Friday, June 29, 2007

Two Princes

Last weekend, I was re-watching the "Lost" finale and accidentally hit the "Live TV" button on the Tivo remote control. What popped up on-screen just so happened to be a replay of Matt Lauer's interview with Prince William and Prince Harry, which I had forgotten to record when it originally aired. It was fate that I hit the "Live TV" button! I then quickly pressed the red "Record" button to capture the show before returning to "Lost."

I was so curious to watch the interview with the princes that I stayed up way past my bedtime to do so that same night. Like many people, I remember where I was when I heard that Princess Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Al Fayed, had died, and I remember that my first thought was of the young princes - my heart broke for them. I cried and cried and cried. My dad just so happened to be in London that week and he took pictures of Kensington Palace - the entire lawn, the gates, the trees... EVERYWHERE there were flowers, stuffed animals, pictures of Diana - knee-deep in some places. I was there exactly one year later, and the outpouring was still overwhelming - the entire gate and front area of the Palace were covered with flowers and the crowd was still quite large - with many people crying. I also saw Mohamed Al Fayed (Dodi's father) during a dedication ceremony at Harrod's (which he owns) of a memorial to the couple. Today at Harrod's there is a statue of both of them, entitled "Innocent Victims."

Having read so much about Prince William and Harry in the past ten years, I feel oddly protective of them. I know that's silly because I don't KNOW them... I've never met them and I never will (and I'm not even British, though I think I was in a past life...), but I'm sure I'm not the only one who wishes the best for them. We've all seen them grow up in front of the cameras that it's hard not to have any interest in how they're doing. And that topic was much of the focus on Matt Lauer's interview: how does it feel to be them, and to live in the public eye constantly?

What I could gather from their responses was that since the princes have really never known anything other than paparazzi covering every move they make, they have made peace with it. They know that their mother "hated the cameras," and the irony that she died being chased by photographers is not lost on them. But they have taken in the high road in how they deal with the media - they claim not to read any of the tabloids because it's not worth the frustration, and they are surprisingly understanding about the public's obsession with Diana and the mysteries surrounds her death. I have to say that overall, I was extremely impressed by both of them. One thing that struck me as I watched the show was that I've never really heard them speak - to it was almost strange to hear their voices. It's really just been picture after picture after picture for nearly two decades since they were born, but they rarely give interviews. So it was cool to see a bit more of their personality - they were constantly poking fun at one another but were well-spoken and mature. I felt proud of them in the same strange way that I feel protective of them.

Their attempt to "control" the media and the messages that surround the tenth anniversary of their mother's death (on August 31st) has resulted in the Concert for Diana, slated for this Sunday (which would've been Diana's 46th birthday) at Wembley Stadium, a little outside of London. Everyone from Duran Duran to Kanye West to Rod Stewart will be performing (and even Fergie - see, the Royal Family loves guilty pleasures as well!) As William and Harry stated in a joint interview they gave about the event late last year, they want the concert to be a celebration of her life, and the "best birthday present" she'd ever had. I have no doubt that it will be.

- e

The Concert for Diana will also be telecast by dozens of broadcasters around the world, including NBC and VH1 in the United States, BBC1 in the United Kingdom, RTL 2 in Germany, and Nine Network in Australia.

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