A Personal Memory
Diana, Princess of Wales, would have been forty years old on July 1st . Four years after her death, she is still alive and well in the hearts and minds of people the world over – those she knew and those who watched her life unfold on television screens and through the pages of newspapers. And it is tempting to muse on where she might have been now. Would she have married Dodi Fayed? Would she have left England? Would she have had another child?
Whatever may have happened to Diana in the past four years, one thing is for sure she would still have dominated the headlines and her photograph would have continued to grace magazines and newspapers virtually on a daily basis.
She was a celebrity of the greatest magnitude. And her premature and violent death has ensured her a place unequalled in history – not just the princess the world adored but the woman who changed the face of the British Monarchy forever.
A Personal Insight
I first met Diana in March 1986. She was twenty-five years old and had been married to Prince Charles for five years. A week or so before that meeting she had telephoned me out of the blue to ask if I would do her chart. Initially I had politely refused since I was working to a tight deadline on my second book. But when she mentioned she was ‘just hoping for a light at the end of the tunnel’ I agreed to see her ‘immediately’.
Thus, when I arrived at Kensington Palace I was fully aware that she was unhappy and seeking specific guidance from the astrology. I had also surmised that the reason for her unhappiness was her marriage – not because she had already discussed this with me but because, having thoroughly appraised the charts of herself and Charles some four years earlier in my book, Synastry: the astrology of relationships, it was clear that there were some potentially great difficulties between them.
Over the years I have been asked many times how I felt when I met her. Was the prospect of doing her chart daunting? Would I have to compromise my real feelings about the astrology given that she was a member of the Royal Family the future Queen of England, no less? What did I think of her? What happened during that first consultation?
By the time I met Diana I had been working as an astrological consultant for ten years. Many people from all walks of life, including royalty, had passed through my consultancy doors so I wouldn’t say I was daunted. But I was concerned that there was a real job to be done and it ought to be done well! I also decided that the only way to go about the consultation was to treat her as any client, no more special than anyone else. And it was with this attitude that we sat down together on sofa in her small sitting room, spreading all the charts on the coffee table in front of us.
With any new client to begin with I discuss all features of the chart from a fairly superficial stance. I start from the Ascendant point and, making my way anti-clockwise around the chart, talk about every planet and how each of them manifest depending on their relationship with others and their house and sign position. This procedure usually takes about twenty minutes and by the end of that time the client should be comfortable with me and no longer alarmed about what the future held, which, of course, is not the true purpose of astrology.
This little foray into the chart usually creates a forum for discussion so that I can then open up the deeper layers of the astrology and focus specifically on the issue of importance. A consultation is thus not a monologue delivered from a lofty pulpit but a dialogue between two people.
During the four hours we were together, Diana talked about her childhood, her relationship with her parents, the effects of their divorce and her feelings about her step-mother. But at the heart of the consultation was her marriage to Charles and her despair over her ineluctable fate, so to speak.
This has all been so well documented that I don’t think we need to spend time here trawling through the bulemia, suicide attempts, affairs, rows, silences and hostilities. What may be of more interest to us is what made Diana so extraordinary, such a fascinating set of contradictions.
I still come across discussions of Diana’s chart in periodicals that are based on the wrong time. When I began my association with Diana I was also working on an incorrect time of birth. It was at least a year before she suddenly said to me one day: ‘You know, Penny, I notice you’ve got my time of birth as 7.45 pm. It wasn’t. I was born just before the start of the men’s finals at Wimbledon – about 2 pm.’
Thus, instead of adventurous, extravagant and independent Sagittarius rising, Diana had gracious, graceful, charming and diplomatic Libra on her Ascendant – a perfect recipe for the fashion icon that she became and her involvement with the British relationship organization, Relate. Rather importantly this change of ascending sign shunted Saturn out of its second-house position to the base of the chart (conjunct the IC in fact) thus supplying an astrological reason for the pain she experienced in childhood over her parents’ divorce. This angular Saturn also shows that she bore a heavy cross in life.
I am not going to spend time on this occasion going over her motherly Cancerian qualities or her first house Neptune that made her so sensitive and so able to identify with the suffering and pain of others because I want to examine a crucial features of her chart.
The Fixed ‘T’-square:
Moon in Aquarius, opposition Uranus in Leo, square Venus in Taurus
In 1981 at the time of the wedding and some four years before I met her, I said of this ‘T’-square
‘This ‘T’- square is not likely to permit her to slip easily into a conventional royal role… She requires great freedom of self-expression and, despite her desire for security, she needs plenty on stimulation in the way of exciting and novel experiences. On the one hand she may bring a breath of fresh air into her relationships through the sheer force of her personality, thus never letting them stagnate or fall into dull routine. On the other hand, if her marriage becomes too restrictive, she will break out and seek more exciting horizons. As future Queen of England, the latter possibility is unthinkable, let alone practicable – but then twenty years ago divorce for any member of the Royal Family was undreamed of…’
Synastry: The Astrology of Relationships, 1981
It would have been obvious to any adequate astrologer that this tense set up involving the moon and Venus – the two fundamental expressions of her femininity – and volatile Uranus would lead to emotional instability, wayward and wilful behaviour and romantic vicissitudes. Indeed, Venus-Uranus squares all too often end up in the divorce courts!
At age twenty, when Diana married Charles, she had no idea who she was. She had no real sexual experience, nor any opportunity to explore emotional intimacy with a man. She did her growing up within the marriage and Charles, thirteen years her senior and with his ‘stiff-upper-lip’, was hardly the man to initiate her, to relate to her complex emotions and her deep-seated lack of self-esteem. In fact he helped turn a simmering internal dilemma into a full blown psychosis!
It is fair to say that this ‘T’-square was ‘responsible’ both for Diana’s charismatic persona and her troubled relationship with the people she became close to.
We do not need to remind ourselves of that charisma, her stunning presence, her way of reaching out to people, her instinct for taking the moment, for intuitively grasping an issue. She left an indelible imprint on the lives of those she touched and in light of her untimely death, most will only remember the intoxicating vibrancy she generated; the love she radiated.
By contrast countless accounts have been written about her treatment of friends and staff. Her previously warm and affectionate feelings could turn to frosty dislike almost overnight. An incident that would have been taken lightly on one occasion could become the source of intense rage on another. She was engaging and generous; unpredictable and dangerous.
‘Depending on her mood I [Patrick Jephson, Diana’s private secretary 1988 – 1996] found she could be perceptive and thoughtful with her praise and encouragement, if a little inconsistent. Getting a pat on the back one day did not protect you from being kicked the day after for doing the same thing. When she was unhappy her natural suspicion and deviousness took control. Then her verbal skills were employed to hurt and confuse. When roused she used words like tomahawks and her aim seldom failed. She would know, with a cat’s cunning, when to let you feel the claw in her velvet paw. Like the predator she sometimes was, she would stalk her victim, waiting for his or her attention to be distracted before striking.’
Shadows of a Princess by PD Jephson
It is in all our natures to have moods, to be easy and happy one day, grumpy another. All of us put our best ‘face’ forward at the beginning of a relationship then as time goes by our less attractive features emerge and our pathologies gain the better of us. But with Diana, these behaviours were extreme. And because her emotional underpinning was so fragile and her external life so all-consuming she could not overcome them. I spent some considerable time musing on the underlying reasons – astrological and otherwise – for her behaviour in the final chapter of my book With Love From Diana .
‘ An individual who has been emotionally damaged early on can, depending on the level of trauma, become a sociopath. Just like the psychopathic killer who has no sense of guilt or compassion for his or her victims, a sociopath is divorced from the emotions that cause him or her to act in bizarre ways. Denial is essential for psychological survival and certainly to keep up appearances in an increasingly threatening world. Thus, Diana’s behaviour is entirely consistent with someone whose first instinct is to head into denial…’
The Diana I met in 1986 read romantic novels and saw herself as the rejected, abused wife. She both longed for her marriage to work and to be free to find real love with someone else. To this end she both worked at the marriage and looked outside it for sexual and emotional fulfilment. (One way of getting around that moon-Venus-Uranus ‘T’- square!) And while it seems Charles was quite the wrong man for her and the marriage definitely not made in heaven, his chart dovetails into hers with the kind of precision that takes your breath away. Indeed his sun at 22 degrees of Scorpio provides the fourth ‘leg’ of Diana’s ‘T’- square turning into a Grand Cross.
By the summer of 1997, the divorce from Charles behind her and a handful of lovers languishing in the trenches of love’s battlefield she was enjoying a glorious romance with Dodi Fayed. It seemed she had finally found what she was looking for. And her hints to the press that ‘she was about to do something…’ sent rumours of marriage to Dodi ricocheting around the globe.
Controversy still rages as to whether or not she was engaged to Dodi at the time of the fatal accident in Paris’s Alma Tunnel – and it is a subject we shall be looking at in August on the anniversary of her death – but I suspect that this relationship too would have gone the way of its forerunners. After a magical opener, mistrust and paranoia would have set in, especially with a playboy character such as Dodi, and the relationship would have run its predictable course to separate beds, separate lives.
Now, in the July of 2001, Diana would be experiencing her Uranus opposition – a time of great personal change (see THE SCIENCE BIT ) and since Uranus is a part of that ‘T’-square all manner of dramatic events would no doubt be happening. (At the time Uranus reached 24 degrees Scorpio in 1980, thereby triggering this same configuration, Diana was hitting the headlines as Charles’ new girlfriend – an event that brought her into the centre of media attention, from where she never left, and totally changed her life.) As it is, if we consider that Diana’s spirit, so to speak, is still with us, this same Uranus opposition could bring to light some previously unknown factors about her life.
And it is on that speculative note that I shall close this little piece on Diana.