DI Voices | My mom, Princess Diana

By Nathaniel Langley, Opinions Editor

In my living room sits Princess Diana.

Situated in several homes over the years, “Diana: the Portrait,” perches itself triumphantly on its throne over countless coffee tables. Its white and pink cover strikes a vibrant counter to the turquoise coffee table our household presently possesses. Its pages relay the ethereal beauty which still shimmers despite her passing.

Growing up, my mom routinely disclosed her fateful encounter with Lady Di. On a trip with her sisters in Paris, my mom departed the city of lights mere hours before Diana herself would reach her catastrophic end. Although their distance remained great in that ordeal, their relationship and interconnectedness were instilled in me at a young age with my mom’s constant portrayal of their obscure bond.

It is not, however, the only significant overlap that fuels my perception of my mom as Princess Diana. Through continuous charitable acts and profound sacrifices, I witness my mom in Princess Diana and glimpse Diana through my mom.

I was born three years past Diana’s death, yet her life and vigor filled my childhood. Furthermore, various programs and specials on TV would relay the saintly ascendancy and tragedy the Princess exhibited; a command in vigor for which my mom gradually attained also was indicated.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

As all in society do, I pity the Princess’s fate. Subsequently, her familial downfall and spousal abuse were/are not unique.

A cheating and unstable husband thrust my mom into single-motherdom without warning. Beginning in 2005, the woman was subjected to a life with no instructions or counsel — and to which a path for clarity could never be cleared. Akin to Diana’s momentous separation from Prince Charles, early in life I equated my parent’s divorce with the royal uncoupling.

No matter how many TV shows or films depict Lady Di, none will encapsulate the isolated feeling which arrives for any woman divorcing an intolerable man — I, likewise, could never encapsulate the experience my mom sustained.

Still, the resolve and passion for a better life my mom and Diana wielded post-divorce are nothing short of miraculous.

Picking up the pieces, my mom sacrificed a life concentrated on a white-collar career in aspiration for a schedule and being revolved around my younger sister and me. Correspondingly, Diana and she shared a fascination for providing the best possible childhood given the conditions.

Although Princess Diana had royal resources and public solidarity at her bidding, my mom forged ahead with a self-established cleaning company and, years later, a school bus driver position.

There is little glamour in those strenuous situations, yet not even the most elegant fashion can compare to the impassioned charity my mom employed. She sought a life fixated on bettering my sister and me no matter the deprivations — not on materiality or continuing a dreadful marriage and for the sake of “wedded safety.”

Similar to the Diana who forever lingers in the living room, my mom’s reign was never flawless, yet it shaped who I am and aspire to be.

No individual is more powerful than a mother. Whether they are the People’s Princess or are a single mother toiling for her children’s future, the qualities of marvelous motherhood are seen in any who are dynamic and powerfully adaptive.

I endure forever grateful for the coffee table book which governs our quarters as well as for the matriarch who shares the shine of an exceptional figure.


Nathaniel is a junior in LAS.

[email protected]