I’M surprised Scottish nationalists don’t speak more about Princess Diana because if there was ever a moment when I felt the rest of Britain was a foreign country, it was during the weeks of hysteria after her death – although scrutinising the various Diana hashtags on Twitter this week showed there were plenty of sensible English people who felt the same.

Just as some lonely people hate Christmas because it demands that everyone get festive, sensible people must loathe the Diana anniversaries because every TV programme and opinion column acts like the whole country grieved and sobbed when she died.

Well, we didn’t. Some people are alone on Christmas Day and some people, like me, watched The Life of Brian on the day Diana died (there was no direct connection; that just happened to be the day I discovered Monty Python films).

I wasn’t sobbing. I was keenly interested when the news broke, certainly, but I didn’t feel bereft or bereaved. Why should I? She was as relevant to me as the Prime Minister of New Zealand, or my postman’s third cousin.

It’s a shame she died young, and it’s a shame she had mental health issues and an unhappy marriage, but plenty of us endure those terrible things and do it without the cushion of glamour, yachts, and wealth.

So I didn’t share the grief then, and I don’t share it now. My cold attitude is probably reflected in my mother’s blunt reaction on hearing the news: she walked into the living room, still half-asleep, and squinted at the TV which was showing a portrait of Diana with “1961-1997” beneath it. My mum yawned and said: “Ye’d hink she wiz deid.”

There have been plenty of programmes recently to mark the 20th anniversary of Diana’s death but the one which got my attention was The Day Britain Cried (STV, Tuesday). It stood out from the tear-stained pack because of its mawkish, sentimental, embarrassing title.

“This’ll be some laugh,” I thought when I sat down to watch it, getting ready for Jeremy Kyle-levels of emotion, and Jeremy Kyle-levels of sincerity. So I’m almost reluctant to admit it deserves some praise.

Before the 20th anniversary, the Diana programme which whipped up a lot of hype and scandal was Channel 4’s recent Diana In Her Own Words. It broadcast tapes where she discussed Prince Charles’s awkward courtship and her alienation in the royal family.

The tapes were quite interesting, but the show was shamelessly padded out with the pointless and useless contributors. We had her former florist and ballet teacher giving us their thoughts, if I remember correctly, and someone who met her once.

In contrast, The Day Britain Cried had quite an impressive list of talking heads. There were journalists and official photographers, the British ambassador to France, who was at the hospital with Diana, and we also had royal protection officers and the pallbearers who carried her body into Westminster Abbey. I had expected sniffly Brits giving us their memories of seeing her hearse go by, or of leaving flowers at Kensington Palace, but this show actually produced some worthy and expert names, and was proudly narrated by Kate Winslet.

Even the topics covered were quite bold, and confounded any expectations the daft, soppy title provoked.

The soldiers who carried the heavy, lead-lined coffin discussed how one of them stumbled slightly and the coffin swayed on their shoulders. The ghastly prospect of them dropping the coffin was raised.

It almost seemed disrespectful, and not a fitting topic for a programme with such a sentimental title, but it was a fact – the coffin was very heavy, the soldiers had had little time for rehearsal, and their shoulders were actually grazed from the weight.

These discordant facts were the reality of such an elaborate state funeral. Instead of being flippant, these stories just reinforced the pressure, stress and magnitude of the day for those involved.

Likewise with the manner of Diana’s death. It was said that the British public would not easily accept that such ordinary things like alcohol, a concrete tunnel and a Saturday night were involved in her demise: “That is not something which happens to your fairy princess.”

Admitting such a thing, that her death was a bit commonplace, would have been blasphemy not so long ago, and again I had to give a respectful nod to this show for not slavishly idolising her, and looking away from the uncomfortable aspects.

Perhaps if she had died a more “romantic” death then the grieving population would have been more accepting, but to have their fairy princess taken away in such tawdry circumstances was a shock. The shock played itself out in weird displays of hysteria on the streets, and left many people baffled and a bit cold.

The poor old Queen was also judged to be cold in her response, and, again, it was brave of the show to raise this.

Some might say she was being dignified, but the public called it callousness, and demanded she join them in their cellophane-scented wailing.

When she finally released a filmed statement, it was described as having the “visual grammar of a hostage video”. I wish she’d been able to grieve, or not, in private. Why was she forced to join the circus to appease a bunch of hysterics?

While I have no fondness for the royal family, I do have a quiet respect for the Queen, who always seems stoical and unruffled, and so very wearied by the absolute state of everything!

It was a shame she was pulled down into the pit of ostentatious mourning and branded with the hallmark of insincerity.