While something significant happens every year, 1997 is one of those iconic years that will be forever etched in history.
Locally, the Albion found themselves temporarily homeless after losing the Goldstone Ground. Politically, Tony Blair’s Labour Party won a landslide General Election victory.
But both these two events, and everything else that occurred that year, were dwarfed by the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in a road accident in Paris.
20 years on, the Albion now find themselves among the footballing elite and Tony Blair is one of the most or least popular former Prime Ministers in recent history. But the sad passing of Diana and her ongoing legacy is still very much front-page news.
People who die at the peak of their fame or popularity are preserved in time with almost iconic status, leaving unanswerable questions of what their future might have been. Would Buddy Holly have ended up playing Butlin’s? Would James Dean have ended up on an American daytime soap opera? Would Marc Bolan have ended up as an X Factor judge? We’ll never know.
As for Diana, we can only speculate. From the minute the news of her death broke, the circumstances and details have been discussed around the globe.
While the various conspiracy theories will be talked about for centuries to come, I believe it was a tragic accident.
One which possibly could have been averted in different circumstances, but an accident all the same.
Had she lived, her unstinting work for the downtrodden and disadvantaged would certainly have continued. Perhaps her national standing might have created divisions within society, given the developing strained relationship with the House of Windsor.
One thing is for sure: her legacy is the most important thing all these years later, as her son will one day be a monarch this country is intensely proud of.
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