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Diana's Legacy
On August 31st, 1997 the car carrying Princess Diana and her companion Dodi Fayed crashed in Paris' Pont De L'Alma tunnel, killing both of them as well as their driver, Henri Paul. The outpouring of international grief that followed was unprecedented in its scope and the strength of its sentiment, leading many to realize for the first time just how deep a chord Diana's life had touched in ordinary people around the world.

In the 16 years since that catalytic event, Diana's popularity has not waned. Each major aspect of her life -- her reinvention of what it means to be a princess in contemporary times; her overwhelming celebrity that inspired a rabid media response; her insistence on using her power and fame to aid people in need; and her search for a love that could withstand the blinding spotlight -- has continued to fascinate everyone from gossip bloggers to academic researchers.

Certainly a bevy of biographies and tell-all memoirs have depicted a complicated, flawed woman who was as emotional and frustrated as any human being would be in her complicated situation. But what lies at the core of her legacy?

For many, including the filmmakers of DIANA, it comes down to one concept -- call it heart or perhaps compassion. Of all the famous photographs of the Princess, it seems the ones that remain etched forever in the public mind are those of her embracing a child maimed by war, walking perilous minefields in a shielded helmet, or hugging a grieving parent.

This impulse to help and to give was also at the foundation of Diana and Hasnat's very adult style of romance. For both, giving love came naturally; it was receiving it that became the paramount challenge.

And who would Diana have become if that night in Paris had passed quietly, with no frenzied press and no high-speed collision? Would she have found a way to make things work with Hasnat Khan or would she have found love elsewhere? What issues would have grabbed her heart in 2013 and beyond?

"Who knows what would have happened if she were still alive today," Robert Bernstein says. "There is a sense that for Diana and Hasnat, things weren't necessarily over, but they never got that second chance."


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