Who knows what she would look like - no doubt still beautiful and a royal style icon. Where would she be living and what would she be doing? All questions that have been asked many times in the two decades since Diana, Princess of Wales died prematurely in a car accident in Paris. No one knows but what is certain is that one idea of the life she never lived has caught the public imagination in recent days. The thought of Granny Diana has taken hold and is fast becoming as much a part of her story as all that actually happened.
The phrase is used by her eldest son William, publicly, for the first time in the TV documentary he takes part in tonight. The ITV programme is called Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy and it goes out in the UK at 9pm on Monday 24th July. The Duke of Cambridge talks about telling his children of 'Granny Diana', of putting up more pictures so that they know what she looked like, of making her a part of their lives. He says he wants them to know that 'there are...there were two grandmothers'. Diana never got to meet George or Charlotte but their father is determined they will know exactly who she was.
Watch The Duke talk about Granny Diana and about keeping the memory of the late Princess alive for Prince George and Princess Charlotte. pic.twitter.com/crmKG9Y7Ua— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) July 24, 2017
When you take just a minute to stop and think about it, it's heartbreaking. Just the few pre publicity snippets of this programme have shown us two princes who miss their mother more than they have even been able to say openly before. And as the first born of them guides his own children through life, he's trying to make the mother he lost too early as important to them as other parts of their family. His love for her and the love he knows she would have for his own son and daughter are there in every word and every look.
Granny Diana comes alive in William's words. He talks about her being a 'lovely grandmother' and also a 'nightmare', imagining her turning up at bath time and throwing water all over the place then leaving with the place in a mess and the two grandchildren happy and content. And it's clear that he does imagine it, he does think about it as he would, as he should, as he must. His mother is alive in his mind and knowing that she will never get to play with George or Charlotte, imagining it must bring some kind of solace.
Granny Diana also lives in the new revelations from William and Harry about the princess as a mother. Harry calls her the 'naughtiest parent' and talks about her telling him to be cheeky just never get caught. The two princes reminisce about her smuggling them sweets and talk about being covered in love. They've shared photos from her private album which show them as little boys, hugging and playing with their mum. That legacy of fun and cuddles still lives on as her grandchildren grow.
There are many parts to Diana's story and the huge interest that's already been shown in this programme before it even goes out indicates that the fascination never ends. There is still a hunger for snippets about the princess and to hear her two sons speak so candidly about her has got everyone else talking too. William has given an insight into how she remains a big part of their lives and will influence the next generation of royals too. Granny Diana is another chapter in the always fascinating tale of a princess who had something for everyone.
Photo credit: Kensington Palace Twitter.