‘Looks like she’s had 18 pints’
WHY A DIANA TRIBUTE HORRIFIED THE INTERNET
The British town of Chesterfield recently unveiled a “well dressing” depicting the late Diana, Princess of Wales, made entirely of floral materials. Public response was less than loving: “I can’t remember her having a stroke,” reads one of hundreds of snarky comments posted to the town’s Facebook page. The National Post’s Tristin Hopper examines the ways in which Chesterfield may have erred.
Diana took a bit more interest in her dental health than this image suggests, but what’s more striking is the utter lack of enthusiasm in her expression. While this is obviously not Diana at her best, it does perfectly capture a phenomenon known to all royals: The Pained Smile. Even as they endure an endless odyssey of ribbon-cuttings and command performances, British royals are not allowed to betray their true emotions. As a result, they often hide it behind an expression that is equal parts terror and amusement.
Even at the height of the hairspray-crazed 1980s, Diana’s hair never came close to achieving the epic size depicted here. However, this might be due to cost more than anything. Diana’s face is made from flower petals, a scarce and expensive commodity at the best of times. Her hair, however, appears to be constructed from a kind of grass, whose relative abundance likely made it a priority material.
Diana’s eyes, of course, were of equivalent size and shape. Facial symmetry, in fact, was a primary contributor to her famed beauty. Chesterfield, though, depicted one eye as an Egyptian hieroglyphic and the other as a yoni. “Looks like she’s had 18 pints and a gram of ket,” declared Birmingham’s Adam Lawrence (in the U.K., “ket” refers to the drug ketamine).
The well dressing is meant to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death in a Paris car crash. Normally, tributes to a deceased person depict the dates of their life, rather than tallying up the years they’ve been gone. “Can’t believe she was only 20 when she died,” wrote Portsmouth resident Jack Marshall.
FLORAL DRESSINGS ARE HARD
Grass and flower petals can be an extremely unforgiving medium for the depiction of human forms — particularly when constructed by volunteers. As a result, Chesterfield is a victim of its own ambitions. While most well-dressing artists would stick to such safe themes as buildings or animals, Chesterfield consistently chooses human forms. Previous endeavours have included a floral version of Queen Elizabeth on her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
NO ROYAL IS SAFE
Remember the coin — commemorating their engagement — that depicted Kate Middleton as an unrecognizable stranger staring icily at Prince William? To be a member of the Royal Family is to be one of the most photographed and artistically rendered personages in the world. At the time of her death, it was estimated there were more photographs of Diana than any other woman in history (although, in the age of digital cameras, this record has almost certainly been smashed). Naturally, with so many avatars floating around, some of them aren’t going to be so good. Jesus, Elvis, Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln all have the same problem.