How Princess Diana's legacy lives on 20 years after her death: Andrew Morton
It was 20 years ago this month — August 31 — that Diana, the Princess of Wales, died tragically in a Paris car accident.
In 1992, Morton blew the lid off the royal household in his book, Diana: Her True Story, detailing Diana's unhappy marriage to Prince Charles, exposing his closeness to Camilla Parker Bowles, and revealing Diana's eating disorders and suicide attempts.
She was flawed, she was vulnerable, and yet she had the courage to take on the difficult challenges that she faced in her life.- Andrew Morton on Princess Diana's appeal
Morton tells The Current's host Megan Williams that Lady Diana's appeal and profound impact was more than just "a curious quality that you can call charisma."
"People followed this journey of this shy, blushing teenager who became an international icon, a humanitarian, but also someone who had difficulties in her private life, as we all know, with her husband, Prince Charles," Morton explains.
"Many people kind of associated their own lives with her life. They could see that their own difficulties were reflected in Diana's. Obviously, it wasn't quite a perfect comparison by any means, but nonetheless she was flawed, she was vulnerable, and yet she had the courage to take on the difficult challenges that she faced in her life."
I think that in Prince William you will see the flame of Diana continue well into this century.- Andrew Morton
Morton suggests the enduring impact of Lady Di's legacy is the result of her extraordinary personal transformation from a "two-dimensional clothes horse to her three-dimensional character who wants to be known for what she said rather than what she looked like."
The renowned compassion and humanity that defined the princess is evident in her eldest son, Morton points out, and serves as another example of how Diana's legacy lives on.
"I think that in Prince William you will see the flame of Diana continue well into this century."
Beyond her own extraordinary transformation, Morton credits Princess Diana for reshaping the image of the monarchy and shifting the culture.
"I think that what you might call Britain's stiff upper lip brigade ended with the funeral. And we have more of a trembling lower lip," says Morton, adding that Diana's death raised over $200 million CAD for 400 charities.
She's done far more to transform the monarchy than perhaps even the Queen.- Andrew Morton on Lady Di's impact
The commitment from Prince William and Harry to continue their mother's legacy and supporting mental health charities, while also speaking openly about their own struggles have contributed in Morton's view to "a more expressive nation, a more touchy-feely nation than we were perhaps 30 or 40 years ago."
"So in many respects, she's done far more to transform the monarchy than perhaps even the Queen in the 15 years or so that she was a member of that institution."
Listen to the full conversation near the top of this web post.
This segment was produced by The Current's Willow Smith and Ramraajh Sharvendiran.