July 1, 2011 3:05:56 am
Princess Diana would have been 50 years old on Friday,perhaps the only certainty about the course of what might have been in a life abruptly cut short in a 1997 car crash in Paris,with a new boyfriend,two months past her 36th birthday.
Officially,there are no plans for marking the birth anniversary; Prince William,Dianas elder son,will be in Canada on Friday with his wife Catherine on their first big international tour as husband and wife.
Andrew Morton,the British journalist who was Dianas confidant and collaborator on an explosive book about the marriage turmoil that led to a royal divorce,believes she might now have been living in the United States.
A lot more billionaires live in America than in Britain, Morton said in an interview with The Associated Press in Los Angeles.
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And she probably would have snagged a guy with all the toys; you know,the guy with the private jet,the boat and the house in the Hamptons. Maybe started a second family. She always wanted a baby girl,and that was an ambition that she held very dear.
The enduring fascination Diana commands in the US was in evidence on the latest cover of Newsweek,with a computer-generated image of Diana at 50,strolling next to Williams bride.
The image,which came under widespread criticism for being creepy, was for an article by Newsweek editor-in-chief Tina Brown titled If She Were Here Now.
However irresistible that question is to some,Dianas former secretary Patrick Jephson says the speculation is entertaining,but hardly useful.
The first Mrs Wales might by now be solving conflicts,banishing poverty,feeding the hungry or even breeding spaniels in happy rural obscurity. Alas,we will never know, Jephson said in a commentary for The Daily Telegraph.
Instead we have an even greater enigma. Why is it that 14 years after her death she continues to figure so large in popular imagination?
Its a power that can be measured in dollars $800,000 in the case of a black dress in which Diana danced with John Travolta in 1985,sold at auction in Toronto earlier this month,or $34,000 for a letter to her nanny.
A website,high50.com,offers some speculation about what a 50-year-old Diana would be doing.
Contributors speculated that she might be living in New York,getting botoxed,happily married or happily divorced (again),undergoing therapy,working hard for charities.
She was a very down to earth kind of woman and I think shed have embraced 50 with a certain amount of resolution. I think shed have found it quite amusing that shed gotten that far, said Bruce Oldfield,one of the British designers who worked for Diana.
Diana died at a time of turmoil in her life. A discreet and lengthy romance with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan had recently ended because he had concluded that her fame made it impossible to have a normal life together. The romance with Dodi Fayed,who died with her,was less than two months old.
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