My Mother, Princess of Wales.

posted in: Family 8
My mom, in Bristol, 1987. Image: Wikipedia.
My mom, in Bristol, 1987. Image: Wikipedia.


I drove over to Iowa City on Friday to attend a wedding with my pal Sevy, who handles the art direction for F Newsmagazine.

Even though I had never laid eyes on either the bride or groom before yesterday — I was Sevy’s “+1” for the occasion — I could just tell Danny and Cate had never looked better. It’s always like that when people get married, especially if their names are Danny and Cate.

And speaking of beautiful people: My mom is prettier than Princess Diana.

I bring it up because last night, after I kicked off my strappy sandals and plopped onto the bed with my guest gift bag (there were Bit-O-Honeys in there; total score)  I turned on the dumb TV and there was a terrible, quasi-documentary on Princess Diana. And even though it was all sensational/sentimental, even though the show had non-experts and hangers-on talking about Diana like they actually knew her or had anything of actual value to say on the subject, I kept watching. Because Princess Diana reminds me of my mom. She always has. Always did, I guess.

You see, when Diana was at the height of her fame and beauty and power, it was the 1990s and I was in high school. No one in my family or friend circle was “into” Princess Diana, per se; Iowa folks don’t get too excited about the Queen of England or her court, because who does she think she is, the Queen of England?? Still, Diana was a big celebrity back then, so she was in our lives whether we liked it or not. I remember being at the Barnes & Noble in Des Moines and I bought a magazine with her portrait on the cover. I think it was Vogue or Time. I don’t remember the magazine but I do remember Diana was absolutely stunning in a black turtleneck. I bought the magazine because the woman looked familiar to me.

Diana had kind of a wide nose. She had fluffy, curly hair, cut shortish; she wore high-waisted shorts with a belt and, when she wasn’t rocking the turtleneck, she often wore blouses with shoulder pads. She seemed tall; she was a mom; she was supes pretty, and she was smart. Oh, and her husband was a jerk. That was important.

Guess who also fit that exact criteria? Marianne. From the fluffy, curly hair to the shorts to the hard work to the maddening husband situation, Diana Spencer and my mom had a lot in common in the mid-1990s. And I swear, they really do share some facial/physical characteristics. It’s the build? The brow? I don’t know. I should ask my sisters.

Or maybe I just think my mom is prettier than a princess and stuff.

It’s a nice thing to think.


8 Responses

  1. Kerry Leach
    | Reply

    Had to laugh at the “husband is a jerk”! At the moment we are hoping that the Queen is actually immortal because the thought of Charles and his insignificant other taking over is too yuk to bear! Or perhaps it skips him and goes to the grandson!

    And a photo of my mum in her late teens looked prettier than the queen too (she’s about 2 years younger). Although my dad was infinitely more handsome than Philip – I think perhaps most dads are!

    Carry on writing Mary – you make me laugh.

  2. barbara
    | Reply

    How really special can you be – I continue to be amazed:). I have loved your mother for years and more with each post you write! Also no one will ever do Diana justice on these specials!

  3. Susan Davies
    | Reply

    I think it is so sweet that you honor your great mom like this!

  4. Vickie
    | Reply

    You are so on spot. I have met your Mom and she has a grace and elegance about her.

  5. Kathryn Darnell
    | Reply

    I love it that your Mom is like Princess Diana. Knowing that regal information, when you are with her I think you must stand a little straighter, walk a little taller and smile with one of those “I know something special” poses. Ya know, I feel the very same way when I watch you and your Mom on your shows. Your Mom reminds me so much of my sweet Mom patiently trying to get me to slow down and take my time sewing a garment. I have hundreds of sweet memories of her trying again and again to show me the right way to make something. On the other hand, you Mary have the hand gestures and voice of my daughter. It is uncanny. So while watching I can have three generations of my family. Love this Royalty thingy!

  6. Judy Forkner
    | Reply

    At least your mother learned from her mistake & did not marry another jerk! I can tell that from the way you describe him!

  7. Sue S
    | Reply

    I think your mom is pretty special too, not for what she went through but for how she and your family came out of it. Strength is beautiful as are strong women. She hasn’t lost any of her ‘princess’ qualities. In fact, she’s my favorite kind of princess, the one that saves herself. Rock on Marianne!

  8. Sue
    | Reply

    I saw a picture of the author Elizabeth Strout and thought she looked familiar. I finally decided she looked like a blonde Marianne Fons!

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