Pizza for a Princess: Consuming Julie Burchill’s Diana

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[Julie Burchill]'s [Diana Spencer] traverses profound societal inequalities. Published in hardback, the white dustcover speaks of the race that is not one. Whiteness, through fair skin, blondeness, virginity, and that wedding dress, was soiled by Diana's death, while travelling in a black Mercedes through French streets. Diana's Englishness is compared to the `dirty great foreign con' of the Royal Family. Burchill presents a careful history of upper-class women, showing the remarkable parallels between Diana's marriage and that of her mother. While they were in their teens, both wed men in their thirties. This difference in age was worsened through women's limited occupational horizons. The education of upper-class girls, which is described by Burchill as `fit only for a child or a cretin,' meant that they were trapped in the institution of marriage more than other women. If they left their husband, then they were liable to lose their children. Not surprisingly, Princes and Kings have looked elsewhere for emotional, intellectual and sexual pleasures. Edward VIII had Mrs Simpson, James II pleasured Catherine Sedley, while Edward VII had a long-term dalliance with Lily Langtry. Burchill's portrayal of the Prince of Wales is cruelly bitchy in its phrasing and direction. She describes him as `emotionally inhibited and emotionally incontinent'. The other woman who crowded the Windsors' marriage also scores attention. Appropriately, Burchill, in her feminist framework, refuses to trash Camilla as the mistress. She recognises the profound weakness of the other woman in these situations, believing `it is a story about one woman hurting another over a long period of time, without having the soul or imagination to put herself in the other woman's shoes'. It is ironic that Diana, one of the most desirable women in the world, was unable to woo her husban
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-5
Number of pages2
JournalAustralian Women's Book Review
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 1999
Externally publishedYes


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