Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Frances
Mountbatten-Windsor, née Spencer) (July 1, 1961–August 31, 1997) was the first
wife of Charles, Prince of Wales. Her two sons, Prince William of Wales and
Prince Henry of Wales (called Prince Harry), are second and third in line to the
From her marriage in 1981 to her divorce in 1996, she was
called Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales. After her divorce from the
Prince of Wales in 1996, Diana ceased to be The Princess of Wales and lost the
resulting Royal Highness style.
As the former wife of the heir to the throne she received a title based on
the ex-wives of peers, namely her personal name, followed by her title. Under
Letters Patent issued by Queen Elizabeth II she was known after her divorce as
Diana, Princess of Wales. Posthumously she is most popularly referred to as
Princess Diana, a title she never held. She is also sometimes known by her
former titles above.
An iconic presence on the world stage, Diana was noted for her charity work.
Yet her charity was overshadowed by her scandal-plagued marriage to Prince
Her bitter claims, via friends and biographers, of adultery and mental
cruelty from Prince Charles and the royal family and her own admissions of
adultery and numerous love affairs riveted the world for much of the 1990s. This
spawned books, tabloid, magazine articles, and television movies.
From the time of her engagement to the Prince of Wales in 1981 until her
death in a car accident in 1997, the Princess was arguably the most famous woman
in the world
She was the pre-eminent female celebrity of her generation: a fashion icon,
an image of feminine beauty, admired and emulated for her involvement in AIDS
and the campaign against landmines.
During her lifetime, she was often described as the most photographed person
in the world. To her admirers, the Princess of Wales was a role model — after
her death, there were even calls for her to be nominated for sainthood
Her detractors considered her to have been mentally ill, possibly with
Borderline Personality Disorder, long before her marriage and regarded her life
as a cautionary tale of how untreated psychiatric problems and an obsession with
publicity can ultimately destroy human beings.
Public Domain Ronald Regan Library
Diana Frances Spencer was born as the youngest daughter of Edward Spencer,
Viscount Althorp, and his first wife, Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp at
Park House on the Sandringham estate.
She was baptized at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham. Her godparents
included John Floyd (the chairman of Christie's) and Mary Colman (a niece of the
Queen Mother). Partially American in ancestry — a great-grandmother was the
American heiress Frances Work - she was also a descendant of King Charles I.
|"Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the
potential to give something back."
Diana - The Guardian, December 9, 1995
During her parents' unpleasant divorce over Lady Althorp's adultery with
wallpaper heir Peter Shand Kydd, Diana's mother sued for custody of her
Lord Althorp's rank, aided by Lady Althorp's mother's testimony against her
daughter during the trial, meant custody of Diana and her brother was awarded to
On the death of her paternal grandfather, Albert Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer,
in 1975, Diana's father became the 8th Earl Spencer, and she acquired the
courtesy title of The Lady Diana Spencer and moved from her childhood home at
Park House to her family's sixteenth-century ancestral home of Althorp.
A year later, Lord Spencer married Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the only
daughter of the novelist Barbara Cartland, after being named as the "other
party" in the Earl and Countess of Dartmouth's divorce.
Diana was educated at Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk and at West Heath Girls'
School, a special school for boys and girls) in Sevenoaks, Kent.
She was regarded as an below-average student academically, having failed all
of her O-level examinations. In 1977, aged 16, she left West Heath and briefly
attended Institut Alpin Videmanette, a finishing school in Rougemont,
Switzerland. Diana was a talented amateur singer, excelled in sports and longed
to be a ballerina.
Diana's family, the Spencers, had been close to the British Royal Family for
decades. Her maternal grandmother, Ruth, Lady Fermoy, was a long time friend and
a lady-in-waiting to the Queen Mother.
The Prince's love life had always been the subject of press speculation, and
he was linked to numerous women. Nearing his mid-thirties, he was under
increasing pressure to marry.
Legally, the only requirement was that he could not marry a Roman Catholic.
In order to gain the approval of his family and their advisors, a potential
bride was expected to have an aristocratic background, as well as be Protestant.
Reportedly and this has never been confirmed, the Prince's former girlfriend,
Camilla Parker Bowles helped him select the 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer as a
Diana was working as a part-time assistant at the "Young England
Kindergarten," a day care center and nursery school in Pimlico. Contrary to
claims, she was not a "kindergarten teacher," since she had no educational
qualifications to teach. "Young England" was not a kindergarten, despite its
It was at this school that the famous iconic snap of a 19-year-old Lady Diana
Spencer was taken by John Minihan. The morning sun to her back, her legs in
silhouette through her skirt.
Buckingham Palace announced the engagement on 24 February 1981. The wedding
took place in St Paul's Cathedral in London on Wednesday, 29 July 1981. There
were 3,500 invited guests and an estimated 1 billion television viewers around
Diana was the first Englishwoman to marry the heir to the throne since 1659,
when Lady Anne Hyde married the Duke of York and Albany, the future King James
II. Upon her marriage, Diana became Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales.
She was ranked as the third most senior royal woman in the United Kingdom after
the Queen and the Queen Mother.
The Prince and Princess of Wales had two children within three years of
marriage. Prince William of Wales on 21 June 1982 and Prince Henry of Wales
(commonly called Prince Harry) on 15 September 1984.
Public domain Ronal Regan
Princess Diana dancing with John Travolta
After the birth of Prince William, the Princess of Wales apparently suffered
from post-natal depression. She had previously (before her marriage) suffered
from bulimia nervosa, which recurred. Before the birth of Prince William, she
made some half-hearted suicide attempts.
In an interview, years later, she claimed that, while pregnant with Prince
William, she threw herself down some stairs and was discovered by the Queen.
It has been suggested she did not, in fact, intend to end her life and that
she was merely making a 'cry for help'. In the same interview in which she told
of the suicide attempt while pregnant with Prince William. She said her husband
had accused her of crying wolf when she threatened to kill herself.
In the mid 1980s, the marriage of Diana and Charles fell apart, first
suppressed but then sensationalized, by the media. Both the Prince and Princess
of Wales allegedly spoke to the press through friends, each blaming the other
for the marriage's failure.
Charles resumed his old, pre-marital relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.
Diana became involved with her riding instructor James Hewitt and perhaps later
with James Gilbey in the so-called Squidgygate affair. She later confirmed in a
television interview that she had had an affair with Hewitt.
Another alleged lover was a bodyguard assigned to Princess Diana but she
strongly denied the relationship.
After the separation from Prince Charles, Diana was, in some way, involved
with married art dealer Oliver Hoare and with rugby player Will Carling. She
also publicly dated respected heart surgeon Hasnat Khan before her involvement
with Dodi Fayed.
"I do things differently, because I don't go by a rule book, because I lead from the heart, not the head, and albeit that's got me into trouble in my work, I understand that. "
The Prince and Princess of Wales separated on 9 December 1992; their divorce
finalised on 28 August 1996. Here style was changed from Her Royal Highness to
Diana, Princess of Wales. Since the divorce, Buckingham Palace have maintained
that Diana was still a member of the Royal Family, since she was still the
mother of the heirs to the throne.
In 2004, seven years after her death, NBC TV broadcast videotapes of Diana
discussing her marriage to the Prince of Wales, including her suicide attempts.
The tapes were in the possession of the Princess, but after her death, her
butler took them. After legal wrangling, they were given to the Princess's voice
coach, who filmed them originally. These tapes have not been broadcast in the
In the mid-to-late 1980s, the Princess of Wales became known for her support
of charity. This arose naturally from her role as Princess of Wales. Diana, is
remembered for her considerable influence against landmines and helping AIDS
In April 1987, the Princess of Wales was the first high-profile celebrity to
be photographed knowingly touching a person infected with HIV. Her contribution
to changing the public opinion on AIDS sufferers was expressed by Bill Clinton
in December 2001.
- In 1987, when so many still believed that AIDS could be contracted
through casual contact, Princess Diana sat on the sickbed of a man with AIDS and
held his hand. She showed the world that people with AIDS deserve no isolation,
but compassion and kindness. It helped change world opinion, and gave hope to
people with AIDS with an outcome of saved lives of people at risk.
Diana also made secret visits to show kindness to terminally ill AIDS
patients. According to nurses, she would turn up unannounced, with specific
instructions not to tell the media.
Perhaps her most well-publicised charity appearance was her visit to Angola
in January 1997, when, serving as an International Red Cross VIP volunteer ,
she visited landmine survivors in hospitals, toured de-mining projects run by
the HALO Trust, and attended mine awareness education classes about the dangers
of mines immediately surrounding homes and villages.
The pictures of Diana touring a minefield, in a ballistic helmet and flak
jacket, were seen worldwide. (In reality, mine experts had already cleared and
prepared the pre-planned walk that Diana took wearing the protective equipment.)
In August that year, she visited Bosnia with the Landmine Survivors Network. Her
interest in landmines was focused on the injuries they create, often to
children, long after a conflict is over.
She is believed to have influenced (though after and perhaps as a result
of her death) the signing, by the governments of the UK and other nations in
December, 1997, of the Ottawa Treaty, which created an international ban on the
use of anti-personnel landmines. Introducing the Second Reading of the Landmines
Bill 1998 to the British House of Commons, the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook,
paid tribute to Diana's work on landmines:
- All Honourable Members will be aware from their postbags of the immense
contribution made by Diana, Princess of Wales to bringing home to many of our
constituents the human costs of landmines. The best way in which to record our
appreciation of her work, and the work of NGOs that have campaigned against
landmines, is to pass the Bill, and to pave the way towards a global ban on
As of January 2005, however, Diana's activities regarding landmines had borne
little fruit. The United Nations appealed to the nations which produced and
stockpiled the largest numbers of landmines (China, India, North Korea,
Pakistan, Russia and the United States) to sign the Ottawa Treaty forbidding
their production and use, for which Diana had campaigned. Carol Bellamy,
Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), said that
landmines remained "a deadly attraction for children, whose innate curiosity and
need for play often lure them directly into harm's way". 
Diana's interest in supporting and helping young people led to the
establishment of the Diana Memorial Award, awarded to youths who have
demonstrated the unselfish devotion and commitment to causes advocated by the
It is also confirmed that Diana's favourite rock band was popular 1980s
British rockers Dire Straits.
On 31 August 1997 Diana was involved in a car accident in the Pont de l'Alma
road tunnel in Paris, along with her new lover Dodi Al-Fayed, and their driver
Henri Paul. Their Mercedes crashed on the thirteenth pillar of the tunnel.
Fayed's bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was closest to the point of impact and yet
the only survivor of the crash, since he was the only occupant of the car who
was wearing a seatbelt. Henri Paul and Dodi Fayed were killed instantly. Diana,
unbelted in the back seat, slid forward during the impact and "submarined" under
the seat in front, causing massive internal bleeding from which she soon died
despite lengthy resuscitation attempts.
Such was the reach of Diana's iconic impact worldwide that news of her death
became a milestone in personal history, comparable to such as the death of U.S.
President John F. Kennedy.
The death of Diana has been the subject of widespread theories, supported by
Mohamed Al-Fayed, whose son died in the accident. These were rejected by French
investigators and British officials, who stated that the driver, Henri Paul, was
drunk and on drugs. Among Mr Al-Fayed's suggestions were that Diana was pregnant
by Dodi at the time of her death and that Dodi had just bought her an engagement
ring, although witnesses to autopsies reported that the princess had not been
pregnant and the jeweller cited by Mr Al-Fayed denied knowledge of the
engagement ring. Nonetheless, in 2004 the authorities ordered an independent
inquiry by Lord Stevens, a former chief of the Metropolitan Police, and he
suggested that the case was "far more complex than any of us thought" and
reported "new forensic evidence" and witnesses Telegraph, May 2006. The inquiry
is expected to report its findings in 2007. The French authorities have also
decided to reopen the case.
Several press photos were taken of the crash scene within moments of the
crash. On 13 July 2006 Italian magazine Chi published photographs showing
Diana in her "last moments" despite an unofficial blackout on such photographs
being published. The photographs were taken minutes after the accident and show
the Princess slumped in the back seat while a paramedic attempts to fit an
oxygen mask over her face. The photographs were also published in other Italian
and Spanish magazines and newspapers.
The editor of Chi defended his decision by saying he published the
photographs for the "simple reason that they haven't been seen before" and that
he felt the images do not disrespect the memory of the Princess. The British
media have refused to publish these images.
Final resting place
Princess Diana's final resting place is said to be in the grounds of Althorp
Park, her family home.  The original plan was for her to be buried in the
family vault at the local church in nearby Great Brington, but her brother, Earl
Spencer, said he was concerned about public safety and security and wanted his
sister to be buried where her grave could be looked after properly and visited
in privacy by her sons.
Lord Spencer said he had decided she would be buried on an island in an
ornamental lake known as The Oval within Althorp Park's Pleasure Garden. A path
with 36 oak trees, marking each year of her life, leads to the Oval. Four black
swans swim in the lake, symbolizing sentinels guarding the island. Charles
Spencer saw this vision in a dream. In the water there are several water lilies.
White roses and lilies were Diana's favorite flowers. On the southern verge
of the Round Oval sits the Summerhouse, previously in the gardens of Admiralty
House, London, and now serving as a memorial to Princess Diana.  An ancient
arboretum stands nearby, which contains trees planted by Prince William and
Prince Harry, other members of her family and the princess herself.
- The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer (1 July 1961–9 June 1975)
- The Lady Diana Frances Spencer (9 June 1975–29 July 1981)
- Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales (29 July 1981–28 August
- Diana, Princess of Wales (28 August 1996–31 August 1997)
The style "Princess Diana" was always incorrect, though often used by the
public and the media. With rare exceptions, as in the case of Princess Alice,
Duchess of Gloucester, only women born to the title (such as Princess Anne) may
use it before their given names. After her divorce in 1996, Diana was officially
styled "Diana, Princess of Wales", based on Letters Patent issued by The Queen
on the same date of the signature of the divorce settlement, although she could
not be called "Her Royal Highness." Even the style "Princess of Wales" would
have lapsed had Diana remarried.
During her marriage to Charles, her full title was Her Royal Highness The
Princess Charles, Princess of Wales and Countess of Chester, Duchess of
Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of
the Isles, Princess of Scotland.
Prior to her marriage, much research was done into Diana's lineage by
genealogists. It was much publicized that her ancestry included links to
individuals such as Hollywood screen legend Humphrey Bogart (who was her 7th
cousin), and poet Edmund Spenser, the author of The Faerie Queen .
Actor Oliver Platt is more closely related; both he and Diana, Princess of Wales
are descendants of Frances Work, a late 19th-century American heiress who was
briefly the wife of the Hon. James Burke Roche, later 3rd Baron Fermoy.
The Flame of Liberty, which sits above the
entrance to the Paris tunnel in which Diana died. The public fly-posted the base
with commemorative material for several years. This material has since been
removed by the French authorities.
- ^ Some continued, erroneously, to call Diana a "HRH"
even after she had lost the style and title in her divorce.
- ^ Someone can only be referred to as Princess <name>
under either of two conditions. Firstly, they are the daughter of the the
sovereign, as in Princess Anne, daughter of Queen Elizabeth II, Princess Mary,
daughter of King George V or Princess Margaret, daughter of King George VI.
Alternatively the title can be awarded to them. Neither applied in Diana's case.
Marriage to a prince does not make someone a princess in her own right, it
merely extends to them the female form of their husband's title. In the case of
Diana, as the wife of the Prince of Wales, she was Princess of Wales. Diana was
in fact the first Princess of Wales not to be a princess in her own right. Her
predecessors, such as Alexandra of Denmark (later Queen Alexandra) and Mary of
Teck (later Queen Mary, consort of George V), were themselves royal princesses
by birth, and so legally Princess Alexandra and Princess Mary. The
widely used name Princess Diana in reality did not exist in law and was
merely a popular and media invention.
- ^ The suggestion that Charles authorised his story of
the split to be communicated is disputed by his friends, who claim that he told
his friends not to speak, a prohibition some of them breached under anonymity.
- ^ Curry, Ann ([2004-11-30]). Tapes reveal more from
Princess Diana. NBC News. Retrieved on 2006-06-02.
we love you Diana forever
I think that Princess Diana was an awesome person
and it is so sad she died.
Diana, when the queen is dead and gone, u will go
on through ur boys. U will be fondly remembered as the queen of
I'm doing Princess Diana for my World Geography
Project and I've loved working on her lifestyle it was so awesome to have her for my person. <3 Ceirra M
I love princess diana and i think everyone should look up to
her. I am only 11 so i was never really alive when she was around but i am doing
my history project on her and i really do love her! x
I JUST WATCHED THE HISTORY OF THE LATE PRINCES AND I HAVE GOT
TO REALLY LOVE HER LIFE STYLE SO MUCH TO THE EXTENT OF MAKING HER MY MY MENTOR.
MAY HER SOUL REST IN PERFECT PEACE. TO ME YOU STILL LEAVE IN MY HEART AND I
REALLY LOVE YOU. FROM VESALIN
princess you met my mum in 1985 at a party x
Princess Diana is my role model to this day and will be for
ever more. I love you princess diana.
Princess Diana was a wonderful person and her death was a
tragic loss to everyone. we will all miss the wonderful Princess.
she was damn kind
I'm doing an English essay on Diana, and its great [=
Diana was great
wish i could see her in my lifetime
Diana was someone that everyone could look up to and NO one
could disagree with that so I'm saying to Diana thank you for being someone so
great and powerful to this day
DIANA SUDNT AVE DIED - SHE WAS A GOOD PERSON
I like it
Reference to Armenian people removed, apologies if offence
Even though many year's passed by, we'll always keep her in
i hate those paparazzi....happy birthday Diana wherever you
are!! i don't know why only good people die :(
Princess Diana was a beautiful. beautiful Lady... I never have
seen beauty quite like it, and i don't think i ever will again. Such a loss for
this country and the world, Chloe x
I REALLY WISH DIANA PRINCESS OF WALES WAS STILL ALIVE LOVE
BETHANY X OLDHAM
Pictures of the late Diana, Princess of Wales please