Social/cultural norms are practices which have been accepted as rules and regulations and are used to govern the behaviours in which members of a society adhere to so that they are able to coexist peacefully. Social/cultural norms have been developed and passed down from various individuals who are our forefathers and they are present for the purpose of ensuring the individuals in a society can coexist harmoniously for a long period of time. Social/cultural norms which have been used to express grief can be represented in various ways (Aarts & Dijksterhuls 2003, p.20). Grief is a response which people have after they lose someone they loved or adored. Grief is usually an emotional response which is represented through crying and sadness but can also entail other responses such as abnormal personality disorder in severe cases. When an individual dies the grief response which is usually represented and is present is mourning. People will cry, play music which the death person liked and other activities so that they may remember the time in which they had and enjoyed with the departed person. Mourning is a social/cultural norm in most societies and is seen as a way of accepting the loss of an individual and is a needed process for the people who have been left behind to be able to continue with their lives (Lapinski & Rimal 2005, p.135).
The Queen is a movie which is a fictional British drama film that depicts how the British Royal Family responded to the death of Princess Diana who was at the time of her death the Princess of Wales. The film also recreates a depiction of the events which occurred after Princess Diana’s death and how the public responded to her demise. In the film the Royal Family regard the death of Princess Diana as a private matter which does not warrant it to be treated or viewed as a Royal death (British Board of Film Classification 2006, n.p.). However, Tony Blair the Prime Minister and Prince Charles who happened to be Princess Diana’s ex-husband are of the view that her death should be treated as a Royal death and should be accorded all the formalities and processes that come about when a Royal dies. The general public also desire that there should be an official expression of grief in regard to the death of Princess Diana. The situation worsens after the media debate royal protocol as to whether Princess Diana was a Royal at the time of her death since she had been divorced from her husband before her demise. Issues regarding republicanism also come up from the media which complicates the matter for the Royal family (Junor 2005, n.p.). The Queen is also advised by Blair that she should address the nation about the life and legacy of Princess Diana. The way in which the royal family treated the death of Princess Diana initially was viewed by the public as unfair but in a way, they wished to grieve in private for the loss of their love one. As it is individuals express their grievances in various ways. It is however essential to respect the views of individuals who wish to grieve someone who they looked up to such as Princess Diana.
The movie depicts social/cultural norms of expressing grief when the general public pile up flowers on the railing of the Royal palace. It is a social/cultural norm for individuals to send flowers to the family of the bereaved person as a sign that they are grieving with them in their loss. Tony Blair, Prince Charles and the general public display their grievance also by wishing the best send off for Princess Diana (Fitzpatrick 2009, n.p.). They wish that she should be buried as a Royal and her burial should be treated as an official matter. These acts show express grief in that they wish for the funeral of Princess Diana to be an occasion which is carried out with her status as a Royal intact even though at the time of her death she was divorced from Prince Charles.
I think there was a public outpouring of grief following Diana’s death because the general public liked her. They preferred and were in favour of her as a Princess and her status as being part of the Royal family. Even after she was divorced from Prince Charles the general public were still in favour of her and viewed her as a Princess. The fact that the general public loved her so much was the reason as to why there was a huge public outpouring of grief following her death. The manner in which the general public liked Princess Diana makes them display a social/cultural norm of grieving when they piled up flowers on the palace railings. The also fought for her burial to be treated as an official Royal matter. I think the movie dealt with social/cultural expression of grieving in a very appropriate manner (Giselle2009, p.41). It was able to display the passion the general public had for Princess Diana through the influx of flowers at the Royal palace and fighting for her burial to be considered an official Royal affair.
The Royal family later goes back to London and they inspect the flowers which were placed by the general public as a tribute to Princess Diana. This is a sign that they also accept and play part in the grieving of Princess Diana. The Queen also follows Tony Blair’s recommendations of speaking on public television about the life and legacy of Princess Diana (Manzoor 2007, n.p.). A few months later Blair attends a weekly meeting at Buckingham palace where he sees the Queen displaying a response of compassion to the death of Princess Diana. This is an expression of grieving from the queen. The queen is hard on Blair but as the movie ends they walk together in the gardens of Buckingham palace (Gritten 2006, n.p.). This is a sign that social/cultural norms related to how people express grief can make them unite together and support each other as they help each other in the grieving process and continue with life even after the death of an important individual whom they cared for and loved.
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Fitzpatrick M. 2009. Dream property to let: take to the tower. The Daily Telegraph. n.p.
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Gritten D. 2006. I do look abit like the Queen you know. The Daily Telegraph. n.p.
Junor P. 2005. The Firm: The Troubled Life of the House of Windsor. HarperCollins. n.p.
Lapinski M. K., Rimal R. N. 2005. An explication of social norms. Communication Theory. 15(2):127-147.
Manzoor S. 2007. The power behind the throne. The Guardian. n.p.
THE QUEEN (12A). 2006. British Board of Film Classification. n.p.