Is a Life Worth a Million Dollar Photo

By: Peggy Willms


(3 min. read)

Being an avid Royal Family fan for decades, it makes sense that I would consume every season of The Crown on Netflix. The episode I watched last night of the death of Lady Diana felt heavier than it did on Sunday, August 31, 1997. To me, it is more disgusting than the deaths of Anne Boleyn and Mary, Queen of Scots.

Why is it horrendous? Because there was absolutely no reason for it. Before the arguments begin, I am not here to discuss the specifics of the accident itself. Was the driver drunk? Were the breaks tampered with? I am here to share my repugnance toward the damn paparazzi who continue to “seek and sell” and the high price tags doled out by media outlets. Some of the accident photos were sold that same day for $1,000,000.

As a side note, look at these ridiculous price tags: $14,000,000 for Angelina and Brad Pitt’s family photo and $3,000,000 for wedding picture images of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore.

When I approach the subject of Lady Di’s death, the first rebuttal I always hear is that “these people” put themselves at risk by choosing to live such high-profile lives. I argue…THEY ARE HUMAN, and every human deserves the right to feel safe and free regardless of their profession. We non-celebrities press charges and often win the case when we are stalked, chased, pushed, or a breach of our privacy with trespassers climbing our fences and hiding out in our trees. Many celebrities put up with this harassment for decades. I would lose my cool and smack a cameraman, too.

Picture every single action you take being documented and sold to the highest bidder. Having dozens of strangers shove the lens of a Nikon Z 7 in my face isn’t my depiction of a day of leisure.

It is my opinion that these 30+ psychotic hounds are responsible for the death of three individuals who died in a Mercedes-Benz racing at 120 mph who were simply seeking privacy. Yes, it was 120 mph because the speedometer needle stuck. Diana suffered from a concussion, a broken arm, a laceration to her thigh, and massive chest injuries. She never regained consciousness after a two-hour operation.

I remember where I was when I heard Lady Diana died in a horrific car accident. I was making breakfast for my youngest son. My chest carried the sullen pressure for days. Not only was it a shock that one of the most famous and compassionate women was gone, but how she passed repulsed me. Yet the atrocity stabbed my heart deeper during the episode last night, likely because I am 9,583 days older, a grandmother, and have turned into a sap.

Because I ride unicorns and try to find the positive in everything, I conclude today with just some of the reasons she was such a badass.

Diana repeatedly marched to the beat of her own drum. At age 20, she began bucking the Buckingham system by fighting five of the royal’s long-standing protocols:

  • She removed the word “obey” from her wedding vows.
  • She demanded that Prince William and Harry attend school outside the Buckingham Palace.
  • She debunked the stigma around HIV/AIDS and opened a clinic in London.
  • She made modern fashion choices.
  • She raced barefoot at a school event. (OMG, this is a thing.)

She was known for her compassion, charisma, charitable work for causes such as landmine victims, and undying love and devotion to her sons. And according to the Neilson ratings,

though not apples to apples, because there were not as many streaming apps in 1997, 11.4 million viewers watched the Queen’s funeral compared to  33.2 million people who watched Diana’s funeral.

Sitting here writing to you while drinking my beloved cup of java, my heart is still heavy. Lady Di’s life was priceless. It was more valuable than a photograph. If you don’t believe me, ask her sons.


Peggy Willms
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

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