The most popular memorial for Princess Diana was Elton John's remake of his 1973 tribute to Marilyn Monroe, "Candle in the Wind." An analysis of the two songs and the lives of the women they memorialize reveals the destructive elements of the media's creation of popular icons. Marilyn's life serves as a condemnation of the Hollywood star system, and Diana Spencer's reputation as the people's princess undercuts the traditional power of the British royalty. Moreover, the personal struggles of Marilyn and Diana were particularly significant to women. Marilyn and Diana are cultural icons; however, the question remains whether the two women will be remembered in terms of their opposition to the factors that brought them fame or if their life stories will be assimilated into the dominant discourses of British and American history. Ultimately, the cultural image of Diana Spencer will determine whether "Candle in the Wind" is remembered for its subversiveness or its sentimentality.

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pp. 124-137
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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