Welcome to Part Eight of our audio adaptation of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade. On this weekend of the Duke of Edinburgh's Covid-constrained funeral, we look back to an ostensibly far more convulsive Royal death which, at least for a few weeks, caused the crown to lie uneasy.
It was easy to get caught up in the madness that swept London in the aftermath of the Princess of Wales's fatal car crash. And, as I say in today's instalment, I was not immune to that:
I began to have second thoughts about the Princess almost immediately after that assessment. And, as it turned out, I was too pessimistic about the Royal Family's post-Di prospects. The Queen is a wily old survivor. And by the time the Queen Mother died in 2002 and the people turned out to salute the last living symbol of the wartime leadership and their victory in that war, it was clear that Diana's stock had been somewhat overvalued, and that Her Majesty's subjects still heard what Lincoln called the 'mystic chords of memory'. Diana was a 'celebrity', and celebrity depends on living presence: once you're gone, the people move on – to new pop stars, new supermodels, new lights in their 'dark little tunnels'.
Mr and Mrs Markle would do well to heed that last bit. By contrast, the death of a 99-year-old retired naval officer seems freighted with far more longterm unease for the future of the monarchy. Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear me read Episode Eight by clicking here and logging-in.
Earlier instalments of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade can be found here - and thank you again for all your comments, thumbs up or down, on this latest serialization. Very much appreciated. If you'd like to know more about The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget, for fellow fans of classic fiction, video poetry and much more, our Steyn Club Gift Membership.
I'll see you back here tomorrow for our brand new Tale for Our Time - and next weekend for Part Nine of Mark Steyn's Passing Parade.