of the press but mainly following factual slip-ups on the part of the royal family whereas Harry points out many situations wherein the headlines about him were outright fabrications. Both Diana's Story and Spare bring up a much publicized rumor that Prince Harry was the result of an affair and therefore not King Charles' biological son, and break down a time line proving that the rumored alternative father wasn't even present then. In The Crown, the driving force behind Queen Elizabeth II's every action is the need to justify the existence of her role. The driving force behind Diana's Story is initially her need to earn her husband's love, jealousy over his in-no-way-subtle affair, acceptance that he'll never love her, and finding purpose after love, wherein she can use her royal-ish (post-divorce she was no longer royal) privilege for good. Throughout, her antagonist is then-Prince Charles. In Spare, Prince Harry's recollections amount to a stereotypical failure-to-launch until his marriage to Princess Megan, which isn't to say he's without accomplishments, just that his adult life didn't count amongst his royal peers until he fulfilled his duty to marry and reproduce. His foe is the press and anyone feeding them tales about him, which is revealed to be, at least partially, the royal family's individual press offices. Including those of, not just now-King Charles and Camilla, but also those on Prince William and Princess Kate. There was also an incident wherein Queen Elizabeth II's jewelry manager (I'm unclear on the proper title for this oddball position) fed the press a rumor against Megan as well.

I enjoy learning about conspiracy theories. While there are extremists that make those distrustful of the C.I.A. look crazy (take flat-earthers for instance), we have an incredible amount of documents revealing that what were once theories, have been revealed as unfortunately accurate portrayals of their actions. All that to say, I'm well aware of, and have considered the theory that King Charles, the royal family, or even MI5 had Diana assassinated. And, given her relationship to Dodi Fayed at the time, I can see the logic. Many have stated they believe King Charles killed her so he could marry Camilla, but he ended up having to wait another several yeas afterwards, so, even before reading Spare, I doubted that. But would MI5, or any conservative leaning body in power in the U.K. in the mid-late 90's have been comfortable with the idea that Princes William and Harry could've potentially have been raised by a Muslim? That they could have a little sibling raised as a Muslim? Conservative establishments are rife with bigotry. However, if I'm taking any of Spare at face value, then I do not believe King Charles, nor any other royal relative, had Diana killed, and this is because of the vitriol Prince Harry has for the press. Tabloids have abused not just the royals, but their less privileged peers to such an extent that one of Prince Harry's exes apparently committed suicide over it. And Prince Harry wholeheartedly blames Diana's death on the press. If the royals were capable of assassinating their enemies, if they were so willing, Prince Harry would've killed those most persistent paparazzi stalking him, as well as those publicly lying about him. This doesn't mean nobody cut Dodi Fayed's driver's breaks, but, as far as I'm concerned, it certainly wasn't at the bidding of a royal.

Have I watched Prince Harry's Oprah interview? I have not. Will I? Doubt it. I've seen the quotes circling regarding an unnamed royal family member sharing concerns over how Princess Megan's children would look, yes, meaning their skin color. Assuming Prince Harry didn't invent that anecdote, based off his book wherein every interaction between King Charles and Princess Megan went smoothly, my hunch is that the remark came from Prince William.

It's hard to read an autobiography and not be swayed in favor of the subject. And yes, I have sympathy for Prince Harry regarding how the press have treated him, and of course I'm sympathetic towards Princess Megan for the same reasons, but also for the racism she's faced. Still I stand by that the monarchy shouldn't exist. That doesn't change that they require around-the-clock security, one way or another, and ideally they should pay for it, but if unable, I can see having that be provided via local police as a public service, but not because they're royalty. Because they've been the target of a multitude of death threats, and I'd feel the same about anybody else similarly endangered. Our tax dollars should pay for the public good, and preventing murder is good.

I think the royal family should fund themselves, and be taxed just like everybody else. If they have to sell some of their many properties to do so, so be it. Or, they can receive tax funded payments for hours worked in the public sector, similar to diplomats, and be taxed. Those seem like the most contemporary solutions for justifying a nepotism based position in federal government. But I'm a U.S. American and my opinion means little here, so it certainly holds no water overseas.

Thanks for stopping by. I drop another blog post every Monday. Toodles!


Howdy! This past week I ordered new art supplies, started two new resin pieces, pulled the older resin piece from the mold, and I jumped back into editing Soul Walker, my paranormal women's fiction story. There is an issue with the resin from last week. I touched it before it was done drying, tried to smooth the fingerprint with rubbing alcohol and a paintbrush, which brushed the edges upwards, if that makes sense. Anyway, it's still sticky today so I'm leaving it alone. But I'm being careful not to touch the new two.

As for Soul Walker, I believe this is draft 10. I think I was up to draft 8 before I read Save The Cat: Writes a Novel, at which point I used the tips therein to edit it again. Hopefully I'm getting close to being done with this book. I began writing it in 2016 and it has been through a lot of changes since.

I'm still reading Coromandel Sea Change by Rumer Godden. It's a quirky story about aristocrats and service workers at a hotel in India and I believe it takes place in the mid 1900s. I also have Soul Mates and Fated Tides ready to read when I'm done with my current books. They're part of the Metaphysical Love Story series, by Sarah Faeth Sanders, an indie author. I know Fated Tides has pirates, so that'll be exciting! And a pleasant change from royal biographies.

I did apply for the Art Loop at First Friday in downtown Bryan TX for April but unfortunately, I've had to withdraw. My husband has a trip planned for then and I cannot drive. There is no feasible way for me to lug a tent, large folding table, folding chair, and several boxes of art work to downtown Bryan and back, so that's that. Better luck come May, I hope!

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