Andrew Morton’s continuation of his first biography of Diana is an in-depth study of Diana’s last five years. The author employs his formidable skills as a researcher and investigative writer to set down what is all too often an edgy tale of bad faith, betrayal and cynical manipulation.
In a life post-royalty, the Princess had to struggle against the media, the monarchy, and the constant feeling of threats that surrounded her, real or imagined. In an enticing and engaging revelation, Diana: In Pursuit of Love peeks into the complexity of life for the woman known after her death as The People’s Princess.
In one excerpt, as the author describes the life of those surrounding the Princess, he sums it up with:
“This was the scarred, suspicious landscape inhabited by the Princess, a bipolar world where she was celebrated one minute, consumed by plots the next; her home life both a refuge and an open prison, into which male friends had to be smuggled to avoid prying eyes.
“It had become a fact of her royal life, the climate becoming more malignant before the separation as Charles and Diana were consumed by the war of the Waleses. When they parted in 1992, their antagonism was recast in a different form, Diana’s qualms and concerns fed by the fact that there were now officially two separate camps….”
As the story continues, the author describes events in Diana’s life after the separation and in the subsequent years between then and the divorce, in August 1996–ironically, one year before her tragic death.
In the sad final portion, we see bits and pieces of the Princess’s legacy and objects of memorabilia trampled in the aftermath of her death as family members and supposedly trusted staff members take up the fight to gain control of its disposal.
What will be the final legacy of the People’s Princess? I think that time has shown us that the woman she was trying to be before her death is most remembered, rather than the characterizations of those who sought to besmirch her image.
While there were very few bits of “new” information (to me) in the book, reading it felt like a refresher course, with the benefit of retrospect to cast a new light on our perspective. I’m giving this one four stars.