The Big Issue : Edition 530
46 THE BIG ISSUE X MONTH – X MONTH 2016 CLICK WORDS BY MICHAEL EPIS » PHOTOGRAPH BY GETTY Mother Teresa and Princess Diana, 1997 NEXT EDITION OF THE BIG ISSUE ON SALE ... FRIDAY 24 FEBRUARY EIGHTY-SEVEN YEARS after being born in the Ottoman Empire to Albanian and Indian parents, Mother Teresa’s body was overcome by the ailments that had afflicted her. Her only possessions at the time of her death were the clothes she was wearing, a Bible, two pairs of sandals and glasses, a wooden washing bucket, a jumper and a set of rosary beads. The next day Princess Diana was buried, after a lavish funeral watched by all of Britain and much of the world. When she was lowered into her grave on an island in Althorp Park, the family home for centuries, clasped in her hands were rosary beads given to her by Mother Teresa. “She was very concerned for the poor,” Mother Teresa said in her dying days of Princess Diana. “She was very anxious to do something for them, and it was beautiful. That is why she was close to me.” The two had enjoyed five years of friendship, from their first meeting in Rome in 1992 until their last, in New York (left), just two months before their deaths. Mother Teresa – now Saint Teresa of Kolkata – was of course a friend to the poor throughout her life, founding the Missionaries of Charity, a Catholic order of nuns. Diana – who was Lady Diana even before her marriage to the Prince of Wales – lived a life of privilege, growing up in a house on Sandringham Estate rented from the Queen, where she played with Princes Andrew and Edward as a child. Yet what work she did was primarily for charities tending to the poor, the disabled, the sick and the marginalised. Diana’s parents divorced when she was a child, in part because of the pressure on her mother to deliver a son to carry on the Spencer name (Diana was the third daughter, followed belatedly by a brother, Charles). When she was recruited to marry Prince Charles, it was her lineage – and her virginity – that won her the position. The Prince could not marry the woman he loved, as she had already married and was not a virgin. Diana came to think of herself as a brood mare, there to pump out progeny. When Britain mourned, it was darkened by the complicit guilt of being privy to the minutiae of her loveless marriage, care of the tabloids, hounded as she was by the paparazzi to the very end.