I recently had the privilege of working on a documentary about the late Princess Diana, which proved to be rather eye-opening on a number of levels. Like many people who grew up during the 1980’s and 1990’s, I was completely fascinated by her as a child, and her sudden and shocking death in 1997 left a lasting impression on me.
Over the years, she has indirectly touched my life in strange ways, the most notable being in 2001, when visiting Paris for the first time, I was nearly knocked down trying to cross a busy road near the Eiffel Tower. Not used to foreign conventions like driving on the opposite side of the road, I stepped into the street, only to be yanked swiftly back by my travelling companion, who was fortunately more switched on than I was and had seen the cars zooming out of the tunnel to our right. Once we had safely made it across the road, we headed up the slope to the Place de l’Alma, where we came across a monument shaped like a golden flame, on the top of the overpass. It was only when I read the inscriptions and written tributes surrounding the Flamme de la Liberté that I twigged that this was the tunnel where the fatal car accident that killed the princess and Dodi Fayed had taken place during that fateful night in August 1997.
In previous articles about eclipses, I have mentioned the strange connection between these soli-lunar events and the British royal family, Diana included – her wedding to Prince Charles took place two days after a solar eclipse (29 July 1981), and her first born, Prince William, arrived on the day of a solar eclipse on the 21st of June 1982. Charles and Diana formally separated on the day of an eclipse (9 December 1992) and Princess Diana died on the 31st of August 1997, one day before the solar eclipse of the 1st of September.
Conducting research into the last two years of her life, however, I was forced to confront the untainted, rather fantastical image I had of her as a child and see her for the complex, fragile and all too human individual that she was. When I first saw her astrology chart some years ago, I found it hard to believe that this was the person I had seen on television and in magazines – other than her obviously caring and nurturing Cancer Sun, I couldn’t relate the natal chart to the image of the woman I was presented with in the media. However, having recently had the opportunity of speaking to people that knew her, and read the detailed biographies written about her by journalists such as Tina Brown and Richard Kay, my natural inclination was to look at her natal chart again to make sense of everything.
NOTE: Here I should add that there is some discrepancy with regards to her time of birth. According to her first astrologer, Penny Thornton, Diana gave a birth time of 2:00pm. However, her this time was then corrected to 7.45 pm and confirmed in a letter to Charles Harvey from the Queen’s assistant press secretary as being from Diana’s mother. This is the time used by Debbie Frank, Diana’s astrologer for the last eight years of her life. As you can see, depending on what house system is used, her house cusps do change dramatically, so clearly some of the house placings I use here are somewhat elastic and open to interpretation.
DIANA’s NATAL CHART
With all this fresh insight into her motivation and character, for the first time, I could see why she had Sagittarius rising (enthusiastic, open-hearted, vivacious and athletic). Many people close to her described her as childlike and innocent, which can be true of Sagittarius, especially when combined with the Sun in Cancer – with this placement, people tend to become either very maternal or very childlike and need taking care of. Provided there are no other strong influences on the character, people with strong Sagittarius can sometimes be so honest and straightforward that they verge on the gullible and tactless. I think the combination of Sun in Cancer and Sagittarius AS probably made her very young at heart, as well as someone who liked to horse around and have a laugh and a joke.
LIKE MOTHER, LIKE SON
Very often, we find certain astrological patterns running through families, and in Diana’s case, I find it fascinating that Prince William also has the Sun in Cancer and Sagittarius rising. This may explain why the two polar opposite signs, Sagittarius and Gemini, seem to be so prominent for the Duke of Cambridge and his family (see my discussion about this in my blog about the imminent royal birth). It is also interesting that he has both the Sun and Moon in Cancer. This double dose of lunar energy suggests that his mother (both in life and death) had an enormous influence on him, especially in terms of his emotional development. This theme seems to be repeated in his new family: wife, Kate, has the Moon in Cancer, and his son, George happens to be a Sun Cancer. We’ll look more at William’s chart later on when we consider Diana’s legacy.
SHARP AS A PENCIL
At the same time as having Sag rising, Diana has Gemini on the Descendant (witty, sociable and media-savvy) and a Sun-Mercury conjunction in the 7th house of relationships (emotionally intelligent, expressive and relationship-oriented). This suggests that, despite constantly putting herself down and calling herself ‘thick as a plank’, Diana was actually very quick to catch onto new concepts and understand what made people tick – something that no doubt allowed her to be underestimated by many people of more obvious power and stature. Many who knew her claim that she had an instinctive approach to decision-making (Sun in Cancer) but that although she wasn’t academically gifted, she was astonishingly bright. One woman friend who knew her well told Sally Beddell Smith that Diana was “sharp as a sharp pencil” and “fast with repartee. She got the point of stories. She got the point of all the people in the room.” It was probably also what made her an arch-manipulator of the press and public relations.
Diana had a sense of the media, a strong sense of how the royals could get their image right. You never saw pictures of her coming out of nightclubs with her skirt up. She never looked a mess, or inappropriate. And she was very strict with her children when it came to manners.[v]
MARS-PLUTO: A DEEP DESIRE FOR LOVE
Those close to her also frequently referred to her tendency to behave impulsively, sometimes erratically, and occasionally veer between extremes. In her biography about Diana, Sally Beddell Smith writes:
Because of her quicksilver temperament, Diana could slip easily from one mood to another, confounding those around her. “If she would say we will do this or go here, she was totally reliable,” said fashion entrepreneur Roberto Devorik, a long-time friend. “But in her actions, she was like a roller coaster.” In his eulogy, her brother Charles lauded Diana’s “levelheadedness and strength.” In some circumstances-giving advice or supporting friends in distress-she admirably displayed these traits. In many other situations, usually those in which she was emotionally involved, she could as easily be irrational and weak. “She was a curious mixture of incredible maturity and immaturity, like a split personality,” said one of her friends. “It was so extraordinary how she handled ordinary people, but at the same time she did silly and childlike things. She was very impulsive.
The key here is “emotionally involved” which immediately brings the Moon to mind. The fact that Diana had the Moon in Aquarius – a rather unexpected position, given that that it is usually quite stand-offish and cool, and can often result in emotional distrust and a difficulty committing emotionally – seems to reinforce the Uranian aspect of her character and may explain why sometimes she could be quite rebellious, erratic and impulsive. I think the impulsive behaviour to which Oonagh and others have referred was very much triggered by a natal T-square in Diana’s birth horoscope which incorporates the Moon in Aquarius (2nd), Uranus in Leo (8th) and Venus in Taurus in the 5th house of love affairs and gambling. She was rather prone to getting caught up in love triangles, and such a natal placement, taking in the houses of love affairs, sex & intimacy and the planets governing relationships and emotions, points very much to this pattern. A Moon-Uranus square can often cause people to feel like emotional outsiders or have abandonment issues, which may explain her early experiences with her stepmother, Raine, whom her father married secretly without informing his children, and her description of her marriage to Prince Charles as being ‘quite crowded’ because of the constant shadow of Camilla Parker Bowles in the background. The fact that she had the Moon in the second house of self esteem and self worth is also significant because it does point to a deep-seated insecurity which baffled many people, given how beautiful she was and how adored she was by her public.
She is also said to have had a tendency to get fixated with people. The art dealer, Oliver Hoare, for instance, had to call the police after his home was bombarded by over 300 silent crank calls – thought to have been made by the Princess of Wales, after she supposedly developed an obsessive crush on him.[i] Such behaviour would not be out of character for someone with a Mars-Pluto conjunction in the 8th house, which can be associated with obsessive, often compulsive behaviour, especially in relation to sex and other people’s possessions. This is classic of people with strong Plutos and being in the 8th house of intimacy, which is naturally ruled by Scorpio, I can see why this was almost a driving need for her – it was a force over which she had little conscious control.
It also speaks of a deep need for intimacy, as well as latent healing abilities, if channelled in the right direction. Her former acupuncturist, Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo wrote in her biography that Diana was constantly in search of love and a close bond with that special someone. “She could not focus her life without love, and her capacity for it was enormous,” she writes in The Voice of Silence.
When her boys went away to school, she was lonely and forlorn. There was no partner to share the joys or sorrows of the day with … Diana’s judgement was impaired by this isolation. She had her flings and believed often in the wrong people.
Add to that a Libra Midheaven, it is not surprising that one of the things she strove for was fulfilling relationships, and with Venus in Taurus as ruler of her Midheaven in the 5th house, it seems natural that these would be predominantly expressed through love affairs and her bond with her sons. I remember being quite struck by the fact that her grandson, Prince George, has a Mercury-Mars-Jupiter conjunction in the 8th house – all at very similar degrees of Cancer to Diana’s Sun-Mercury conjunction – which made me suggest when I wrote about Prince George’s birth chart, that he may well play a key role in promoting Diana’s legacy one day. I wonder whether he too will have healing powers like his grandmother?
Unfortunately, Mars-Pluto can also be indicative of a vindictive streak, while a Moon-Uranus contact can easily result in the tendency to just up and leave, or suddenly cut people out of their lives – and there are many stories of how she would drop friends or get staff fired if she fell out with them or thought they had been disloyal. According to Richard Kay, who is quoted in a Vanity Fair article, Diana changed her mobile phone number every six months or so, which not only protected her from potential invasions of privacy but also served as “an incredibly effective way of dumping people.” According to Richard, towards the end of her life “she had cycled through many of her friends, owing to perceived or actual slights, and sometimes out of simple boredom” so that, “By the end, the number of friends she had you could count on one hand.”
NEPTUNE – GLAMOUR, SPIRITUALITY & A CALLING TO HELP OTHERS
On a more positive note, Diana’s Moon is trine to her Midheaven, which helps to explain her ability to know intuitively where she was heading in life and through her public profile, make a positive contribution to the humanitarian causes that were close to her heart. It is also clear from what some of the alternative therapists close to Diana have said, that she had a strong interest in spirituality and healing. According to Oonagh Toffolo, “Her spiritual life was very private and she got her strength from prayer and spiritual reading.”[ii] Certainly, many have commented on her enormous capacity for empathy, which is very clearly signified by a trine between her Sun-Mercury conjunction in caring Cancer in the 7th house and her natal Neptune in Scorpio. With the latter placed in the 10th house of career and aspiration, it seems that helping those less fortunate than her was nothing short of a vocation for her. Indeed, some claimed to have trained her to perform spiritual healing techniques, and that this is she was actually doing when she touched or held the sick, wounded and dying on her countless tours of hospital wards, cancer centres and hospices. Whatever is true, she certainly broke barriers down when she did things like touch AIDs patients without gloves and hug sick children – something that I think is possibly an expression of her MC-Uranus sextile. It is interesting that Uranus is so close to the North Node in her chart – it suggests a strong, almost karmic need to devote her life to making the world a better place by breaking down barriers and affecting change – something she certainly seem unafraid to do.
Neptune in the 10th house is, I think, also the key to Diana’s glamour and subtle allure, as well as being responsible for her sometimes uncanny ability to foretell the future. There are many instances quoted by biographers where Diana had flashes of clairvoyance or experienced a strange sense of foreboding, such as just before her father, Earl Spencer, had a stroke. Some of her friends and acquaintances also report that she seemed strangely certain about her marriage to Prince Charles – many people claim that she seemed absolutely convinced that she would marry him, even before they were even an item (her elder sister Sarah actually dated him first). She also told her father, Earl Spencer in her early teens that she would marry someone in the public eye. [iii] Many have put this down to an over-developed fantasy life fuelled by too many Barbara Cartland novels, but perhaps there was something else going on here – access to a different order of knowledge, which led her to these seemingly crazy conclusions which proved in the end to be right.
PREMONITION OF HER OWN DEATH?
Some say that Diana even foresaw her own death. Certainly, she told friends like Roberto Devorik, and wrote in a letter to her butler, Paul Burrell, that she feared that she would be killed in a car accident as part of a plot to get her out of the way and “make the path clear for Charles to marry”.[iv] Between 1995 and 1997, she became convinced that someone would tamper with the brakes of her car, leading to a fatal crash, which, in the wake of what did happen to her, does seem rather chilling. However, it could equally be seen as the result of her increasing paranoia, no doubt fuelled by frequent visits to innumerable dodgy psychics, along with the pressure she felt she was being put under by the establishment to be quiet, ‘behave’ and stop making waves about her marriage and politically sensitive topics like landmines.
Many, like Mohammed Al Fayed, have claimed that the princess’ death was anything but an accident, citing a vast array of conspiracy theories that point the finger at everyone from Prince Philip to MI5 and even the arms industry. With peace-loving Libra as ruler of Diana’s natal Midheaven, it is true that she definitely acted as a peacemaker and spokesperson for her various campaigns. It is perhaps no coincidence that just a few months after her death, the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, known as the Ottawa Treaty, was signed by over 40 countries, amongst them the UK[v] – something she had lobbied strongly for during the last few years of her life, most notably in January 1997 when she called for a ban on all landmines during a visit to Angola.[vi] But did her public work really get her killed? Let’s have a look at her transits around the time of her death to see if we can elicit any answers.
TRAGIC ACCIDENT OR CONSPIRACY PLOT?
Her tragic death came on the night of August 31st 1997 in Paris. At the time of her death, the Moon in Cancer, ruler of her 8th house (traditionally associated with death and legacies) was exactly conjunct her natal Cancer Sun (identity), while transiting Uranus in Aquarius, harbinger of sudden and unexplained events, was making a conjunction to Diana’s natal Jupiter, her chart ruler (physical body). Coming as it did just one day before the solar eclipse in Virgo on 1 September 1997, a sign considered to be a very malefic portent for royalty by the ancient Babylonians, this double attack on the two symbols representing her life force must surely be considered an ill omen.
To compound the matter further, transiting Uranus was opposed to the transiting Sun in Leo, which happened to be passing through Diana’s 8th house (death). At 4:07am, when Diana was officially pronounced dead, this Leo Sun, a symbol so emblematic of British royalty, was exactly square to Diana’s natal Neptune in Scorpio, a sign associated with death and spiritual transformation, but also, as we have discussed, a symbol of her public image and humanitarian work. Was ‘the firm’ trying, as she believed, to snuff her out because of what she stood for?
It is tempting to see transiting Mars, the lesser malefic, in the chart of August 1997, as a possible symbol of assassination, given how it sits on her Midheaven and makes a square to her natal Saturn in the first house. But then again, it could equally represent a terrible accident. Certainly, one can’t help but notice the squares between transiting Pluto in the 12th and Diana’s Mars-North node conjunction in the 8th, together with one to her natal Moon in the 2nd.
PLUTO SQUARES AND A BRUSH WITH DEATH
Most chillingly, as an astrologer, it is hard to overlook the fact that she was about to experience her Pluto square – one of the most challenging of the midlife transits — one that can often bring about the first intimations of mortality. Looking at Diana’s transits, I notice that when she died, her Pluto square was about to come into orb. In fact, it would have begun to make itself felt on the 10th of September 1997 – just a few weeks after she died. This aspect, whilst very seldom about literal death, is very much about clearing out deeply entrenched patterns and casting off old psychological habits or relationships that disempower you – a process that can sometimes bring out people’s survival instinct quite strongly. However, coming as it does at around 36 years of age, this transit does often often coincide with the death of a loved one or a symbolic brush with death, perhaps in the form of a health scare, serious accident or difficult illness, which often serves as a stark reminder that life is brief, and that time could be running out to accomplish all that you set out to do in your twenties. It has been documented that Diana was feeling just like this. She allegedly told a friend, Roberto Devorik that she feared for her own life, saying on a helicopter flight that he should cross his fingers because they might get blown up any minute. She also visited her lawyer to make a recorded meeting in 1995 in which she claimed that she had heard from ‘reliable sources’ within the intelligence services that she was in danger and that the establishment wanted her gotten rid of. One of her therapists also told me that she listened in on a telephone call from a senior official at the ministry of defence in which she was threatened with the phrase “accidents can happen.”
So, was she assassinated, as some believe?
THE 12TH HOUSE – PARANOIA AND SELF-UNDOING
Well, at first glance, it is hard to ignore the fact that her Pluto square takes place across her 8th house of death and her 12th house of secret enemies – a traditionally malefic house associated with scandal, hidden secrets, as well as death. As well as transiting through the 12th, Pluto also happens to rule the 12th house cusp (depending on what house system you use), so could be interpreted a rather strong symbol of exactly what Diana feared – being asssassinated by dark, unseen forces.
However, the 12th house is also the house of the psyche and of self-undoing. In Diana’s case, her natal 12th house happens to be ruled by Scorpio, which is one of the most paranoid and touchy of the zodiac signs. With a natal Mars-Pluto conjunction in the 8th house of death, and Pluto transiting the 12th house of sub-conscious fears, an overwhelming terror of death or of dark forces could well be one of the ways in which her Pluto square could have manifested itself. It is easy to see how, in the wake of her divorce from Prince Charles, which resulted in her being stripped of her HRH title, she may have felt more than a little vulnerable about her position in society, and indeed, worried about her future as a divorcee, especially given Sarah Ferguson’s experience when she divorced Prince Andrew.[vii]
Pluto is also very much a planet associated with betrayal and if you think about it, Diana may have perceived much of life to be a series of betrayals – from her mother leaving her children for another man to her father remarrying another woman without telling his children or inviting them to the wedding, to a husband whom she feared was having an affair behind her back, to the many friends, lovers and confidantes who sold her out to the media. I don’t think it a coincidence that she has a natal Pluto-Chiron opposition, which does suggest something of a persecution complex and a deep-seated fear of rejection. Very early on in her marriage to Prince Charles, when she was suffering from post-natal depression and a serious case of bulimia, he asked Laurens van der Post, his aged friend, to counsel her. Afterwards he told his daughter, Lucia that ‘Diana had shown “great paranoia” and had spent a lot of time “looking through keyholes.”[viii] Her paranoid state of mind may also not have been helped by the fact that she visited a string of “psychics, holistic healers, spiritual advisers and mediums during this period. Some were reputable – many others were charlatans and quacks.” It isn’t hard to see how some of them may have fed her paranoia with their irresponsible predictions of doom.[ix]
Although she may have been referred to as a ‘loose cannon’ by certain politicians, and allegedly threatened on the phone by the Conservative MP, Nicholas Soames (though he categorically denies this ever took place), this may well have been nothing more than bluster from a misogynous MP who didn’t appreciate a woman meddling in politics. Soames was named as one of the most vulgar and sexists MPs in a 2005 book about women in parliament.[x] The fact that he worked for the ministry of defence at the time that he made the call to Diana needs to be weighed up against the point that he was also once Equerry to Prince Charles and took his side in the ‘War of the Wales’.
MERCURY – MEDIA, CARS AND A TRAGIC ACCIDENT
Furthermore, any allegations of conspiracy were found to have little or no substance to them in 2008 by a judge and jury when the inquest into Diana’s death ruled it an accident caused by gross misconduct on the part of Henri Paul, the driver of the car, along with the reckless behaviour of the paparazzi[xi] who followed the vehicle into the tunnel on the back of motorbikes. The bodyguards who were hired to protect them that night also deny that there was any whiff of an assassination plot, the one finally choosing to leave the services of Mohammed Al Fayed because he refused to go along with all the conspiracy theories.[xii]
And here, it is hard to overlook the presence of transiting Mercury in Virgo (travelling, cars, media) on Diana’s natal Pluto in the 8th house (death), from where it opposes Chiron, the wound in Pisces. Courting media attention, represented by her Sun-Mercury conjunction, together with Neptune, ruler of the 3rd (self-expression) in her 10th house of fame and publicity, perhaps in a bid to make a former lover jealous (the link between her Venus and the Midheaven), may well have proven to be her weak spot, as symbolised by transiting Chiron, located in her 10th house and conjunct her Midheaven on the day that she died.
The day of Diana’s funeral is one of those days that many people my age remember very clearly – they knew exactly where they were and what they were doing with a vividness that comes only with intense emotional recall. On this day, the themes of Diana, Cancer and the Moon all seemed to come together again in Charles Spencer’s eulogy when he said:
It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana, perhaps the greatest was this – a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.
Tina Brown, the former editor of British Tatler and Vanity Fair, and author of The Diana Chronicles, makes an interesting point in her biography about Diana when she claims that on the night they died, Diana and Dodi left the safety of their suite at the Ritz no fewer than three times to venture out in public – once to view Dodi’s apartment on the Rue Arséne Houssaye, once to go to a restaurant called Chez Benoit before changing their mind and heading back to the Ritz, and again, just after midnight on that fateful journey through the Point De Alma.
That Diana and Dodi didn’t just remain closeted in their suite from the start for a quiet romantic evening — and that now, back in that haven, they don’t stay the night, rather than plunge themselves again into the vortex of media aggravation for a third time, as they are about to do – suggests an almost compulsive need to be seen.
Transiting Saturn in Aries (misfortune as a result of accidents, fire or sharp objects), conjunct Diana’s IC (falling into the grave, end of the matter) from the 3rd house of communication and self-expression, as well as short journeys, serves to further reinforce this, as does the conjunction between transiting Neptune (ruler of the 3rd house) in Capricorn and Diana’s natal Saturn in the first house of health/life force/the body. Brown’s assessment, together with that of Dodi’s uncle was that ‘both had the publicity bug’ and fed off the oxygen of publicity. This, together with the fact that the driver of the car had an extremely high blood alcohol level (3 times over the limit) and was not qualified to be a chauffeur, makes it clear that it was not just the paparazzi that were to blame for what happened, but rather that it was a perfect storm which led to an unfortunate and tragic accident.
THE FIRM & THE FOURTH ESTATE
Which brings us full circle to the question of the relationship between the media and the royal family, or as someone recently put it, “the first family and the fourth estate.” According to sources close to William and Harry, after Diana’s death, which brought about a major crisis within the British media industry around the question of privacy and media intrusion, the princes were understandably very angry about what had happened and like their uncle, Charles Spencer, blamed the paparazzi for the accident. Many say that the phone hacking scandal did little to erase this view from their minds. In fact, according to journalists, the whole experience has left Prince William so determined to protect his personal privacy and that of his family that it has, to quote a recent press article, “understandably become a virtual obsession.”[xiii]
Of course, it is easy for us to be so glib about it all when we are not the ones who have lost their mother to what was obviously a preventable tragedy. However, as Arthur Edwards, the photographer who has known the princes since they were babies, once said in an interview:
“Prince William is extremely shy and hates the media with a passion…William’s brother Harry has a much more spirited attitude to life. … He rushes in and knows no fear. He holds his head up at all times – even at the lowest points of his life. I remember when he and William, with their father, were looking at flowers and tributes outside Kensington Palace a few days after their mother’s death. Harry held his head up high but fought back the tears. Even at 12 years of age he shows great strength of character and has accepted his destiny. William could learn a lot from his younger brother in how to cope with the trials and tribulations that they will both face throughout the rest of their life.”[xiv]
WILLIAM – A MOTHER’S SON BUT ALSO HIS OWN MAN
I think it is important at this juncture to point out a few fundamental differences between William and Diana’s charts which may offer some additional reasons, beyond that of personal experience, for what appears to be their quite divergent attitudes towards the press and public life. While Diana and William both have the Sun in the 7th house, and share a Gemini Descendent, their luminaries combine very differently with the other planets in their horoscopes. Unlike his mother, who has a Sun-Mercury conjunction, which often gives an airy, more Geminian feel to the way the Sun expresses itself, (suggesting that Diana may have had a somewhat more analytical perspective about the realities of life in the public eye and the necessary evil of keeping the media onside to further her public causes), William has a Sun-Moon conjunction in Cancer making him much more emotional. This by itself is suggestive of someone who is quite private and introverted by nature. Add to this an extremely sensitive and quite reclusive Neptune in the 12th house, opposing the Sun, and we get the sense of someone with a very thin skin who feels terribly exposed under the glare of publicity and who can easily become overwhelmed by public attention or indeed, his relationships with others, to the point where he may feel as though his very identity is under threat.
Diana, by contrast, has quite a public Neptune in the 10th house, which I think explains her ability, much like Marilyn Monroe, to wear her vulnerability ‘on her sleeve’ and use it as a means of eliciting sympathy, even of seducing others –switching effortlessly between glamazon and victim, depending on her needs at the time. It is no accident that many described her as having the potential to be a great actress because of this chameleon-like quality. In this way, she reminds me a lot of Marilyn, a comparison that I am not alone in – I don’t think it is a coincidence that Sir Elton John sang ‘Candle in the Wind’ at her funeral, a song allegedly about the late Marilyn Monroe, who incidentally also died at the age of 36. According to some, Diana herself felt a strong affinity with the Hollywood actress, telling friends that she felt they were kindred spirits because of her battle with the Hollywood studios – for Diana, Marilyn was “another woman against the world.”[xv]
However, with Mars and Saturn in Libra, William is much stronger emotionally than his mother and probably is better at asserting himself and forming healthy boundaries within relationships – something it sounds like she wasn’t terribly good at, but is also probably the reason she was so empathetic with the poor, suffering and needy. Furthermore, while his mother’s chart ruler, Jupiter, is in humanitarian and democratic Aquarius, William’s Jupiter happens to be in secretive and touchy Scorpio, which speaks of someone who fervently believes in the right to privacy and needs to feel in control, perhaps to an obsessive degree – something that Stephen Hewlett asserts is the case in his documentary about the royal family’s love-hate relationship with the media, Reinventing the Royals.[xvi]
THE MOON & THE PEOPLE’S PRINCESS – DIANA’S MEMORY & LEGACY
Whatever did take place that dreadful August night in 1997, one thing is for sure – despite her all-too-human faults, Diana made a difference. As with many icons, it is always better to set aside their human failings and remember the contribution they made to society. Her legacy will continue to touch the lives of millions around the world, from the ground-breaking anti-landmine treaty that was ratified soon after her death, to the many charities that benefitted from her foundation.
For many women, Diana’s personal struggle to balance public with private life, and come to terms with a desperate need for love and affection in a modern age where gender roles are continually shifting, epitomises the plight faced by many modern women today. As the ‘people’s princess’, (crowds and the populace are incidentally, ruled by the Moon) Diana always felt she had more in common with ordinary people than the stuffy upper classes and this is what made her so appealing. It is interesting to me that in mundane astrology, the populace, crowds and public gatherings are all ruled by the Moon, and the fact that the ‘Queen of Hearts’ was born with the Sun in Cancer seems very fitting.
However, to those that knew her, her appeal lay beyond that of someone with ‘the common touch’ to something much more intangible: Many people describe an almost luminous quality about her, rather like a halo. According to her friend, Rosa Monckton, Diana’s ‘bright side was that of a luminous being.”[xvii] Rather aptly, the name Diana, named after the Roman Moon goddess, means ‘luminous or shining.’[xviii] Very often it is suffering that makes us more compassionate and empathetic, and Diana certainly endured her share of heartbreak and misery over the years. Tina Brown, her most recent biographer, obviously concurs, writing in The Diana Chronicles that, ‘pain made her luminous’.[xix]
Echoing these themes at her funeral, her brother, Charles Spencer said of her:
Diana explained to me once that it was her innermost feelings of suffering that made it possible for her to connect with her constituency of the rejected.”
And here we come to another truth about her. For all the status, the glamour, the applause, Diana remained throughout a very insecure person at heart, almost childlike in her desire to do good for others so she could release herself from deep feelings of unworthiness …
The world sensed this part of her character and cherished her for her vulnerability whilst admiring her for her honesty.
It has always been significant that during 1997, two key humanitarian figures passed away within a short time of each other – Princess Diana on August 31 and Mother Theresa, less than a week later, on September 5, 1997. Both were much-loved icons of compassion and nurturing who dedicated their lives to helping those less fortunate than themselves, and when they died, both were mourned by millions of people around the world. It is perhaps rather fitting then that Diana was buried with a rosary in her hand given to her by Mother Teresa, thereby somehow closing a circle.
The tunnel in which Diana died, the Pont De l’Alma means ‘Bridge of Souls’, which seems a fitting place to ‘cross over’ into the world of spirit. Although she was taken from the world too young, in a way, it has allowed us to remember her forever in a fairytale fashion. In the words of Martyn Gregory, author of Diana: The last days:
I think that because Diana died young, at the age of 36, she joins James Dean, JFK, Elvis and John Lennon, all icons who died young. And because she died young and in an accident, she and her memory is preserved as if an aspic – forever.[xx]
The romance of Neptune endures.
[iii] See this and other examples in the book by Richard Kay, Diana: The Untold Story, first published in serialised version by the Daily Mail, 1998.
[viii] As relayed by Tina Brown in The Diana Chronicles, p. 197
[xii] See the article by Martyn Gregory in the Dec 15 2006 issue of the Daily Mail.
[xiv] BBC – Q&A with Arthur Edwards – http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/diana_one_year_on/q_and_a/wed_response.stm