Reaction to Diana’s death marked the reign of Elizabeth II, according to Folha readers

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The moment considered most dangerous for British royalty in recent history was remembered by readers of the Sheet as the most striking of Elizabeth II’s reign: the death of Princess Diana.

The Queen has remained silent and reluctant to declare official mourning after a tragic accident that killed Diana, ex-wife of the current King Charles III and one of the most popular royal figures, on August 31, 1997.

“What I found most striking was the silence of five days after Diana’s death. The queen, always so attentive to protocols, had a faulty act (Diana’s anger?) by not expressing herself immediately”, said doctor Flavia Villar Marques. de Sá, 63, from São Paulo (SP).

For Silvana Maria, 60, a teacher from São Paulo, the queen dealt with the case “without empathy and with extreme coldness”.

After pressure, the queen spoke on 5 September. “No one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of other people who never knew her but felt they knew her will remember her. I believe there are lessons to be learned from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death. I share your determination to take care of her memory,” she said in a televised speech.

Entrepreneur Marcel Silvio Hirsch, 71, from São Paulo (SP), also criticized Elizabeth’s opposition to Diana when she separated from the current King Charles III. “The queen should have acted opposite to how she reacted,” he opined.

Other readers recalled the queen’s steadfastness in times of crisis.

“In my opinion, [o momento mais marcante] it was the beginning of his reign, when the kingdom was in financial difficulties and many questioned whether they needed a queen. But she did what she had to and today she was the greatest and most important monarch that ever had”, said Matheus Teglay Santos Sampaio, 22, IT analyst, from Campina Grande (PB).

More recently, the queen’s speech in support of health measures during the coronavirus pandemic was cited by engineer Ivone Corgosinho Baumecke, 63, from Belo Horizonte (MG).

Agronomist and farmer Rafael Pereira Gonzaga, 38, from Franca (SP), highlighted that the queen swore in Prime Minister Liz Truss on the eve of her death. “She continued to dedicate herself fully to her people and her nation. She lived not to be served, but to serve her country and her fellow countrymen.”

Adilson Roberto Gonçalves, 55, a university professor in Campinas (SP) recalled that it lost power over the years, but “without losing its majesty”. “It led to the unfair metaphor of the expression ‘made the queen of England’, in allusion to what is in government but not ruling.”

Read on for other moments remembered by readers.

“I cite his visit to Ireland in 2012, when he greeted former IRA leader Martin McGuiness with a smiling, complacent look. The same IRA that murdered his dear uncle and confidant, Lord Mountbatten, in 1979.”
(Marcello Rinaldi, 55, teacher, São Paulo, SP)

“When he granted the title of baroness to Margareth Thatcher. It was a demonstration of pride and recognition for the services rendered despite having a different personality and positioning.” (Valmir Aparecido Moreira, 58, lawyer, Araras, SP)

“The reception she gave Nelson Mandela in July 1996, when the President of South Africa visited the United Kingdom. Certainly their ride in an open carriage was a kid-glove slap on Margaret Thatcher, the Queen’s cordial disaffection, and other British leaders who have always treated him as a terrorist.”
(Sergio Dias Canella, 64, electrical engineer, Rio de Janeiro, RJ)

“For me, in a very particular way, it was seeing her at the Ipiranga Monument in 1968, when I was 13 years old. [em 1968]. For the reign, zero relevance. For me, an image always kept in good memories.”
(Ronaldo Baptistella, 67, engineer, Itatiaia, RJ)

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