History Today Christmas Subscription offer.

Is it British to Weep?

The reputation of Britons as a people who tightly control their emotions in the face of adversity is not necessarily a deserved one, argues Thomas Dixon.

Flowers outside Kensington Palace for Princess Diana's Funeral.  Photo by Maxwell Hamilton. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons Were you a sobber or a cynic in September 1997? Those of us over 30 will remember how the British nation was divided in its emotional reaction to the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in August that year. It was a tragic end to this woman’s difficult life, but many were appalled by the public emoting that ensued: the waves of sentimentality, the seas of flowers, the oceans of tears. Were the British not a hardy island race, accustomed to enduring the most extreme trials and losses with dry eyes and firm hearts?

To read this article in full you need to be either a print + archive subscriber, or else have purchased access to the online archive.

If you are already a subscriber, please ensure you are logged in. 

Buy Subscription | Buy Online Access | Log In

If you are logged in and still cannot read the article, please email digital@historytoday.com.

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week