Queen of New-Age Hearts: Diana, the late Princess of Wales and Alternative Therapies

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    Diana was often touted as being "the people’s princess." [This is the title of a very recent collection of essays about her (edited by the well-known Larry King) commemorating the tenth anniversary of Diana’s death.] Given her enormous contribution to charitable causes and her sincere campaign on behalf of land-mine victims, she definitely achieved that goal. At her funeral, Earl Spencer claimed that Diana needed "no royal title to generate her particular brand of magic." The assessment is an accurate one. Diana’s "magic" lay in her desire to help people.

    Her interest in humanitarian causes and New Age therapies is well-known. Her own engagement with holistic healing led to an improvement in her mental and physical health and enabled her to pursue her humanitarian efforts with greater commitment. Diana might not have been as effective a humanitarian had she not consistently taken active care of her body, mind and spirit.

    To understand this, we must appreciate the health problems that began to plague Diana around the time of her marriage. In 1981, the shy aristocrat was catapulted from a sheltered, privileged life to one that was even more privileged, but by no means as sheltered. Partly as a response to media-related pressure, Diana developed bulimia. This disease, coupled with the demands placed on her by royal life, led towards much of her personal unhappiness. The prince’s extramarital affair with Mrs. Camilla Parker-Bowles did nothing to help Diana’s self-esteem, but one must note that Diana hardly counts as the first celebrity to be enslaved by the media’s expectations of what constitutes physical beauty. Diana turned to many things for help-astrology and New Age therapy among them. [Diana would, by indirectly collaborating with writer Andrew Morton, reveal this in the controversial book Diana: Her True Story.]

    Purging negative energies
    The princess’s astrologer, Penny Thornton, and New Age therapist Simone Simmons claimed that Diana would benefit greatly from purging her body, not of food, but of negative energies. Despite widespread tabloid criticism, the princess did not abandon her faith in alternative medicine and astrology. Astrology, therapeutically speaking, gave her a stronger sense of self-esteem as she came to realize some of her major psychological strengths, such as her sympathy for the terminally ill. Her bulimia began to recede in the 1990s.

    Diana’s lifestyle affirmed that these positive circumstances arose because of her faith in protecting her personal "life energy," regular exercise and a balanced diet. She became a champion for AIDS rights, and she participated with dedication in promoting issues involving wellness. In addition to visiting astrologers and entertaining new-age therapists for "mental cleansing," she also went for colonic irrigation. As she began to take her personal health and wellness seriously, she started championing health issues on a global scale. Speaking out at conferences about the horrors of bulimia, Diana ultimately came to prioritize humanitarianism over and above regal constraints.

    The princess’s new-age interests are attested to in Diana: The Secret Years, co-written by Simone Simmons and Susan Hill. [Simmons recently co-authored Diana: The Last Word with the respected journalist Ingrid Seward, who has written extensively on the British royals. The Queen and Di: The Untold Story is one of Seward’s finest works.]

    From the mid-1990s onwards, Simmons was Diana’s personal new-age therapist and was often invited to Kensington Palace. Simmons comments on how Diana would frequently have her clear the area of negative energy and vibes. Becoming one of Diana’s confidantes, she helped her develop a more positive sense of self-Diana relied on her heavily, especially during the years following her separation from Charles. [In Larry King’s The People’s Princess, Simmons’s account states that she counseled the late princess almost daily for a period of approximately four years.]

    Plenty of love to offer
    Yet, in spite of her failing marriage, Diana had plenty of love to offer. In both her books Simmons, gushes (extensively, but probably rightly) that therapy and psychic cleansing helped unblock those psychological channels through which Diana could give and receive love. And although Diana had some meaningful relationships with members of the opposite sex after her marriage collapsed, her love was not limited to sexual and romantic encounters alone. Every major biography of the princess claims that Diana adored her children. Being what is commonly known as a "people person," Diana found that keeping her spirit as well as her body fit and healthy, gave strong purpose to her skills as a humanitarian.

    Having her Sun in Cancer and Moon in Aquarius, Diana possessed (as far as popular astrology is concerned) all the elements needed to be a good humanitarian. Her Sun bestowed on her the ability to nurture and protect-evidenced by the fact that she was an excellent friend. In Diana: Secrets and Lies, author Nicholas Davies mentions that when the princess’s friend Rosa Monkton gave birth to a stillborn daughter, Diana kindly asked Rosa if she wanted to bury the child in Diana’s garden at Kensington Palace. Davies writes that Ms. Monkton was in favor of the idea, and so the child was buried in a space that Diana regarded as special and almost sacred. While it is really distressing that such a private story be splashed all over the pages of a very-public biography, the tale does underscore the late princess’s ability to reach out to others. Diana’s Sun gave her superb parenting skills, but it was her Moon that helped bring out her humanitarian side. Astrologers often observe that people who have a prominent Aquarian influence in their charts are generally known for their ability to see humanity as a connected whole. Diana truly believed that it was not merely a good thing to help people, but it was the expected thing to do.

    History shows that the princess’s humanitarianism was not bound by geographical constraints. While in Pakistan she assisted in fundraising activities for the cancer hospice of Imran Khan, a famous cricketer and humanitarian. Diana was so beautiful and well-groomed that she became the most photographed woman in the world. Her grace (not to mention her wardrobe, rivaled only by that of George Lucas’s Queen Amidala!) invited tremendous media attention, which helped to focus the spotlight on various global issues. When Diana met Mother Teresa, she was impressed by the nun’s dedication to India’s suffering masses. When the princess and the nun died within a few days of each other in 1997, the world lost not only two great women, but also two great humanitarians. A strong Christian spirit helped Mother Theresa achieve her altruistic goals, while Diana’s staunch determination to take control of her life and enhance her skills and strong points helped her achieve hers.

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