Mazal tov to Grandma Di!

Mazal tov to Grandma Di!

August 31, 1997. I am in the 4th month of my first pregnancy and feeling far more nauseous and hormonal than I ever have in my whole life.

And then I hear my husband’s key in the door: ”There’s some sad news, Jenny…Princess Diana was seriously injured in a car accident in Paris right now. It’s not clear what’s going to be.”

We get out my husband’s shortwave radio and listen to the BBC for hours. And I am filled with 50% disbelief and 50% dread, “She can’t be dead, Princess Di can’t be dead, please make everything OK.”

But she was dead. At the age of 36, leaving her two sons orphaned at the age of 12 and 14.

And for me, that day was one of the darkest days of my life. Like this news had come and switched off the lights.

And it wasn’t just me. The entire world mourned for Princess Di. Her funeral drew an estimated 3 million people in London, and an additional 2.5 billion people watched it on television.

After her death, my mother pointed out that it had always seemed strange to her that everyone called Princess Diana “Di.” “Everyone was calling her Di, Di, Di—and then she did.”

And now, 16 years later, just as the world was united in mourning, today we are united in joy. A new baby boy born to the royal family!

Which makes me think differently about that tragic accident 16 years ago.

Princess Di, I realize now, didn’t exactly die that day– since she had children, who would have children themselves. Her choice to have children meant that, in a way, she had eternal life.

I learned today from Rabbanit Margalit Sharfer that every family is a tree. The husband is the trunk and the branches. The children are the fruit. And the mother? What is the mother?

The mother is the soil.

Some people might find this offensive. What? My husband’s the trunk and branches and my kids are the fruit, and I’m the dirt!

But when I heard this, I wasn’t offended. In fact, this idea moved me to tears. I realized that unless a tree’s roots are set into rich soil, it will whither and die. Just like a family can’t thrive without a mother working so hard behind the scenes, underneath the surface, nurturing, feeding, organizing, cleaning, loving, praying…to keep that tree growing up and up.

But the most important thing a mother does is the first thing as well—-bringing a child into the world. Like Princess Di. And Duchess Kate. And me. And you. And all the mothers who choose to create the ultimate vessel for blessing, the secret of eternal life-—a child.

So I want to wish a huge Mazal tov to Prince William and Duchess Kate and Prince Charles and to Grandma Diana too– since this Royal baby would never have existed without you.


  1. I have a similar story – only I was 8 months pregnant with my 3rd child when the Princess died. I cried and cried. I’d followed her all through my young teen years – she was someone I looked up to even with all of her trials and tribulations.

    Today, I’ve been teary-eyed but because I am happy for William & Kate and new baby Prince of Cambridge. It’s amazing to watch this family grow and change and start families of their own.

    ~K 🙂

  2. I’ve heard the Jewish wife compared to the roots of the tree, she being the foundation and innately tzanua.

    Also, a few weeks ago I heard a rumor that this new Royal baby is actually a Jew because Kate’s maternal grandmother was a Jew. They were saying that perhaps we will be witness to another Esther-in-the-palace story.

    Anyone else know anything?

    • I found this:

      It says:
      Remember Michael Cole, the BBC TV court correspondent who was later Mohamed Fayed’s spokesman in 1997 when Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed died? He correctly predicted Prince George’s name in the East Anglian Daily Times.

      “He will have four names [in fact there are three] but I predict the first of them will be George, a favourite, propitious name in the royal family,” Cole wrote from Suffolk where he lives.

      Cole recently wrote in The Times that the baby would be Jewish. “Carole Middleton is the daughter of Ronald Goldsmith and Dorothy Harrison, both Jews. The parents of Dorothy were Robert Harrison and Elizabeth Temple, both Jews. Elizabeth was descended from the Myers, a distinguished 19th-century Jewish family.”

      Sadly, Doreen Berger, chairman of the Jewish Genealogical Society, has refuted Cole’s claim.

      “The Goldsmith surname is shared by many who are not of Jewish descent,” she writes. “The same applies to the surname Myers.”

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