TONIGHT sees the start of what presumably will be a torrent of documentaries, newspaper articles and other media marking the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana.
We love anniversaries in this country and nobody does ritual like ‘the firm’ or the Royal Family, as they are more widely known.
Diana’s sons Prince William and Prince Harry will be speaking about one of the nation’s most loved and missed people in Diana, our Mother, her life and legacy.
Expect much sugar-coated talk of what a wonderful and caring young lady she was and how her passing was a total tragedy from such down-to-earth folk as Elton John and Rihanna as well as her sons themselves.
It will be yet another attempt to put a lid on speculation over what really happened to Diana that fateful night in Paris and to create an impression of harmony between the late Princess and ‘the firm’ two decades on.
Naturally Diana would be proud of William and Harry – that goes with parental territory – but is that the complete story?
Diana was lifting the lid – haphazardly and fatally – on what really goes on in the most famous family in the world.
She knew her life was in danger and shared that fear with a fair few people.
Even if, as seems probable, they didn’t include her two sons, they can scarcely be unaware that was indeed the situation.
So what do William and Harry know about the death of their mother?
That’s a fascinating question and one, I suspect, we will never get a satisfactory answer to should they take part in documentaries on the subject for the rest of their lives.
One person who does know more than virtually anyone is Paul Burrell, Diana’s former butler, who ironically is also in the news today after signing up for a new series of Dancing on Ice.
Burrell was famously confided in by Diana in a letter in 1996 which stated that ‘this particular phase of my life is the most dangerous’.
He was put on trial for allegedly stealing some of Diana’s possessions in 2011 before a truly incredible intervention by The Queen herself who suddenly remembered he had mentioned to her they had been put aside for safekeeping. Did I say ‘incredible’ or ‘incredulous’?
Burrell, I believe, is now back on side with ‘the firm’ ensuring the true version of events doesn’t come out in return for staying out of jail and on this planet.
Diana’s ‘rock’, as he called himself, has become something of a ‘hard place’. As long as he sticks to light entertainment, he won’t be skating on thin ice for more than a few weeks.
What is clear is that there was a manic rush for Diana’s possessions in the hours following her death.
The material Burrell has – or had – was explosive, very likely to include Diana’s much vaunted ‘secret that will shock the world’.
The reason the trial was suspended and then called off altogether was the fear he could defend himself by releasing information highly damaging to ‘the firm’.
There was no way The Crown was ever going to let that happen – hence The Queen’s farcical recovery of memory.
I’m not looking forward to tonight’s documentary – but I will watch it.
I will also read the sanctimonious rubbish that will keep our newspapers full over the next few weeks.
But 20 years on the truth about Diana’s last days on this violent planet and her eventual demise remains as elusive as ever – at least in the mainstream media.