Princess Diana Rhetorical Triangle Assignment
The following four texts are related to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, in 1997. Divorced
from England’s Prince Charles, she was the mother of Princes William and Harry. During her
life, the Princess was known for both her philanthropy and her scandal-plagued marriage. The
first text here is a news report from the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) on the morning of
Diana’s death. The second is the televised speech Queen Elizabeth gave several days later. (I’ve
included the YouTube link, but do not analyze her performance, only her words.) The third is the
eulogy Lord Spencer, Diana’s brother, delivered at her funeral service. (Again, YouTube link
provided.) The fourth is an entry from Wikipedia.com.
Directions: Read each piece carefully. Analyze the parts of the rhetorical triangle. Analyze
ethos, logos, pathos. Analyze style. Analyze patterns of development for each selection. In a
750 word essay, analyze the effectiveness of each selection and contrast as to which is the
most effective source based on the rhetoric used.
Princess Diana Dies in Paris Crash
BBC, August 31, 1997
Diana, Princess of Wales, has died after a car crash in Paris.
She was taken to hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning where surgeons tried for
two hours to save her life but she died at 0300 BST.
In a statement Buckingham Palace said the Queen and the Prince of Wales were “deeply
shocked and distressed”. Prince Charles broke the news of their mother’s death to Princes
William and Harry at Balmoral Castle in Scotland where the royal family had been spending the
The accident happened after the princess left the Ritz Hotel in the French capital with her
companion, Dodi Al Fayed – son of Harrods owner, Mohammed Al Fayed. Dodi Al Fayed and
the vehicle’s driver were also killed in the collision in a tunnel under the Place de l’Alma in the
centre of the city.
The princess’ Mercedes car was apparently being pursued at high speed by photographers
on motorbikes when it hit a pillar and smashed into a wall. Mr Al Fayed and the chauffeur died
at the scene but the princess and her bodyguard were cut from the wreckage and rushed to
hospital. The French authorities have begun a criminal investigation and are questioning seven
Tributes to the princess have been pouring in from around the world. Speaking from his
home in South Africa, the princess’ brother, Lord Charles Spencer, said his sister had been
“unique”. While it was not the time for recriminations there was no doubt the press had played a
part in her death, the earl added.
Hundreds of mourners have gathered at the princess’ London home, Kensington Palace
and many have laid flowers at the gates. Since last Sunday’s dreadful news we have seen, throughout Britain and around the
world, an overwhelming expression of sadness at Diana’s death.
We have all been trying in our different ways to cope. It is not easy to express a sense of
loss, since the initial shock is often succeeded by a mixture of other feelings: disbelief,
incomprehension, anger – and concern for those who remain.
We have all felt those emotions in these last few days. So what I say to you now, as your
Queen and as a grandmother, I say from my heart.
First, I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human
being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others
with her warmth and kindness.
I admired and respected her – for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for
her devotion to her two boys. This week at Balmoral, we have all been trying to help William
and Harry come to terms with the devastating loss that they and the rest of us have suffered.
No-one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of others who never met her, but felt they
knew her, will remember her. I for one believe there are lessons to be drawn from her life and
from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death.
I share in your determination to cherish her memory.
This is also an opportunity for me, on behalf of my family, and especially Prince Charles
and William and Harry, to thank all of you who have brought flowers, sent messages and paid
your respects in so many ways to a remarkable person. These acts of kindness have been a huge
source of help and comfort.
Our thoughts are also with Diana’s family and the families of those who died with her. I
know that they too have drawn strength from what has happened since last weekend, as they seek
to heal their sorrow and then to face the future without a loved one.
I hope that tomorrow we can all, wherever we are, join in expressing our grief at Diana’s
loss, and gratitude for her all-too-short life. It is a chance to show to the whole world the British
nation united in grief and respect. I stand before you today the representative of a family in grief, in a country in mourning
before a world in shock.
We are all united not only in our desire to pay our respects to Diana but rather in our need
to do so. For such was her extraordinary appeal that the tens of millions of people taking part in
this service all over the world via television and radio who never actually met her, feel that they,
too, lost someone close to them in the early hours of Sunday morning. It is a more remarkable
tribute to Diana than I can ever hope to offer her today.
Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty. All over the world
she was a symbol of selfless humanity, a standard-bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a very British girl who transcended nationality, someone with a natural nobility who was
classless, who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her
particular brand of magic.
Today is our chance to say “thank you” for the way you brightened our lives, even though
God granted you but half a life. We will all feel cheated, always, that you were taken from us so
young and yet we must learn to be grateful
that you came along at all. Only now you are gone do we truly appreciate what we are now
without and we want you to know that life without you is very, very difficult.
We have all despaired at our loss over the past week and only the strength of the message
you gave us through your years of giving has afforded us the strength to move forward. There is
a temptation to rush to canonize your memory. There is no need to do so. You stand tall enough
as a human being of unique qualities not to need to be seen as a saint. Indeed to sanctify your
memory would be to miss out on the very core of your being, your wonderfully mischievous
sense of humor with the laugh that bent you double, your joy for life transmitted wherever you
took your smile, and the sparkle in those unforgettable eyes, your boundless energy which you
could barely contain.But your greatest gift was your intuition, and it was a gift you used wisely.
This is what underpinned all your wonderful attributes. And if we look to analyze what it was
about you that had such a wide appeal, we find it in your instinctive feel for what was really
important in all our lives.
Without your God-given sensitivity, we would be immersed in greater ignorance at the
anguish of AIDS and HIV sufferers, the plight of the homeless, the isolation of lepers, the
random destruction of land mines. Diana explained to me once that it was her innermost feelings
of suffering that made it possible for her to connect with her constituency of the rejected.
And here we come to another truth about her. For all the status, the glamour, the applause, Diana
remained throughout a very insecure person at heart, almost childlike in her desire to do good for
others so she could release herself from deep feelings of unworthiness of which her eating
disorders were merely a symptom. The world sensed this part of her character and cherished her
for her vulnerability, whilst admiring her for her honesty.
The last time I saw Diana was on July the first, her birthday, in London, when typically
she was not taking time to celebrate her special day with friends but was guest of honor at a
fund-raising charity evening. She sparkled of course, but I would rather cherish the days I spent
with her in March when she came to visit me and my children in our home in South Africa. I am
proud of the fact that apart from when she was on public display meeting President Mandela, we
managed to contrive to stop the ever-present paparazzi from getting a single picture of her. That
meant a lot to her.
These were days I will always treasure. It was as if we’d been transported back to our
childhood, when we spent such an enormous amount of time together, the two youngest in the
family. Fundamentally she hadn’t changed at all from the big sister who mothered me as a baby,
fought with me at school and endured those long train journeys between our parents’ homes with
me at weekends.
It is a tribute to her level-headedness and strength that despite the most bizarre life
imaginable after her childhood, she remained intact, true to herself. There is no doubt that she was looking for a new direction in her life at this time. She
talked endlessly of getting away from England, mainly because of the treatment she received at
the hands of the newspapers.
I don’t think she ever understood why her genuinely good intentions were sneered at by
the media, why there appeared to be a permanent quest on their behalf to bring her down. It is
My own, and only, explanation is that genuine goodness is threatening to those at the
opposite end of the moral spectrum. It is a point to remember that of all the ironies about Diana,
perhaps the greatest was this; that a girl given the name of the ancient goddess of hunting was, in
the end, the most hunted person of the modern age.
She would want us today to pledge ourselves to protecting her beloved boys William and
Harry from a similar fate. And I do this here, Diana, on your behalf. We will not allow them to
suffer the anguish that used regularly to drive you to tearful despair.
Beyond that, on behalf of your mother and sisters, I pledge that we, your blood family,
will do all we can to continue the imaginative and loving way in which you were steering these
two exceptional young men, so that their souls are not simply immersed by duty and tradition but
can sing openly as you planned. We fully respect the heritage into which they have both been
born, and will always respect and encourage them in their royal role. But we, like you, recognize
the need for them to experience as many different aspects of life as possible, to arm them
spiritually and emotionally for the years ahead. I know you would have expected nothing less
William and Harry, we all care desperately for you today. We are all chewed up with sadness at
the loss of a woman who wasn’t even our mother. How great your suffering is we cannot even
I would like to end by thanking God for the small mercies he has shown us at this
dreadful time; for taking Diana at her most beautiful and radiant and when she had joy in her
Above all, we give thanks for the life of a woman I am so proud to be able to call my
sister: the unique the complex, the extraordinary and irreplaceable Diana, whose beauty, both
internal and external, will never be extinguished from our minds.
Wikipedia entry for Princess Diana (accessed September 15, 2006)
On 31 August 1997 Diana was involved in a car accident in the Pont to l’Alma road tunnel in
Paris, along with her new lover Dodi Al Fayed, and their driver Henry Paul. Their Mercedes
crashed on the thirteenth pillar of the tunnel. Fayed’s bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was closes to
the point of impact and yet the only survivor of the crash, since he was the only occupant of the
who was wearing a seatbelt. Henry Paul and Dodi Fayed were killed instantly. Diana, unbelted in
the back seat, slid forward during the impact and “submarined” under the seat in front, causing
massive internal bleeding. She was transported to the Pitié-Salpêtretrière Hospita where, despite
lengthy resuscitation attempts, she died. Her funeral on 6 September 1997 was broadcast and
watched by over 1 billion people worldwide…. Controversy The death of Diana has been the
subject of widespread theories, supported by Mohamed Al- Fayed, whose son died in the accident. These were rejected by French investigators and British officials, who stated that the
driver, Henri Paul, was drunk and on drugs. Among Mr. Fayed’s suggestions were that Diana
was pregnant by Dodi at the time of her death and that Dodi had just bought her an engagement
ring, although witnesses to autopsies reported that the princess had not been pregnant and the
jeweler cited by Mr. Fayed denied knowledge of the engagement ring. Nonetheless, in 2004 the
authorities ordered an independent inquiry b Lord Stevens, a former chief of the Metropolitan
Police, and he suggested that the case was “far more complex than any of us though” and
reported “new forensic evidence” and witnesses [Telegraph, May 2006]. The inquiry is expected
to report its findings in 2007. The French authorities have also decided to reopen the case.
Several press photos were taken of the crash scene within moments of the crash. On 13
July 2006 Italian magazine Chi published photographs showing Diana in her “last moments”
despite an unofficial blackout on such photographs being published. The photographs were taken
minutes after the accident and show the Princess slumped in the back seat while a paramedic
attempts to fit an oxygen mask over her face. The photographs were also published in other
Italian and Spanish magazines and newspapers.
The editor of Chi defended his decision by saying he published the photographs for the
“simple reason that they haven’t been seen before” and that he felt the images do not disrespect
the memory of the Princess The British media publicly refused to publish the images, with the
notable exception of The Sun, which printed the picture but with the face blacked out. Final
Resting Place Princess Diana’s final resting place is said to be in the grounds of Althorp Park,
her family home, The original plan was for her to be buried in the Spencer family vault at the
local church in nearby Great Brington, but Diana’s brother, Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer, said
that he was concerned about public safety and security and the onslaught of visitors that might
overwhelm Great Brington. He decided that he wanted his sister to be buried where her grave
could be easily cared for and visited in privacy by her sons and other relatives.
Lord Spencer selected a burial site on an island in an ornamental lake known as the Oval
within Althorp Park’s Pleasure Garden. A path with 36-oak trees, marking each year of her life,
leads to the Oval. Four black swans swim in the lake, symbolizing sentinels guarding the island.
In the water there are several water lilies. White roses and lilies were Diana’s favorite flowers.
On the southern verge of the Round Oval sites the Summerhouse, previously in the garden of
Admiralty House, London, and now serving as a memorial to Princess Diana. An ancient
arboretum stands nearby, which contains trees planted by Prince William and Prince Harry, other members of her family and the princess herself.
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