Diana Spencer was nothing like as gifted as Judy Garland, nowhere near as sexy as Marilyn Monroe, but like those equally doomed young women, she had the power to touch us--that is to say, if one examines the response dispassionately, to make us feel sorry for her. She was a terribly mixed-up kid. We felt close to her (when we were not infuriated by her) because she represented in herself so many of the worries our own children are likely to foist upon us--disappointing school grades, anorexia and bulimia, unsuitable young men, a tendency to show off, a preoccupation with clothes...

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