An original one-woman musical
based on the life of
Princess Diana

Treatment

Background/Synopsis The iconic figure of Princess Diana Spencer shocked the entire world with her untimely death in 1997.  Jillann Gabrielle has her speaking from her grave as a spirit haunting the halls of Kensington Palace.  And there is a twist…she has aged.  She cut a deal with St. Peter at heaven’s gate.  She would be allowed to stay with her sons at the palace…but in return she would age.  Diana had a great sense of humor, played the piano, sang, and danced.  All of these skills are utilized as Diana spins the story of her personal and public life and the British Royal Monarchy…then AND now!

 

Cast: Jillann Gabrielle as Princess Diana’s spirit—the age she would be today if she had lived.

Setting: Kensington Palace, London, England

Time: Present day

Story: Princess Diana encounters her audience at Kensington Palace and sings Haunting the Halls of Kensington Palace

explaining her current circumstances and why she is there as a spirit—to guard her boys as William awaits his turn on the throne. She then begins to spin her story from her beginnings living on the Sandringham Estate next door to one of the residences the Royal Family spends time in…and setting her sights at an early age to marry into the Royal Family. Not academically inclined she was prepared for nothing else, so she kept herself “tidy” for whatever might come. In I Was Always Tidy

she confesses her romantic adventures and how she always managed to keep her reputation ‘spotless.’ At the age of nineteen she finally saw her opportunity to try to ‘hook’ Charles, the twelve plus year older Prince of Wales. She lets us in on every trick in the book she used to get him to notice her, and take her seriously. And then

she began to enlist the press in her quest to help her officially ‘hook’ the Prince. In Wouldn’t it be Nice if Charles Married Diana

Queen Mum and her own maternal grandmother, the Lady Fermoy, and the whole British Empire to pressure the playboy Prince into marrying her. She makes us privy to the proposal and her ring selection which had the Queen’s eyes nearly popping out of her head.

During the classic engagement interview Charles shocks her with his cryptic response, “Whatever in love means.” To her horror she then discovers clues to Charles’ on-going romance with Camilla Parker Bowles and tries to back out of the wedding—but it’s too late. Then her bulimia rears it’s ugly head and on the day of her wedding, the worst moment of her life, she feels like a lamb to the slaughter. She walks down the aisle looking for Camilla —and there she was. In Charles and me…and Camilla Diana plays the piano as she bemoans this three person marriage which the royal family has suckered her into for the sake of giving birth to an heir (and a spare). She now knows that her marriage was built on a huge lie, but she is also an experienced liar.

She exposes her early battle with bulimia, and her inexperience in relationships with men. But she is truly in love with Charles and wants the marriage to work, despite her emotional fragility, her over dependence on a husband who doesn’t love her, and the ever presence of Camilla. In the insightful Husband in Training
she reveals her plan to ‘remake’ the Prince to her liking. But Charles, being the Heir to the Throne, is used to doing what he wants when he wants, despite Diana’s neediness. AND, he is duty bound—and now she has to go with him on his royal travels. Being Royal is Hard Work. Diana

discovers she loves people, and they love her—and overnight she is turned into an international star who completely overshadows Charles. She is addicted to reading everything about herself in the papers—and religiously works with the press to make sure that the stories that are printed are spun her way. After the royal family and courtiers throw pills and doctors at her unsuccessfully, she finally takes her emotional and mental health into her own hands by working with an eating disorder psychiatrist, an astrologer, and a spiritual

guide—and she improves little by little. She becomes more and more involved with the disadvantaged—where she feels comfortable. And then she has the gall to shake the hand of an AIDS patient. She takes to the piano and tells us how her ‘behavior’ has made her a Dangerous Woman in the eyes of the courtiers and

royal family. She reveals that the royal family and courtiers tried to “gaslight” her when it came to Camilla’s affair with Charles. Then Diana divulges the real Camilla

Parker Bowles and her affair with Charles from the very beginning of their illicit relationship—before Diana was brought into the family to produce an heir and a spare. In the hysterical She’s Sure a Better Mum to Him than I Was Diana discloses her true feelings about the notorious Camilla. She declares that

 

 

Charles blames her ‘behavior’ for the failure of their marriage—when in her view his affair with Camilla caused her ‘behavior.’ She explains that both she and Charles needed to be loved and nurtured and therefore couldn’t give it to each other.

She plays the piano as she croons a lullaby to her darling boys Wills and Harry. But Charles made an agreement
with his father that he could go back to his life as a playboy after five years of marriage, and he went back to Camilla after less than two years of marriage. She discloses their complete incompatibility, frequent cataclysmic rows, and their public iciness.

They become competitors for the front page coverage in the press—and Diana always wins—thanks to her savvy relationship with them. But the royal family and their courtiers are a formidable foe and things escalate into the battle cry The War of the Waleses.

*********OPTIONAL INTERMISSSION POINT*********

Pushed over the edge Diana publishes a book, essentially her memoirs, Diana: Her True Story which lays bare her sham of a marriage and her treatment by the royal family. It did more than make the teacups dance—it blew up the façade of royal respectability. Followed by the ‘Squidygate’ and ‘Camillagate’ tapes which exposed both Diana and Charles’ extra-marital affairs. Finally her interview on Panorama was the last straw. The Queen requests them to divorce as quickly and quietly as possible. The ‘Firm’ (the Monarchy) wanted her gone. They got what they wanted—an heir and a spare. Diana painfully reveals that the Queen and the royal family knew all along about Charles and Camilla—and they tacitly approved. Why even Prince Philip (the Queen’s husband) has had affairs during his entire marriage to

her—she just wanted him to keep it tidy. In the playful music hall sing-along she advises It’s a Man’s World. Diana and

Charles are finally divorced—she proclaims that the fairy tale marriage was over before it really began. She bemoans losing the style ‘Her Royal Highness’ but kept the title ‘Princess of Wales’—and that Camilla ultimately destroyed her marriage. But she also imparts to the audience that as ridiculous as the whole monarchical crisis was that her own

Diana’s mother Frances Shand

family’s line of succession was even more ruthless. At least the Windsor’s would allow a woman to become Queen. Not so with the Spencers in inheriting the title of Earl. The quest for a male heir in her family destroyed her parents’ marriage—and Diana’s self worth in the process. She was supposed to have been born a boy. Diana admits that she felt unwanted and unloved. And her mother couldn’t put up with the physical and mental abuse any longer from her father and left the household for another man. Diana was devastated! In the poignant The Day that Mummy Left she dances a ballet (she was a

trained dancer) to express her inner most feelings. She never got over the trauma of her abandonment, but it created in her an ability to love people no one else wanted to love.

After the divorce she really wanted to do some good in the world. Charles had found his true love…she was still looking. Diana confides to us her soulmate Hasnat Kahn, the British-Pakastani heart and lung surgeon. Hasnat broke up with her because of the media attention. She sobbed her heart out, then took up with Dodi Fayed just to make

Hasnat jealous. But still feeling worthless and miserable her purpose in life, aside from her boys, became her work with AIDS, cancer, leprosy, and landmines. She admits she played the media like a Stradivarius—but they had become a monster that could not be controlled. In Risky Business Diana performs a dance of death with the press. Then the heavens cracked open and claimed her. She explains that she felt torn between Hasnat, her true love, and Dodi, her new man with whom she had found bliss. During the car crash her body was thrashed around so severely that her heart was ripped from its moorings in her chest. She literally died of a broken heart. But if

she had been wearing a seatbelt she would have survived with little injury. Diana shares with us that she wants to be remembered as The Queen of Hearts. She was received

into the ‘kingdom on the roof of the world.’ She was the most famous woman in the world who was being mentored by Mother

Theresa. In My Brief Life/Always Fasten Your Seatbelt Diana accounts for her life and has one piece of advice—always buckle up!


 
*Jill plays the following tracks in the show at the piano and she also plays them on the MP3s: ‘Charles and Me…and Camilla,’ ‘Husband in Training,’ ‘Dangerous Woman,’ ‘Wills and Harry,’ and ‘The Queen of Hearts’ (also played by Michael Benshish). Michael Benshish plays the rest of the tracks except: ‘Being Royal is Hard Work’ and ‘The Day that Mummy Left’ which are played, arranged, and co-written by Howard Pfeifer.


Kensington Palace
London, England



Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother (Mum),
Diana’s nemesis


Diana at the age her mother left her father (and the family) for another man


Prepubescent Diana


Adolescent Diana—she wanted to be a professional dancer—but she became too tall



Dr. Hasnat Kahn, Diana’s soulmate, who broke up with her because of her world visibility

Dodi Fayed, the Egyptian playboy who was killed with Diana in the car crash





Kevin Kostner wanted Diana to star in a sequel to The Bodyguard, and she had agreed to do it before she was killed.