Like almost everyone else with a Netflix account, I adore “The Crown.” The series hooked me from the start, because it’s truly an example of truth being stranger than fiction. The history of the British royal family is just captivating. But this season, I was especially interested because I knew the show would be focused more on the tragic story of Princess Diana.
I was eight when Princess Diana died, and it’s one of the first news events I remember. My parents and I were at a lake house that my mom’s family owned. There were no newspapers or internet, so I’m not sure how my parents heard about the crash. But after finding out they were glued to the tiny old television that was never turned on at the lake, adjusting the rabbit ears to try to get a clear picture of the muddled news. A few days later when I saw a newspaper picture of Diana’s coffin with a handmade note that said “Mummy,” I was devastated thinking of her sons, who were only slightly older than me.
Now, as an adult and mom of two myself, I was eager to learn more about Princess Diana from “The Crown,” but I had no idea about the heartbreak and turmoil I’d witness. After watching the season I went further down the Diana rabbit hole, listening to podcasts about her, hoping for answers but seeing only more sadness. As someone who’s generally doesn’t care at all about celebrity culture, I wondered why I was so compelled by Diana’s story. Ultimately, I realized that I just found Princess Diana’s story of motherhood incredibly relatable, even more than two decades after her death. Here’s why:
She Was So Vulnerable In Motherhood
Whether you had a great mom or no mom at all, becoming a mother yourself can really rock you. Every mom has wondered at one point or another whether she’s doing it right, or whether she’s causing irreparable damage to her kids. Diana, who was so poised in the spotlight, was just like all of us in this way. Watching her do her best to give her boys a warm and loving childhood despite her own tough past and the confines of the royal family spoke to the part of every mom that is always working to do better for her kids.
She Was Caught Up In A System
When you see teenage Diana becoming enfolded in the royal family, you just want to rescue her. The scene of her rollerskating in Buckingham palace — looking for some normalcy but trapped in a system that she couldn’t escape — was heartbreaking.
Most of us haven’t suddenly become royalty, but many of us have experienced the sensation of being caught up in a system that took us by surprise. Maybe it’s the way that the patriarchy still shapes our lives; maybe it’s alliance to a certain parenting style that actually isn’t all that beneficial; maybe it’s pressure to stay in a certain career path or having the type of family that others expect you to have. Unfortunately, being overwhelmed and overpowered by something we don’t actually want is common for moms and women in general.
She Was Hurting
When we become mothers, we all bring our past pain and trauma into the experience. Many of us experience new challenges with postpartum depression, or even just the adjustment to our new bodies after growing and nursing babies. Diana seemingly had it all, but was still open about her mental health struggles. Learning about her story it’s easy to see that motherhood is difficult, no matter how much privilege you have.
She Was Expected To Keep Up Appearances
Despite the pain that Princess Diana was feeling, she was expected to put on a happy face. For every mother who has been told that they have enough, that they should just be grateful, or that they’re not entitled to ask for more, seeing Diana on screen is a reminder that no one besides ourselves can define happiness for us.
I know there’s no happy ending coming to Diana’s story on “The Crown.” But I’m still looking forward to season five, with it’s honest, complex and truthful depiction of motherhood.
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