Whoosh! Issue 15 -
December 1997


IAXS project #404
By Anthony M. Santomenno, Jr.
Copyright © 1997 held by author
3119 words

Author's Note:

"Now, I know what you're thinking: 'Did he fire six shots or only five?'"

Excuse me. I could not resist. No, I am not Clint Eastwood in disguise, merely a regular guy trying to get published in Whoosh! As you can plainly see, my name's Anthony M. Santomenno, Jr. I am a freshman at Central Connecticut State University, majoring in Computer Science. I am also a self-described hard-core nutball Xena fan. Do not try to help me. It is too late.

To spare you the gory details of my oh-so-fascinating life, I was at home, writing in my journal, when the thought struck me: Xena and Princess Diana -- more alike than you might think. This was about a week after Diana's untimely death, right after I had finished watching LOST MARINER (#45), Sunday, 9/7/97. I was still kind of in shock, but when this inspiration struck, I went with it. At first, it was just a few paragraphs. Then a "Top Ten" list. Then four. And now, it is an official Reserved Topic (#404) on the Whoosh! waiting list. As soon as it is finished, I am going to send it to Whoosh! and then they will (hopefully) publish it. What can I say? I am on a roll! Now, if I can just finish this Ares-cursed thingamabob...

Introduction (01-02)
Character Development (03-08)
     Trauma (03-05)
     Healing (06-08)
Redefining Themselves (09-15)
Relationships with Friends and Family (16-26)
Conclusion (27-28)
End Notes (29-34)

More Alike than You May Think:
Xena, Warrior Princess and Diana, Princess of Wales


Why running is better than taking a car Argo!!!! Comeback!!!!!!

Princess Diana and the Warrior Princess, always up for a quick jog.

[01] Think of Xena, Warrior Princess. Now think of Diana, Princess of Wales. See a resemblance? No? Well, that's okay. On the surface, they are entirely different (not to mention Xena being fictional and Diana being for real--sort of), but beneath, who would have guessed?

[02] This article will only consider the more recent events in both women's lives. With Xena, especially, anything more would be too much for one article.

Character Development


[03] Xena and Diana were women who had chosen their roles early in life. Xena was still in her teens when Amphipolis was attacked. She decided to take up a sword and defend it, rather than evacuate with the rest and risk being captured and enslaved. Diana, on the other hand, was all of 19 when she became engaged to Prince Charles.

[04] Both women struggled to redefine themselves after traumatic upheavals in their lives. For Xena, the betrayal of her second-in-command, Darphus, and the loss of her army left her without a purpose in life [THE GAUNTLET (#H12)]. Coupled with what were the feelings of guilt and remorse that Hercules had reawakened within her, she was left contemplating either giving up the sword altogether, or possibly suicide [SINS OF THE PAST (#01)].

[05] Diana's trauma has been well-defined. After word of Prince Charles' infidelity leaked to the press, along with reports of her own struggles with depression, bulimia and suicide attempts, she finally agreed to a divorce. She was stripped of the title "Her Royal Highness", and officially barred from inheriting the title "Her Majesty, the Queen" from Queen Elizabeth II. "Out of the loop", as it were, she wondered what to do next.


Nothing like a little mayhem beforebreakfast!

Xena, in a rare change of costume
in SINS OF THE PAST (01/101).

[06] Fortunately, both women had friends and/or family that they could turn to for support and guidance. Xena's support system, however, was not immediately obvious to her. Xena, having wandered over near the village of Poteidaia, had given the last of her food to a starving boy whose village she had destroyed. Then she tried to bury her weapons and armor, but was interrupted by Draco, formerly part of her army, who was in the process of enslaving the villagers and pillaging their belongings. Xena snapped out of her funk and easily defeated the slavers. As the freed villagers of Poteidaia returned to their homes, there was one young woman who lingered, fascinated by Xena. It was none other than Gabrielle, future wife of Perdicus and would-be bard, who was fated to become an integral part of Xena's life from now on -- although neither knew this at the time. All Gabrielle knew was that this raven-haired apparition represented the best story she'd ever heard of and could well be her ticket out of obscurity [SINS OF THE PAST (#01)].

[07] Gabrielle followed Xena back to Amphipolis, where she stopped a mob of angry villagers from stoning Xena to death -- and also prevented Xena from just letting them do it. After Xena had driven off Draco, she visited Lyceus' grave, feeling more alone than ever. Gabrielle hesitantly approached Xena and told her that she was not alone. Touched by this show of devotion, and perhaps unwilling to hurt Gabrielle's feelings, Xena allowed the aspiring bard to travel with her, helping people in need. They were to roam from one end of Greece to the other, all over the ancient world. You could almost hear a voice saying, "This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship." And it was.

[08] Diana's support team was a little more obvious. Aside from her sons, William and Harry, both her brother (the 9th Earl of Spencer) and her two sisters remained close and supportive, offsetting the post-divorce coolness of their mother and the continuing remoteness of the Windsors. Also, she cultivated a relationship with "Dodi" Fayed, heir to the Harrods' Dept. Store fortune. Mr. Fayed became Diana's closest companion and confidant. There was even talk of marriage.

Redefining Themselves

"Marcus, it is so simple. You do one thing, one good thing, for no other reason than you know it's right. That's the first step."
--Xena, THE PATH NOT TAKEN (#05)

[09] What did Xena and Diana want out of life more than anything else? As the noted psychologist, Abraham H. Maslow, would have put it, they were pursuing Stage Five his "Hierarchy of Needs": Self-Actualization [see " THE PRICE: An Application of Maslow's 'Hierarchy of Needs'", by Richard LaFleur, Whoosh! #11. Or in layman's terms, a sense of purpose in life. The knowledge that they were contributing to society and doing something worthwhile.

[10] Approximately six months to a year after their aforementioned traumas (see above), Xena and Diana were now struggling to find new identities. Xena was no longer "just" a warrior, living only for battle. Diana was no longer "just" a princess, living only to serve her husband and family.

The trash of today is the antique oftomorrow!

Xena attempts to bury her past -- literally.

[11] Xena arrived at her decision to help people in a fairly roundabout fashion. At first, she only wanted to rid herself of everything that reminded her of her former life as a ruthless conqueror [SINS OF THE PAST (#01)]. Then, having decided that giving up her weapons and armor would be self-defeating, she tried to go home again -- to Amphipolis. But she was rejected by her family and the rest of the village, and was almost stoned to death. Finally, she did what came naturally and fought Draco one-on-one where the loser dies. Xena won the fight, but spared Draco's life. She had not lost her warlike edge, but she had learned how to be merciful. Xena was able to reconcile her differences with Amphipolis then. They had seen that Xena really had changed, after all.

[12] Afterwards, though, when Xena visited Lyceus' grave, she only felt more alone than ever. Enter the aspiring bard Gabrielle, who made it very clear that Xena was not alone. She was sticking to the Warrior Princess' side as if they were joined at the hip. Xena began to fully realize how badly she wanted and needed a friend, even one as pushy as Gabrielle.

[13] It was clear from the start that they complemented one another. Gabrielle was blond where Xena was dark; contemplative where Xena was impulsive; and peaceful where Xena was warlike. As Xena told Gabrielle in ULYSSES (#43)], "You've been so good for me." Gabrielle had taught Xena how to love again, and through that love she had become stronger than ever.

[14] For Diana, it was more straightforward. Her previous charitable work, not to mention raising her two sons, gave her all the impetus she needed. Diana became an unofficial ambassador (a rank that was to have become more official, according to Prime Minister Tony Blair) crusading for the rights of poor and terminally ill children.

[15] She ventured to the farthest, most remote corners of the globe, such as war-torn Bosnia, where she symbolically detonated a land mine; to the slums of Calcutta, where she met Mother Theresa; to drought-stricken villages in eastern Africa. She went into AIDS hospices and comforted the dying patients with a hug. For some, it was the first human contact they had had outside of a doctor or a nurse, in a very long time. Wherever there was a worthy cause, Diana was on the front lines. She was no armchair activist. She cared, and with that caring, she became stronger than ever.

Relationships with Friends and Family

[16] Both Xena and Diana had tumultuous relationships with their friends and families. Xena and her family had a falling out early in her career as a warrior. When Xena refused to give up the life of a warrior after the initial battle to defend Amphipolis against the warlord Cortese, and when her younger brother Lyceus was killed in that battle, Cyrene turned her back on her daughter [DEATH MASK (#23)]. Spurred by her mother's rejection, and fearful that other warlords would come, Xena built up an army to protect Amphipolis. Feeling the need for more security, she conquered a neighboring village; and then another; and another. Somewhere along the way, she lost sight of her goal, and became worse than the warlords she had once feared.

[17] She was also estranged from her older brother, Toris, who felt that she was responsible for Lyceus' death. Toris had evacuated along with many of the other villagers when Cortese attacked. After Lyceus' death, Toris spent almost ten years trying to track down Cortese and kill him. Eventually, Xena persuaded him to spare Cortese, and move back to Amphipolis [DEATH MASK (#23)]

[18] Diana also had problems after she married Prince Charles. Although she remained close to her brother Charles and her two sisters, she had a very difficult time getting along with the Windsors. Queen Elizabeth II was the major problem. Prince Charles refused to stand up to her or gainsay her, especially when she disapproved of Diana's child-rearing methods. Diana gave her boys a very different upbringing than Charles, even though they attended the most prestigious boarding schools in England. Despite her demanding schedule, Diana always made the time to be with William and Harry, and doted on them.

[19] After the divorce, Diana had a very difficult time with her own mother, who (although she never said so publicly) was very disappointed that her daughter had divorced the Prince of Wales, no matter the reasons. Of course, there was bitterness toward her ex-husband, whom Diana believed had neglected her needs. Instead of attending to her, Prince Charles took up with another woman (Camilla Parker-Bowles). It was hard for Diana to understand why he preferred her over his own wife.

[20] Both women absolutely detested people prying into their personal life. This was clear in Diana's love/hate relationship with the papparazzi and other members of the press, right up to the moment of her death. You can also see it in the initial stages of Xena's relationship with Gabrielle, and also whenever a wannabe warlord or star-struck admirer practically threw themselves at her (one way or another)[BLIND FAITH (#42); A DAY IN THE LIFE (#39)].

[21] Both women were tragically unlucky in love. Diana's "fairy-tale" marriage to Prince Charles ended in a bitter divorce when (among other things) his infidelity -- and hers -- was revealed. Also, Diana lost her chance at happiness when both she and her new love, Dodi Fayed, were killed in a car crash in Paris.

Be glad you're not that Marcus guy on B5 -- he died and*didn't* come back!

Xena and Marcus
from THE PATH NOT TAKEN (05/105).

[22] The great love of Xena's life was Marcus, one of her oldest and closest friends. Marcus had been part of Xena's army at the Battle of Corinth (see " The Battle of Corinth", Parts 1-6, by Clayton Power, Whoosh! #1-6, respectively), and had been richly rewarded by Xena for his bravery and skill. When Xena gave up her dreams of empire, they still remained close, and might have married if it had not been for Marcus' untimely death [THE PATH NOT TAKEN (#05)]. Xena also found herself attracted to Ulysses, King of Ithaca, when she helped him reclaim his kingdom from Poseidon's pirates [ULYSSES (#43)]. Ulysses was willing to give up everything to be with Xena, but she could not bring herself to come between Ulysses and his wife, Penelope. Ultimately, Xena decided that Ulysses' queen and his people needed him more than she did.

[23] Xena's problems with her son, Solon, were more complex. When her son was born, Xena was still trying to conquer Greece. According to Xena's account, it was roughly 10 years before the Xena episode ORPHAN OF WAR (#25). Solon's father, Borias, had been one of Xena's warriors. He had deserted Xena's army and gone over to the Centaurs, whom she was fighting at the time. Xena ordered that he be captured alive, but Borias was killed by Dagnine, one of her top officers. Xena knew that Solon would be in danger as long as he remained with her. She gave him up for adoption by Kaleipus, a centaur she knew and had fought against. He agreed, on the condition that Xena withdraw her forces and never return. She agreed, and with Kaleipus her son would be safe, and grow up strong and well-educated.

And your hair is prettier than mine, too!  That'sannoying!

Xena and Solan
in ORPHAN OF WAR (25/201).

[24] When Xena and Solon were first reunited in ORPHAN OF WAR (#25), it was a bit rocky, to say the least. Solon jumped down from a tree and attacked her, expressing a desire to kill her and wielding Borias' sword. Kaleipus restrained the boy, but Xena was still upset. As per Xena's instructions, Solon had not been told who his mother was, and he grew up with the impression that Xena had killed his father. Xena did not correct Solon, and instead admonished Kaleipus for training Solon as a warrior. Kaleipus retorted that Xena had broken her word by returning to the village, and where had she been the last ten years, anyway.

[25] Xena and Solon continued to have a rather hostile relationship, even after Xena rescued him from the now-warlord Dagnine. It was only after Xena engaged Dagnine in combat, and forced him to confess that he had killed Borias, that Solon realized how badly he had misjudged her.

[26] Afterwards, Xena and Solon sat by a nearby lake and gazed out at the water. Xena struggled to find the words to tell Solon that she was his mother, but she failed. "We'll always be friends," she told him instead, "Don't you ever forget that." Having decided to give up the life of a warrior, Solon threw his fathers' sword into the lake. Holding back tears, Xena told him that his mother would have been proud.


[27] Despite the yawning gap in lifestyles and lifetimes between Xena and Princess Diana, it is not hard to imagine that the two women would not have been instant soulmates. Both of them endured much public and private hardship on their way to becoming what they wanted to be, and doing what they wanted to do.

[28] It was the same for both. They wanted to be active, out in the world, doing the only thing that really satisfied them: helping people in need. And no matter what may happen in the future, these two dynamos who broke the mold life had cast them in will live on in our hearts and minds -- forever.

End Notes

[29] All episode information courtesy of the Whoosh! Episode Guide.

Information on Xena's family courtesy of the history of Xena: Warrior Princess.

[30] Special thanks to Kym Masera Taborn (Editor-in-Chief of Whoosh!) for believing in me, even when I doubted myself.

[31] And my undying gratitude to my two muses, Lucy Lawless and Princess Diana -- without you, our lives would all be more empty, and this project would not exist.

[32] And to all supplicants to the IAXS, everywhere: Battle on! You might just make it, after all.

[33] This shameless grab for publicity has been sponsored by Angelfire Communications (TM).

[34] DISCLAIMER: "Xena: Warrior Princess" is property of Universal Pictures, Inc. This article should in no way be considered an infringement on their copyright.


Anthony M. Santomenno, Jr. Anthony M. Santomenno, Jr.
Born 10/29/70, St, Francis hospital, Hartford, CT. One sister, Donna, 2 years older (married, 1 daughter). SWM, never married, no kids. Both parents (Tony & Mina) still alive and married. Graduated from The Master's School in 1989 (spent freshman year at Wethersfield High). I have lived in Connecticut and in the Hartford area all my life. I'm a registered Democrat, and I've voted for Bill Clinton in '92 and '96. I hate Gov. John Rowland and I love Mayor Mike Peters (D-Hartford). I also love sci-fi and fantasy, and my favorite TV show is Xena: Warrior Princess. This is my first ever IAXS submission. 'Nuff said.
Favorite episode: THE PRICE (#44)
Favorite line: Xena to Marcus: "Marcus, it is so simple. You do one thing, one good thing, for no other reason than you know it's right. That's the first step..." THE PATH NOT TAKEN (#05).
First episode seen: SINS OF THE PAST (#01)
Least favorite episode: THE RECKONING (#06)

Return to Top Return to Index