Newsweek readers likely did a double-take when they saw the July 4/July 11 double issue this month. It even looks like newly minted royal Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, did the same, for standing next to the burgeoning young fashion plate is the dearly departed People’s Princess.
For some reason, the news magazine felt a proper tribute to Diana on her 50th birthday would be to Photoshop her (rather crudely) to show how she would have aged were she still with us and place her in a recent photograph of her daughter-in-law–and then put that composite image on the cover.
But the fabricated reality didn’t end there. Magazine editor-in-chief Tina Brown conjectured that Diana would have embraced social media, going so far as to create Facebook and Twitter pages on her behalf, complete with what the beloved princess might have posted via status updates and tweets. And in doing so, what else would she have but an iPhone, which she’s pictured with (again thanks to Photoshop) in the article “Diana at 50″ inside the issue.
For all of the good that Diana did through the charity she so freely gave and taught her boys, the unity she brought to her nation (and others) in life and death–Newsweek instead chose to put a tasteless “Real Housewives” spin on her memory. She gets Botox, she works out, she’s had a string of billionaire boyfriends, even a couple of husbands.
The aging beauty and former hubby Prince Charles have made amends. She and the mistress, Camilla Parker Bowles, are Facebook friends. Kate’s mum is her new BFF. She’s got her eye on young up-and-comers on the international scene who could threaten her alpha status. And on and on. That we could do without.
Yes, the magazine asserts, she’s still very driven by her hands-on philanthropic work. Not much of a stretch there. But that spirit, that legacy continues to live on without the what-ifs, making whatever resurrecting Newsweek felt like had to be done a little sensational–a sentiment echoed by a number of readers.
It’s really nothing much like a tribute you’d expect for Diana on what would be her 50th birthday. Especially not after the personal suffering she endured so publicly, nor the tragic end that came much too soon.