Diana novel to be published just weeks before royal wedding
A new book inspired by the life of Princess Diana by an award-winning British author is to be published in March - just weeks before the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April, reports said Thursday, dpa reported
But in media interviews published Thursday, 43-year-old Monica Ali denied that the planned publication date was "unfortunate" and risked upsetting the "establishment" at a sensitive time.
Her new work, Untold Story, would not "hurt" Prince William and his younger brother, Harry, or the royal family, Ali insisted. "The timing is a coincidence," she told the Guardian.
"Although my novel is certainly inspired by Diana's situation, of course my princess is fictional," she added. Reports said film rights were already being negotiated.
Ali, who was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2003 for her blockbuster novel Brick Lane, said the new novel is about what would have happened if Princess Diana had not died in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
"Over the years I've sometimes found myself wondering how she would have matured into her forties and beyond," Ali said about the princess.
She described Diana as an "extraordinary woman who changed the way we view the royal family." Her book was about whether Diana, had she lived, would have found peace and happiness in her life or whether the "curse of fame would always have been too great."
Royal officials declined to comment on the publication plans, but commentators said the book could distract from the desire to portray the marriage of Diana's oldest son as a happy and harmonious occasion that would also draw a line under the scandal-ridden 1990s.
"What I always admired about her (Diana) was the way she refused to be told what to do. She stuck two fingers up at the establishment, she took risks, she was a gorgeous bundle of trouble," Ali told the Guardian.
William, 28 and Kate Middleton, 28, are to get married in Westminster Abbey on April 29