Spencer ★★★★★

“You can be a hot mess express and still leave the world better than you found it.” – You’re Wrong About (Princess Diana)

Spencer is personal and overwhelming, a feverish fantasy that imprisons Diana, forcing her to escape. Her story is transformed into a mythical confrontation between past, present and a desolating future that allows her to move forward stronger and surer of herself.

On Christmas Eve 1991, Diana is the last to arrive at Sandringham. William and Harry are already there, waiting for her. So is Charles. And so is the Queen. She decided to drive alone from Kensington and has inconveniently gotten lost on the way. Being lost isn’t a novelty, though. She has been lost for years, buried underneath expectations and personas. Torn between who she is and who she is supposed to be, for her country, for her people. The walls of Sandringham are closing in on her and the endless vistas make her feel small, insignificant in the face of years of history. How will she be remembered? She feels engulfed in the cold stares of those she is expected to call family.

Over the fence is where she grew up. While Sandringham is filled with people and lit up by Christmas lights, her childhood home stands as a carcass, abandoned and holding nothing but the memories of a better life. Diana doesn’t feel much different. She is alone; surrounded by people, but isolated and empty, mistreated and misunderstood. Her only solace is spending time with her sons and offering them a corner away from procedures and traditions. Moments with Maggie, her trusted royal dresser, also offer relief, and Diana holds onto what she has so she won’t lose herself completely.

Spencer paints her tragedy in vivid detail, focusing on her attempts to survive and on her straining battle against the impersonality of royal life. But more than tragedy, it is the light within her that defines Diana. Here, she isn’t immortalized as a tortured royal. Instead, she is seen for her kindness and sincerity, as a loving mother and a rebel in search of a true life. She was never meant to be queen, but she will forever be the People’s Princess, remembered for her courage and the hope she inspired in so many by being simply who she was.

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