Letter: In Diana's memory
Monday 31 August 1998
It was a beautiful, warm, Russian summer morning, and for a moment it seemed that it was Russia that, for once, was living in reality and Britain that had gone completely mad. There seemed so much dignity and gravity in the way that children remembered the sacrifice of 26 million of their countrymen in the war, and it seemed so hysterical to bring Britain to the edge of its senses over the death of one women, who, after all, had done nothing to affect my life. War memorials in Russia are always looked after, especially on special days like Victory Day (9 May) and 1 September.
When I got the train and started reading, a man opposite realised I was foreign and started talking. "So, what a tragedy about her death, eh?" he said. I don't think he was impressed by my use of the Russian word skazka, meaning fairytale, to describe what I thought about the whole business. It reminded me of nothing as much as Stalin's death, I told him, with all the ridiculous hysteria that this had entailed.
It even got to Russia, with lots of young people signing the book of condolence at the embassy for a women they had never seen and knew little about beyond the soap opera foisted on us every week.
I hope that in 10 years the kids will still lay flowers on war memorials in Russia and the death of the Princess of Wales will be left for her family and friends to remember in peace instead of being turned into cheap gimmick.
filmIn Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 2 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer: What we know about JJ Abrams' film
Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
The Fall, series 2, episode 3 – TV review: The Gillian Anderson drama is starting to push the realms of plausibility, but who cares?
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'