A Trip Down Memory Lane

A Royal Obsession

It was in 1981 that I first took an interest in Princess Diana. I was nine years old and we were on holiday in Torquay. There was quite a furore in the guest house where we were staying: Prince Charles and Lady Diana were getting married that week, and everyone staying there was invited to watch the wedding on the TV in the guest lounge.

I remember watching as Diana walked up the steps to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Here was a real-life princess. She was utterly beautiful and amazing, and the most wonderful being on Earth. There was a bridesmaid about my age and I recall daydreaming about being her and how wonderful it must have been to be part of it.

When we arrived back home, I bought a scrapbook. It was bright red, and the first of many that would be crammed full of photos of Princess Diana. Dad took The Daily Telegraph (as it was known in those days) and read the paper from cover to cover. He let me have it when he’d finished with it the next day. I would then painstakingly (I didn’t want to risk missing anything about her) go through the newspaper looking for photos and news snippets about the princess. It didn’t matter what the report was about – it would go in the scrapbook.

I saved up my pocket money and bought postcards of her and, as a special treat, I’d sometimes buy Majesty magazine (a magazine on the royal family. It was rather expensive so I only bought it if there were lots of photos of Princess Diana as I wanted some money left over for sweets). Then came a comic/magazine devoted to children who loved Diana. I can’t remember what it was called now, but I thought it was the best thing ever. I’d walk up the hill to the newsagents after school, excitement building that the latest copy might be there. If it was, I’d race home and devour it the minute I was through the door.

Mum bought me several books on Princess Diana for birthdays and Christmas, and I loved looking at the glossy photos and reading all about her.  

I always thought Diana looked a little lonely and when Sarah Ferguson came on the scene, I hoped she and Diana would be friends. I liked ‘Fergie’ as she became known, but it was Princess Diana who held a special place in my heart – and scrapbook, so photos and reports of Sarah weren’t added to the ever growing pile of scrapbooks.

Though it didn’t stop me wanting to see Sarah’s wedding. It was a school day so I knew I’d miss it. Then Mum announced she had the day off as our new three-piece suite was coming. I can’t recall what I said to Mum, but she agreed to let me have the day off school. I don’t think I believed her at first; she’d never let me do anything like that before, and I’d only missed the odd day of school through illness. But I wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth.

The big day finally arrived. We’d gotten rid of the old sofa ready for the new one. Mum and I hoped it would arrive in time for us to sit in comfort for the royal wedding rather than perching on the floor! The delivery men didn’t disappoint and so there were Mum and I, enjoying the softness of the sofa, eating warm buttered scones just out the oven, watching the wedding.

I’m not sure when I stopped filling scrapbooks or when my eager interest in the princess waned. I still thought she was an amazing role model, but I didn’t feel the need to devour everything I could find about her. I think it’s just a matter of growing up and other interests taking over.

I was upset by her death, as many of us were, and watched the funeral with tears streaming down my face. She may no longer be with us, and I no longer cut out photos of her from newspapers and magazines, but when I think about her now, I remember her kindness and the warmth and love that radiated from her.

I didn’t keep my Diana memorabilia. I sometimes wish I had; I’d love to look through the scrapbooks now, forty years on. But I have happy memories of that time – and Pritt Stick did very well out of me!

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13 Responses to A Trip Down Memory Lane

  1. Kim Smyth says:

    Wow, you were obsessed! Someone is getting rich off your scrapbook I’m sure!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Darlene says:

    My daughter was in awe of her as well. It was hern who called us that fateful day to let us know of her death, as we were on our boat. It was a very sad time even all the way over in Canada. I can’t believe its been 25 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. TanGental says:

    it’s easy to forget those times and how engaging they were, but boy were you a groupie!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Simon says:

    It’s shame we don’t keep these things…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I was serving in the Royal Engineers in Herford in West Germany when Charles and Diana married. Many of us were allowed the day off.
    The Eastern Bloc should have chosen that day to invade!
    It was a fantastic event to watch and to feel a part of.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Hi Esther, a lovely post. I also watched both royal weddings with great interest. I never wanted to be a princess though, well not of the house of Windsor, in any event. I wanted to be a Native American princess called Princess Peach Blossom and my sister would be Princess Cherry Blossom. Funny things we want as kids. Now, I can’t think of anything worse than having a life in the public eye all the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. SexagenarianScribbler says:

    I too was obsessed with Diana. I first saw her at Burleigh Horse Trials, when she got out of her car right in front of me.
    We’d often go to Sandringham at Christmas to see the Royals walk to church, and one year my younger son gave her flowers.

    I was away for the weekend when Diana was killed, I remember just wanting to come home, and sobbing for days.
    I was one of the estimated million people who lined the streets of London for her funeral, an account can be found on: sexegenarianscribbler.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

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