It's been 10 years since the death of Diana Spencer and disappointingly little has changed. The ultimate outpouring of grief at her death in 1997 and the various events marking the 10 anniversary of her death symbolize what's wrong with the royal family--people still care.
The television specials and news features the week leading up to the anniversary have told a story of the opening up and humanizing of the royals after Diana's death. A Prince Charles biographer, in an interview with the CBC, implied it's one of the great effects of Diana's death.
This is a fairly disappointing effect to be remembered for considering Diana, in the years after her break-up with Charles, actually lent meaning to royalty by pursuing meaningful causes rather than sitting in a stuffy castle and hunting foxes. After her death, the royals may have opened up, but without meaningful Diana-esque advocacy, why should that matter?
The royals are leaned upon as elements of lasting society, present throughout people's lives and for the foreseeable future, and provide a religious-like comfort for some. Ostensibly, they are symbols and reminders of a thankfully long-gone history where families were somehow ordained by diety rule. As divine right smiled on them, democracy corroded their empire and inbreeding their royal blood. Now they still possess wealth in God-ordained land holdings and an undeserved amount of power and captivation. One of these things is hard to remove, the other, not so much.
In Canada, the Queen is our figurehead and our army swears allegiance to her service. This doesn't make sense. One-hundred and forty years after our birth as a nation the Queen is as much our figurehead as Queen Latifah. Fortunately, this figurative title holds little power, but no one has yet mustered the courage to dot the I's and stroke the T's on another step towards Canada's full independence.
Princess Diana was a powerful figure and a catalyst for change--regardless if it's lasting or meaningful--in the royal family. Yet, it is striking on the anniversary of her death that people still care about the royals as an institution. Maybe in 10 or 20 years, this will change in Canada as first-generation Anglo-Canadians die off and shrink as a percentage of the population. Maybe the royals will never stop colonizing our cities and our scantily-clad bartenders. Maybe it matters so little that few care enough to change tradition. No more meaning needs to be leant to this outdated and empty institution and, ultimately, Canada will never truly be independent while our head has a crown.