Fairy tales are not always nice. There are princesses, but there are ogres and sometimes there are wicked witches.
Those arriving in their thousands at Kensington Palace in London today to lay their floral tributes to Diana, Princess of Wales, on the 20th anniversary of her death, will believe those elements were all present in her fairytale life.
Her Prince Not-So-Charming, Charles, always loved someone else and could act in ogre-like ways.
Her mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth II, seemed like a cold and unfeeling witch at times.
The flip side is that Diana was one of the most shrewd manipulators of the media in history – and we, her media accomplices, worked willingly with her.
In the end, maybe, our fascination led to her demise in the high-speed car crash in Paris as “paparazzi” photographers hounded her.
But the media only reflects the world – and it was media consumers who were besotted with Di, and they drove the front-page hunger.
Yet, she did – in her campaigns and public appearances for good causes such as Aids and anti-landmine programmes – remind us of our power to rise above our pettiness and think of other human beings.
In that sense, Diana’s fairytale did have a happy ending.