All this was vintage Diana. She had the greatest gift for happiness of anyone I’ve ever known. When she made her mind up to move into the home, for instance, she had to get rid of almost everything. She managed to enjoy giving things away, thinking of the people who would love them, but parting with her books was not possible. It made her so ill she thought she was having a heart attack and was rushed to hospital. It wasn’t a heart attack, but grief, and when she came back it was over. She didn’t miss them any more, she said. She’d kept the 30 or 40 she couldn’t live without; and “Highgate library is terrific, you can have six books at a time!”
Five years later, in 2015, her heart did begin to misbehave. I went to see her in hospital and found her in a crowded ward. “D’you see that old man across from me?” she said. “My dear, he has a whole harem of women who come to visit him. They’re so sweet and patient with him, it’s extraordinary!” At first she’d been worried to be moved to a ward, but it was much more entertaining. And her bed was next to the window, so she could look out and see the trees. “All you really need,” she said, “is to see trees.” All you really need, I thought, if you’re Diana.