Flowers were piled knee-deep at the gates of the royal palaces; grown men wept openly in the streets; mild-mannered citizens inveighed against the usually blameless queen for what they believed was an inadequate response to a national crisis.
But her Death also opened a door, for better or worse, for the country to become more emotional and expressive, and more inclined to value gut feeling over expert opinion even in such matters as “Brexit,” its vote last year to leave the European Union.
A Diana-watcher reports that the Princess, her identity muted by a voluminous head scarf, regularly visited the grave of the police protection officer whom she loved and who died in what she believed was an “establishment plot,” but was really just a motorcycle accident.
“Show Us You Care,” The Daily Express said in its emblematic headline, imploring a staid queen, who had never once let down her guard in public, to address the nation and lower all her flags to half-staff, even as every fiber of her deeply conservative being militated against it.
They present as both curiously formal — Harry and William in their tailored suits; Kate in her dress-and-hat combos that make her look 20 years older; the royal children’s nanny in an amusingly old-fashioned uniform — and relatively normal, considering how not-normal their lives are.
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