The Aug. 28 Style article “A people’s princess and a life in the spotlight,” about the relationship between Princess Diana and the media, helped perpetuate the myth that aggressive members of the media were responsible for her death. This was the narrative first presented to the public in the 72 hours following the fatal accident, cemented by Earl Spencer’s comment on the day of his sister’s death that every publisher and editor who encouraged the media’s pursuit of Diana had “blood on his hands.”
As the article noted, by the time of her death, the princess had been ignoring, tolerating or, on occasion, making use of journalists for more than a decade. She may well have been planning to ignore, tolerate or use them on the night she died. We will never know, because she and her companions were the victims of the reckless and criminal behavior of Henri Paul, who was driving their car at high speed despite being severely intoxicated. This was the actual cause of their deaths.
Over the years, many writers have focused on the culpability of the media and relegated Paul’s drunkenness to an afterthought. This is a shame. The princess should be remembered not as a martyr to the intrusive press, but instead as the most prominent victim of drunken driving, a danger that threatens us all.
Paul Kerrigan, Vienna