Yesterday Rayne and I had lunch at “Diana Café” in the Notting Hill area.
It is cheap and cheerful with a great view onto Embassy Road, one of London’s most expensive streets and very near to Kensington palace where Diana would have lived.
Inside the cafe is covered with photos of Diana and yesterday there was even a photographer inside asking questions and taking some snaps!
As we left I asked the girl at the counter why the café was so called and she explained to me how Diana used to come and drink coffee there.
Suddenly I remembered the article I’d seen on Facebook about Harry coming back to London for the unveiling of a statue and I figured that’s why the photographer was there.
As we were walking out he happened to be on our way and his slightly awkward nature made it all the more easy to ask him a few questions! Sure enough he was a journalist reporting for the news and had been sent there! The funny part was that he didn’t know why and he was very interested to learn that it was because of the unveiling of a statue of Diana the next day to mark what would have been her 60th birthday.
Amused that the photographer didn’t know, it reminded me of my days in finance when I crunched numbers without the remotest interest why or for who? I was just ‘doing my job’.
Diana on the other hand didn’t just do her job, she gave her heart to her job she that seems to be her legacy, her heart.
And yet as I sat in that cafe yesterday what hit me the most was the current rift between Harry and William and in my heart I felt moved to pray for their reconciliation.
William is just 3 months older than me, a 1982 baby and Harry is two years younger and it is sad to read about all the tensions between them.
And yet as I pondered on it I thought of my older brother too who is just a mere 2 years older than me. Like Harry and William we grew up together and as kids we did everything together and yet as the years went by our lives changed and now we have no communication at all.
How sad it is when divisions creep in and when misunderstandings turn to bitterness. I’m sure that everyone reading this can relate and has personal experience of broken relationships and broken down communication.
And as I pondered it over I thought of another royal figure with an even bigger heart of love for her children, Our Lady.
In some ways Diana practiced what Our Lady speaks about when she calls us to loving from the heart and it is no secret that Diana used to visit the Carmelites in Kensington shortly before she died.
So what might Our Lady and Diana say to us all today?
I’m sure with their motherly hearts they’d smile on us and say “forgive, forgive, forgive”.
Of course reconciliation means that both parties must come together and swallow their pride and somehow come to an agreement and mutual understanding of eachother’s circumstances and this process usually doesn’t happen over night. Yet experience has taught me that ‘where there is the will there is the way’ and it’s true! If two people really want to be reconciled then they will find a way or to put it another way, they will make a way.
It doesn’t mean that things will be as before but it does mean that there can be love, respect and understanding which over time can grow.
Nowadays we live in a busy world and very often people are too busy to put in the hard work and reflection that is needed for reconciliation to happen. If the souls of purgatory could come back let me assure you from personal experiences of them that they’d plead with us to put down our phones and computers and to pick up our prayer books and to forgive and be reconciled with everyone.
Diana’s life was cut short at 36, a reminder to us all that we don’t have all the time in the world and we never know when our last day on earth may be.
My own countless brushes with death have taught me the same thing. Nothing really matters except the love we have in our hearts and that is the only thing that we will take from this world to the next.
And so today my prayer is for families, my own the first. I pray for the graces of love, forgiveness and reconciliation through the intercession of Our Lady and I pray especially for Harry and William that love will win and that this day of commemoration will also be a day of reconciliation.
‘Our Lady, our mother, help us to forgive and to be reconciled with God and with eachother. Heal our wounded hearts and may the love of God vanquish all hatred. Amen!