"THE TWO most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why," said Mark Twain.
IF YOU listen to news reports, the entire world -- Britain and the United States in particular -- was insane waiting for the birth of the Royal Baby.
Well, sure, in the U.K. people are very invested. They will always love their monarchy, despite periodic grumblings. After all, Britain is hardly a world power anymore. Billions of dollars are accrued by tourism -- tourists who want to gaze upon Buckingham Palace, or the site where Anne Boleyn was beheaded. England needs the monarchy. Financially, if not as emotionally as it did in the past.
But just as the engagement and wedding of Kate and William were, I think, manufactured "sensations" here in the USA, the same goes for the birth of their first child. They are a charming couple. Attractive and as modern as British royalty can ever be allowed to be. For sure they are more in touch and more accessible than previous royals.
However, I recall the birth of William. And then Harry. Now, those births were genuine sensations, here and abroad. Why? Because their mother was Diana, Princess of Wales. A girl who became instantly iconic the day the paparazzi conned her into posing against a sunlit garden, her proper skirt made deliciously transparent.
By the time Diana had given birth to William, she was the most popular British royal, a true star. A superstar, in fact. And one about whom the world was already beginning to worry and wonder over. Her weight, her relationship with Prince Charles, her moods, her tears. America was just as besotted as Britain. Diana was not a distant figure. She was as real to America as Elizabeth Taylor, Jackie Onassis and Madonna. (Hard to imagine that there once was a time when these four incredible women essentially ruled celebritydom, each existing in her own crazy sphere of stardom.)
In time, Diana became the poster princess of startling candor in the era of Oprah, self-expression and self-explanation. Her bulimia, fractious relationship with her in-laws, disobeying the rules, cunning publicity stunts, truly charitable nature, neurotic and self-absorbed personality, shocking revelations, divorce, reinvention as a sexy single, defiant woman, and then her horrible, shocking death. It was all "too much" and led to the legendary outpouring of grief that even the queen had to grudgingly acknowledge.
THE MADNESS for Diana was the real thing. Perhaps her legacy is that she brought up her sons in a more democratic manner, and altered the monarchy so much, that Kate and William are allowed to be rather normal, and, well -- rather boring. Reporting on the royal baby has been accompanied by a considerable amount of eye-rolling from American commentators. Though they dutifully go through the paces.
I recall no eye-rolling when Diana went into labor. Either time. The media was gripped. Even before Diana cleverly coined the phrase, "the people's princess," that is what she was, all over the world.
I suppose, for the longevity of the Kate/William wedlock, and the sanity of the couple, it's best that the world doesn't really care that much. Let the Brits have them. We've got ... uh, oh dear. What have we got?
People are talking about a movie named "Parkland," which is an unusual one about the day John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas. It is from the perspective of everyday folk whose lives were forever changed. I know a lot about this day and how it affected people like Texas reporter Dan
Rather, the late Tommy Thompson of Life magazine, and Mr. Zapruder, who took an amateur film that became world famous. So I will be writing more about this movie in the near future.
GOTTA HAND it to Johnny Depp. He doesn't let a little thing like a massive flop -- I do mean "The Lone Ranger" -- affect his usual salary or his ego. Johnny reportedly pulled out of a movie based on the notorious criminal Whitey Bulger because the studio wanted him to trim his $20 million salary a smidge. Maybe by half. He'd have to accept a paltry 10 mil. Johnny indicates he's in the right. He finalized a $20 million deal, after all. Financiers Cross Creek and Exclusive Media see it differently -- it's not a big budget movie, and pretty please, Johnny, remember your art. At this moment, Mr. Depp prefers to remember the salary he agreed to. It's in the hands of lawyers now.
Correction! We elevated the Very Rev. June Osborne, who is dean of Salisbury Cathedral, which boasts the best of the documents of the Magna Carta in England. She is a leading and most respected priest in the Church of England, but the C. of E. does not yet permit women to be made into bishops. Sorry about both that fact and this error.
(E-mail Liz Smith at MES3838@aol.com.)