A book on Diana

I enjoy biographies and autobiographies. I’ve never read about princess Diana. I understand there are a lot of books out there about her, but I want a good one, not sensational. Anyone?

I really enjoyed this book about her style and fashion, but, for the life of me, I can’t remember the name of it. Seems like there was some sort of play on her name, but I can’t find it. I’ll keep trying, though. Not sensationalist at all, just a good read with some photos/drawings of her outfits and how they came to be.

Why don’t you try the Andrew Morton book? She gave him numerous interviews for it.

DianaStyle, with an intro by Manolo Blahnik!

In fact, more recent editions include the text of those interviews, which are a close to an autobiography we’ll ever get.

Diana was funny. If I knew her in real life, I probably wouldn’t have liked her all that much. Aside from not having much in common in our backgrounds, she wasn’t all that bright, didn’t like the things I liked, wasn’t interested in what I am interested in, and generally wouldn’t be someone I’d pal around with.

And yet… I still have the books. From the pre-wedding stuff to memorial issues of People, etc.

There was something about her.

And oh! Those clothes… wonderful, wonderful clothes and hats and shoes and tiaras…

Long story, shortened: try the Andrew Morton book, yes. Also it’s fun to look at books on her clothes. I’d take the 80s back again for those clothes.

Third the Andrew Morton suggestion. She reportedly spoon fed him most of the information.

The Morton book–the edition reissued after her death, with the transcripts of the tapes she recorded for him–is indispensable. As Morton himself said, it’s the closest we’ll ever get to her autobiography.

For something a bit more objective, Tina Brown’s The Diana Chronicles is at least quite thorough, and should be easy to obtain. Avoid the Penny Junor bio; she’s a Prince Charles partisan. In general, avoid accounts by people who worked for her or who claim intimate acquaintance (sexual or otherwise); some of them are sleazy (James Hewitt, ick) and all of them are full of unverifiable gossip.

There have been any number of photography and fashion-oriented books about her; I was never that into the clothes, so I can’t recommend one. A wander through a large used-book store, if you can manage it, might be rewarding.

For whatever reason, the book about her I dip into most often is Requiem, edited by Brian MacArthur, a collection of “memories and tributes” and reactions to her death. They range from the public-record stuff (editorials, official statements, her brother’s eulogy, the queen’s speech) to essays by personal friends; there’s a few poems (Maya Angelou’s is a bit embarrassing) and a surprisingly touching piece from the Independent in the voice of Bridget Jones (“Is unbelievable. Diana Dies is just not the kind of thing she would do.”). Not a biography, but interesting.