The Princess Highlights the Appalling Mistreatment of Women in the Media

New HBO MAX documentary gives insight to the immeasurable pressure placed on women in the spotlight.

New HBO MAX documentary gives insight to the immeasurable pressure placed on women in the spotlight.

HBO Max’s The Princess is just another example of a young woman being torn apart to sell papers. The director, Ed Perkins, decided to dive into why the people cared so much about her wedding, outfits, and even death. The Princess was made recently because there are a lot of similarities between how Diana and Megan Markle were treated.  Created entirely from archive footage and news stories, the documentary shows just how incredibly intrusive the journalists and photographers were. After the famous Oprah interview, it’s important for people to see the intense pressure placed upon Princess Diana and every other woman in the monarchy. Every choice they make is scrutinized and they are ripped apart for the smallest things. 

Princess Diana was only 16 when she met 29-year-old Charles. Being thrown into the spotlight at 19 is a burden that few people can handle. She was known as the “People’s Princess” and yet the people did not hesitate to look harshly upon her marriage, her outfits, her children’s names, her interest in politics, and so much more. The media lived off of any drama they could fabricate or find.  

In 1992, Andrew Morton released a book called Diana- Her True Story. In the book, he claimed that Princess Diana attempted suicide five times. The Princess documents how there were televised debates on whether the rumors were true. Newsreels showed people buying all the books off the shelves. There were interviews with people on the street, and while some were supportive of Diana, every single person had an opinion they were happy to share with the media. There is no evidence of the alleged suicide attempts, but even if there were, people sharing their judgments on the matter are completely out of line. They called her a “monster” for attempting to maintain her privacy. Whenever she did allow the press to get pictures of her, they called her “attention seeking.”

I watched The Princess before Queen Elizabeth’s death, but the documentary doesn’t exactly make me excited for King Charles’s reign. He was a horrible husband and often left Diana to play polo or to go hunting. News clips showed him becoming increasingly jealous of her popularity. He cheated on Diana and yet the press mainly focused on her affair. He let the media call her a bad mother and didn’t speak out. I’m pretty sure those aren’t the characteristics of a good king. 

When the name Princess Diana comes up, it doesn’t usually produce an image of Brittany Spears. However, the two women actually have a lot in common. Both were in a relationship that might have been good at the beginning but went downhill when the media became interested. Once their relationships disintegrated, they were viewed as cheating attention seekers and the men victimized themselves. Even during periods of “good publicity,” the young women were objectified by both male and female reporters alike. Hundreds of articles and videos mocked Brittney Spears’ mental illness. When she wrecked the paparazzi car, everyone laughed at her “breakdown”, but no one looked at the lack of privacy that may have led her to such extremes. It is terrible that Princess Diana’s car accident and Brittney’s conservatorship hearings were what finally caused things to click for people. No one supported the ladies through those hardships and the support they deserved only came after.  

The Princess is a must watch for anyone and everyone (other than King Charles). Princess Diana’s life should have been longer, but she certainly did a lot of good in the time she had. Hopefully., the documentary will inspire women to stand up for themselves and not let someone (such as the royal family) drive them away from their passions.