It was a funeral fit for a king, a high ranking politician or royalty. A widow, clad completely in black from head to toe, hair pulled back tightly into a mourning style bun, face covered with a mourning veil and an entrance into the cathedral for a funeral mass that would be talked about for decades to come. It was the funeral for Celine Dion’s former manager and husband, Rene Angelil.
Almost every move made during Angelil’s funeral, appeared more like a Vegas show than a funeral. It was almost as though in making preparations for his own funeral, he had still wanted Dion showcased so that all eyes would remain on her and, they were.
From the extreme dressing and hairstyle, complete with a mourning veil that few have worn for many decades, Dion stood out as she walked solemnly up to the cathedral doors, mid-centre of her 2 youngest sons, holding their hands, with eldest son in tow but at a rather lofty distance so that his mother would stand out as the grieving widow. It almost seemed well panned and rehearsed, at least, mentally.
The couple were considered “Quebec, Canadian Royalty” and thus, the Queen was every bit the part both during the visitation but, most spectacularly, during the funeral itself. This was a State Funeral, usually only reserved for dignitaries and those who were in the political arena. Angelil was neither but, he received the right to have such a send-off.
Dion and Angelil had been married for some 21 years with 3 children. She had known him from the time she was 12 years old and had begun a secret affair with him when she was 19 years of age. At age 26, she married him in every bit the lavish ceremony, at the same cathedral which held his funeral. No details were spared at either of the glamorous ceremonies.
However, Dion wasn’t Angelil’s only wife nor, were their 3 children, his only children. Angelil had 2 other wives and 3 other children. Dion was his 3rd wife yet, there was little, if any, recognition during that funeral of his other 3 children from his first 2 marriages. Instead, the spot light was almost totally focused solely upon Dion and her 3 children from Angelil.
It may be sounding cold-hearted to state the above in such a manner and most certainly, there was pain and grief within Dion over her husband’s passing. Not only had he been her husband for a couple of decades but also, he was responsible for Dion’s stardom. There was much for Dion to grieve in his loss.
What is most striking is that Angelil, being 26 years her senior and having battled cancer for 13 years, it was pretty much inevitable, though not certain, that he would depart this earth before she did. Yet, the world mourned with Dion at her loss as though Angelil’s death had come as a huge shock and surprise to not only her fans but, also her. Truth was that Angelil had been in a form of palliative care with a feeding tube for some time before his passing. He hadn’t been a well man for many, many years. This shouldn’t have been the appearing shock that it was made out to be.
Not that it makes it any easier to lose someone you dearly love, care and had relied upon but, the entire funeral and almost show-case style funeral would have made Jackie Kennedy roll over in her grave. Even her own much beloved husband, John Kennedy, shot and killed while sitting beside her in a moving car then, dying in her arms, at a much younger age than Angelil, was less dramatized than Dion and her beloved Rene’s funeral.
That’s show biz for you though. Dion had been trained from a young age to be on stage and play the role. She was no stranger to the public and performing and, she certainly didn’t miss the boat in having centre stage with a leading part in this case either.
Said to be “too grief stricken” to attend her brother’s funeral the day after her husband’s extravagant funeral from the same disease, same type at the age of 59, Dion had only shown up for a visitation/memorial service for Daniel Dion but, declined to appear at his funeral. It was quite the contrast in look to her “Widow Look” the day before.
What a difference a day makes or perhaps, it was the idea that this funeral wasn’t meant to showcase the singer and couldn’t spot light her as “The Grieving Widow”? It’s hard to say and it’s certain that people’s hearts went out to the diva in both losses.
It’s hard to remember the Dion isn’t the first to have lost her husband and Angelil’s death was far from the most tragic of deaths. Many have lost loved ones to far more sudden and shocking deaths, left behind with no money to care for themselves and their children. It’s hard to be too sympathetic or empathetic when one thinks about it those terms and especially, given the idea that Angelil was nearly 74 years of age at his passing, had lived a full life while he was alive as well as having had luxuries beyond belief, including the ability to gamble massive amounts of money weekly and several huge homes world-wide.
It’s said that Dion has an estimated personal worth of $630 million while Angelil left behind an estimated over $400 million. That would leave Dion well off, even were Angelil’s estate to have been divided solely amongst his 6 children. Likely not the case, Dion is now a Billionaire. She is far from a “hard luck story” with baggage to hold onto, much like many women who lose their husbands tragically and young, left with little to no money.
Enough said but, from my Little Corner of Life, it’s time for the world to go on with our own lives and remember that Dion, while having evoked tears from many of us, will “go on”. She is well surrounded by many both paid and un-paid, family as well as fans. She is far from what many widows find themselves facing and dealing with and, it’s a safe bet that we will all hear that she’s with someone new and that she is announcing wedding bells to be run again. After all, she’s only 47 years old, attractive, sexy, a huge star and, one of the richest singers in the world. Don’t cry for me Argentina.