Book imagines what if Diana had faked her own death, started life anew

Updated: Mar 19, 2011, 15:56 PM IST

London: An author has written a book that imagines what would have happened had Princess Diana faked her own death and started life anew.

Monica Ali, whose first novel ‘Brick Lane’ won rave reviews, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and became a global bestseller, has written the book ‘Untold Story’.

Ali uses a fictional princess in her new book based on Princess Diana and the fateful car accident she had in Paris in August 1997.

Diana is portrayed fulfilling her fantasy of living a free life and ten years on, living in a small town in the United States, flicking through magazines searching for pictures from London, for a glimpse of her old life.

Lydia, the assumed identity of Ali’s protagonist, shares many things in common with Diana. Adored by millions, in her personal life she has suffered rejection, heartbreak and betrayal.

Ali wrote the book after doing some thorough research about Diana, and of the many aspects, she picked out three in particular.

The first was how rebellious Diana was, refusing to follow the rules of the Royal household.

The second aspect is the way that she suffered, and the way she reached out by sharing the details of her eating disorder and her husband’s infidelities.

Thirdly, was how Diana longed to escape her life which was, despite how she kicked against it, suffocating in many ways.

“Of course, it is a fantasy, a fairy tale. Yes, I took my cue from Diana’s escape fantasy,” the Daily Mail quoted Ali as saying.

“But mainly, I was interested in exploring identity - that which makes a person who they are. How much of what shapes us is innate, and how much is determined by our environment.

“For which of us has not wondered, at some stress-filled point in our lives, what it would be like to walk out of one life and begin another? It’s the Reggie Perrin syndrome: leave your clothes on the beach, disappear and begin again.

“Is it really possible to leave your troubles behind? That’s what I wanted to explore. But I also wanted to pay tribute to one of the most extraordinary and misunderstood women in recent history,” she stated.

‘Untold Story’ will be published on March 31 by Doubleday, at 16.99 pounds.