Belfast Telegraph

Windsors still in rehab after Diana

By Gail Walker

It's a bit like the Queen Mother. Except it's all in reverse. The memorial service for Diana, Princess of Wales, as they used to say in Northern Ireland, "passed off peacefully".

It was always going to be a high-risk affair, for all the glaringly obvious reasons.

Principally the fact the Windsors were running it. And they represent the institution most affected by Diana's spectacular life and career.

But there were other, er, sensitivities. The Spencers, for a start. Though the most rococo of that brood (the late Earl Spencer and Diana's step-grandmother Barbara Cartland) have gone to their reward, there are enough cannons of the loose variety, mainly her mouthy brother, Charles, to add a frisson to any formal occasion.

Then there's a discomfited Queen. An even more discomfited Prince Philip. And, well, the late Princess's ex-husband.

Throw in a few hundred of her friends who couldn't be invited and the Great Enemy who was but decided not to go, and you get some sense that this was never going to be an event as free from possible disruption as, say, a royal christening.

Yet it was a success. No one got shot.

But why is it like the Queen Mother only in reverse?

When HMQM died, the received opinion in the media was that no one would bother. Leave the old dear out for a night, let the Blitz veterans and a handful of royalty freaks file past and then get the funeral over with.

It didn't turn out like that.

With Diana, the media had been gearing up for most of the year, with supplements, DVDs, TV pseudo documentaries, the lot, hoping to cash in on what everyone knew to be the deep and wide appreciation of the Princess.

It may appear from the modest Windsor-organised event that the public has forgotten Diana.

Some have even taken the ceremony as evidence that Britain and its people have been restored to an emotional equilibrium much at odds with the rather distasteful hysteria of 10 years ago.

I'm sorry to report this is not so.

The Windsors are, so to speak, pulling it off. They had to rehabilitate themselves as people and as an institution with the British people after Diana's death. They are still negotiating their way gingerly through a minefield of public opinion. The last-minute withdrawal of Camilla was a recognition of just how dangerous the Diana issue still is. And it was the right move.

Do we still care about Diana, ask the carpers. Yes, the people do, drawing satisfaction from the irony that in the same way a young, betrayed wife once lamented that there were three people in her marriage ("so it was a bit crowded") , her long-time tormentor must now do the same. And, of course, it's worse, much worse. Diana's rival was, inexplicably, an old boiler. Camilla's other woman is a beautiful princess, preserved forever in death at the height of her powers.

There is a 'fingers in the ears, watching from behind the sofa' quality to many royal occasions nowadays.

The Diana concert, earlier in the summer, was mercifully free from that - but only because the late Princess's ex-husband wasn't there. It was left to his and her sons to work out their own contract with the British people as regards their mother.

But people do have a very keen understanding of the delicacy of the two boys' positions now, and are generous towards it.

It's just that most of us would rather not be put in the position publicly of eavesdropping on how they go about this.

Everybody cares one way or another about Diana. But not everybody is going to turn up outside the Guards' Chapel as if Diana was there.

Her status as icon, superstar and the People's Princess is not something that the Guards' Chapel or the Royals can detract from or add to; they just have to accommodate it.

The people managed to do that quite a long time ago.

Crying foul over Eamonn

Good on ya, Eamonn, ya ****$$£&! &%&£*!

Our very own Mr Morning TV Eamonn Holmes created a huge controversy after using some, er, salty vernacular in an interview with Maxim, including certain words beginning with 'f' and 'c'.

And the way some of the pundits behaved you would think that hordes of people were falling faint with the shock of it all.

Never has such language been heard on the streets of Belfast.

Quick, the smelling salts, the vicar has just told old Mrs Jones to take the scones she made for village fete and go and **** ***.

Well, not quite. Maybe overcome with the testosterone-fuelled pages of the lads' mag, Eamonn felt honour-bound to undermine his 'housewives' favourite' persona.

Or maybe he felt that, in the cut-throat world of TV, he needed to upgrade his street credibility by getting down and dirty with the lads. After all, it's not every media personality that Maxim would be bothered to interview. They probably felt they were getting as many kudos from him as he was from them.

Or could it be he was just being open about his feelings? It is interesting that his earthiest comments were about ex-Man City footballer Joey Barton, whom, I have it on good authority is no shrinking violet.

And Eamonn, after all, is not just a (part-time) sports anchorman but also passionately football daft. I suspect his choice vocabulary would not make the terraces of Windsor Park blanch at the horror of it all.

Oh yes, and the rest of his ire was reserved for the unquestionably saintly Mariah Carey, calling her one of his worst-ever interviewees. Hold the front page. Pampered Diva Forces Journalist to Swear - Shock Horror.

Eamonn has refused to comment for further on the 'furore' over the interview but did pointedly add: "It's definitely not misquoting me."

Which is rather classy and typical of the man.

He may be a potty-mouth, but at least he's an honest potty-mouth.

Now go away and don't make a *@%@*£% habit of it, Eamonn.

Time to look the other way, Helena

The world is not enough Part 74 ...

Former 'catwalk legend' Helena Christensen ruminates: "I hope we weren't supermodels because of our looks. That would be depressing."

Obviously, Helena, that would be just terrible.

Mmm, a model because of how you look?

Maybe Ms Christensen honestly expected more middle-aged frumps walking down the catwalks of Milan and Paris.

Or perhaps she is being just a tiny bit disingenuous.

It isn't enough to be mind-bogglingly beautiful, wealthy beyond dreams of avarice and face nothing more arduous than walking a hundred feet in a beautiful dress.

Au contraire, as they say in fashion circles, you have to be liked for the 'inner you'. Anything else would be 'depressing'.

Some people want jam on it, don't they?

Paying the price ...

Hooker Tyese (that's what it says here) Cunningham has kissed and told on her 'orgy' with Christiano Ronaldo and his Man United pals.

The experience left her feeling a little short-changed. Complaining about the lack of largesse from Ronaldo, she fumed: "They made me feel cheap. I've slept with about 200 clients and I've never been treated with such little respect. They didn't care about our feelings."

Oh, the problems of being a modern girl. But don't worry Tyese, at £150 per hour, you're honestly not that cheap ...

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