CONTROVERSIAL feminist Germaine Greer sparked uproar yesterday when she claimed that Princess Diana was a "devious moron" who came to a "sticky end" after messing up her life.
The outspoken academic and author launched a tirade against the late Princess of Wales during a talk at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Greer claimed Diana had failed in her "insane job" as Princess of Wales and ridiculed her for allegedly bombarding a former lover with nuisance calls.
The Australian writer, who was there to promote her new book about Shakespeare's wife Ann Hathaway, went on to argue that the princess's infidelity and actions were at odds with popular perceptions of her as an "angel."
Greer claimed Hathaway had been reviled unfairly after her death in contrast with Diana, who she feels has been unjustly venerated after her death in a car crash in Paris in 1997.
Although many in the crowd greeted Greer's comments with laughter and applause, some were offended. One member of the audience said: "I came here to learn about Ann Hathaway not to be subjected to an mean-spirited rant against a woman who cannot defend herself."
The event host, journalist and broadcaster Ruth Wishart, eventually intervened to stop Greer going further.
The author, who revealed she had been researching and writing an article about Princess Diana, said: "One of things I have always been troubled by with Diana was why her whole life was such a mess. She made a mess of being Princess of Wales but that is fine because the job is not do-able. It is an insane job and historically all but one of the Princesses of Wales have come to a sticky end, some even stickier than Diana's."
Greer, author of the best-selling feminist treatise, The Female Eunuch, added: "I have also wondered why Diana couldn't adjust to life after being HRH.
"This still puzzles me. Diana did that no-no thing - she slept with married men. You do that in Hello magazine and you are out of the human race. You are beyond contempt.
"She slept with Will Carling [the England rugby captain] and was forgiven somehow, despite his marriage being in a very delicate state. Diana then slept with Oliver Hoare, the antiques dealer, who eventually realised he was in deep shit and went back to his wife.
"This (Diana) is a very complicated woman. Diana made 300 nuisance telephone calls to his home telephone number. Yet this is the angel that people want to crown."
Greer said she had come to the conclusion that Diana was "a devious moron".
At this point, Wishart, who was compering the session, halted proceedings, saying to Greer: "I'm just going to save you from yourself there."
Greer conceded that her remarks on Diana would be controversial, stating that she might "have to go into hiding for a while and buy a bulletproof vest".
No-one from Clarence House, which speaks on behalf of Princes William and Harry, was available to comment.