Christopher Hitchens

Princess Diana

If Christopher Hitchens' views on Mother Teresa were looked at as his most controversial, his essays and quotes on Princess Diana would be just behind and largely more controversial to many of her fans and supporters throughout the world, particularly as his critiques on her character and the idolization around her were articulated just after her untimely death, when much of the world, especially Great Britain, was still in mourning. Around this time, Hitchens wrote a number of essays and held several interviews that centered around the subject of Princess Diana and why he believed that the adoration of her life was so mistaken. As with Mother Teresa, a lot of his criticisms had to do with the aura of saintliness that both Mother Teresa and Princess Diana had around them.

Shortly after the death of these two public figures, which took place mere days from each other, Hitchens was quoted as saying "Words to avoid this week, or perhaps any week from now on: 'idol' and 'icon'. These once meant only the show-biz versions of graven-image worship, or the cult of mortal beings. Now they mean the real thing. And spiritual and secular leaderships compete to prostrate themselves. By the way, what have we chosen for our 'idols' and 'icons'. A simpering, Bambi narcissist and a thieving, fanatical Albanian dwarf. Nice going." This quote was just one of many around the time of Princess Diana's death that was deemed to be controversial by pundits and fans alike. Hitchens also made a point to criticize the way in which the media was dealing with her death, saying "They could have covered a lot of Princess Diana. They could have given any fan of hers as much coverage as he or she could possibly have wanted. But they needn't have made the assumption that that's all we wanted, and they needn't have made the assumption that we all feel the same way about it (Princess Diana's death)." In general, he thought of Princess Diana as a "silly, trivial woman", though he didn't seem to pay her much thought until seeing the vast amount of sorrow and weeping that was cast at her following her death.