December 24, 2011

{2011 & the Legacy of a Princess}

 [Below is the opening to the Introduction of my upcoming book: The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: Reframing Princess Diana's Legacy.]

I began this book a decade after Princess Diana’s death, tucked it away for a few years, and then began again with new inspiration looking toward 2011. A year that enlivened Diana’s energetic memory, 2011 marked pivotal rites-of-passage relating to her life: it would have been the year of her 50th birthday and the 30th anniversary of Diana and Prince Charles’ legendary wedding; it also was the year that their oldest son, William, married. As the world’s attention was drawn back to another archetypal royal wedding in the spring of 2011, over two billion of us witnessed this particularly intimate event celebrating the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton. And like a heaven’s script, the wedding became the latest “shared rite-of-passage” in Diana’s immense legacy.

Given the soul-searching nature of a rite-of-passage (these transformational life journeys that transport us to a new quality of ourselves), it is a piece of good fortune indeed when we have the chance to share in these royal passages that unfold on such a shimmering, balancing-act of a world stage. And given the archetypal nature of royalty (royals act as points of light that affect change for the masses), it was no small piece of this fortunate happening that we got to have our very own transforming moment as well.

Amid 2011’s tumultuous push for freedom and self-expression around the world, some thought the global excitement of the royal wedding seemed the year’s biggest anachronism. But the wedding and the relationship that emerged was revolutionary in its own right—continuing Diana’s legacy of change. William and Kate’s rite-of-passage marked a new paradigm in “relationships of the heart” and “marriage as partnership”—a revolution whose time had come.

With the spot-lit life of a charismatic, archetypal, even revolutionary princess as a backdrop, this book explores the bigger picture of what Diana’s life meant and what her vast (and sometimes surprising) legacy brings to the world. By reframing how we see Diana’s life as well as the archaic fairy-tale like stories surrounding it—the princess myth, the damsel in need of rescuing, the goddess bride, “happily ever after,” the dutiful wife and mother—then we get to learn and open and grow from what these discoveries reveal. In addition, as the historical role of women in general gets reframed in the shared connection of these stories, we become part of the legacy of a princess in unimagined ways—mythological and real.
And in a remarkably “shapeshifting” sort of way, we get to see how mythology and reality overlap and even merge. ~

[For more on why 2011 was a "shapeshifter" of a year, read the next post on December 31st.]

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