Mark Steel: It's obvious whose fault it was that Diana died

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The Independent Online

Camilla has worked this out brilliantly. Not only has she got one of the best-paid jobs in the world for just the odd day's work, but she's been told, "This Friday, you must have the day off, is that understood?"

So she gets off having to attend a memorial for a woman she couldn't stand. Instead she'll be at her estate in Aberdeen where, a source says, "She'll have to be so careful not to be spotted out shopping or with the slightest smile on her face."

Nonsense. She should spend the day at Alton Towers. And she should time it so that during the minute's silence she's got her arms in the air and going "Wheeeeeee" on the water chute. Now she won't have to sit through some dreadful service, full of minor nobles reading out lines specially composed for the occasion, such as, "O sweet Diana, You touched all our hearts when it mattered, And we all shed a tear at the manner, In which you were tragically splattered."

The bickering between fans of Camilla and fans of Diana is more irrational than the squabbling between football fans. One friend of Diana was quoted as saying, "If it were not for Camilla, Diana would be alive today. Because if Camilla hadn't interfered with the marriage, Diana would still have been with Charles and wouldn't have been in Paris that night."

So it's her fault Diana's dead. Because Camilla must have known when she had sex with Charles, this would make Diana leave him and go out with a rugby player and a major and then a millionaire who was certain to buy her posh jewels in where else but Paris, where the tunnels are notoriously difficult to negotiate in a car that was bound to be driven at high speed as the paparazzi would be nearby and she must have known the driver liked a tipple so she practically murdered her with her own bare hands.

Many Diana fans seem to want to use the 10th anniversary to go through the whole episode again, and soon they'll probably set up re-enactment societies like these people who act out battles in the English Civil War, and tubby salesmen from Basingstoke will spend their weekends dressed as photographers and charging through underpasses.

This would make more sense than the two-page feature in one newspaper yesterday that consisted of interviews with the four pall-bearers from the funeral.

One of them, Ken, said, "We practised over and over because we knew everything had to be perfect." Unlike when they're carrying a normal corpse I suppose, and no one minds if they drop it, smash it, stick it together with Sellotape and bung it in a skip. He added, "The weight was unbearable, and to make matters worse, our shoulders were already wounded from rehearsals." So it's just as well she'd had colonic irrigation or it would have been even heavier. And there's bound to be another round of nutty articles, just like 10 years ago, with supposedly intelligent people writing stuff like, "Nelson Mandela may have been wrongly imprisoned all those years, but you Diana, sweet precious vulnerable flower, you were imprisoned in a darker cell, a dungeon of loneliness, a labyrinth of fear my pretty cactus, trapped in a Jihadist basement of a marriage while Camilla hovered above you like Al-Zarqawi's deadly sword, and through it all, my tender courgette, you taught us how to breathe, how to laugh, how to fearlessly sunbathe on a rich Egyptian's yacht, and while your glittering flesh may have left us, my sad weasel, we must all of us, every minute of our lives, strip naked and scream 'I am Diana'."

Liberal writers described her as a feminist, and even a Republican, though I remember thinking at the time, seeing as her ambition was for her son to become King, that must put her on the moderate wing of the republican movement.

Many people are complaining, because of the attempt to slide Camilla into the service, that the royals have "learned nothing" since Diana's death. But what can they learn? They're not just celebrities jostling for popularity, they're the heads of the state and the Church and the Commonwealth and they own Wales and Cornwall and most other things, and they're brought up to believe this is theirs by birthright, delivered by God. Everything they do is through duty to that cause, so love and emotion and other interfering human traits are all subordinate to that duty.

In other words they're all mad. For example, on the morning Diana died they carried on their normal rigmarole because that was their duty, like posh Terminators. If they even appear to act like humans it's because their public relations team has ordered them to. So they could start subjecting themselves to democracy, with the least popular each week being voted out of the family, when Davina McCall will show us their best bits such as, "Here you are watching Joe Pasquale at the Royal Variety Show."

Or to really boost their ratings they should get the memorial service scripted by the writers of EastEnders. Then just as the service begins, Camilla will come bursting in, drunk, trip over her high heels and yell, "Ten years that slag's been gone and she still gets more publicity than me," and collapse on the Queen, sobbing, "I've lost me bleedin' tiara," while Charles stands over her yelling, "Leave it doll, I told yer to leave it." Then Philip shouts, "Shut her up or do you want her to go the same way as the last one," then everyone looks stunned, the drums thud and we all have to wait until next week.

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