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THE QUEEN (article first published : 2008-08-4)

On August 10 at 20h00, M-Net will screen the acclaimed movie, The Queen, directed in 2006 by Stephen Frears. Helen Mirren, James Cromwell, Michael Sheen, Alex Jennings

In August 1997, the world’s most photographed woman died in a car crash in Paris while being pursued by paparazzi. Although strictly speaking no longer a Royal, Diana was the British public’s “princess of hearts”, a woman who was like them: real, warm, and accessible.

As an unprecedented wave of grief washed over the country – and indeed the world – one family chose to keep their grief private. Queen Elizabeth II watched events unfold on television from her Scottish estate at Balmoral, while her husband, Prince Philip, took the young princes on hunting trips to take their minds off their mother’s death.

Meanwhile, back in London, newly-elected Prime Minister Tony Blair had to deal with increasing demands from the public that the Royal family show their grief in some tangible way. They wanted the Queen to fly the flag at Buckingham Palace at half-mast; to give Diana a public funeral; to say nice things about her former daughter-in-law … and when nothing happened, their anger grew to a point where the monarchy was in real danger of becoming irrelevant.




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