Diana, Princess of Wales

Diana, Princess of Wales
Princess of Wales; Duchess of Rothesay (more)
The Princess of Wales at The Leonardo Prize, 1995
Spouse Charles, Prince of Wales
(m. 1981, div. 1996)[1]
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince Harry of Wales
Full name
Diana Frances[N 1]
House House of Windsor
Father John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer
Mother Frances Shand Kydd
Born 1 July 1961(1961-07-01)
Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk
Died 31 August 1997(1997-08-31) (aged 36)
Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France
Burial 6 September 1997
Althorp, Northamptonshire
Religion Anglican (Church of England)

Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Frances;[N 1] née Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997) was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981, and an international charity and fundraising figure, as well as a preeminent celebrity of the late 20th century. Her wedding to the Prince of Wales, held at St Paul's Cathedral, was televised and watched by a global audience of over 750 million people. After this marriage she received the courtesy titles Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay and Countess of Chester. The marriage produced two sons: Princes William and Harry,[2] currently second and third in line to the thrones of the 16 Commonwealth realms, respectively.

A public figure from the announcement of her engagement to the Prince of Wales, Diana was born into an aristocratic English family with royal ancestry, and she remained the focus of worldwide media scrutiny during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996, including following her death in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997 and the subsequent display of public mourning a week later. Diana also received recognition for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. From 1989, she was the president of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, in addition to dozens of other charities.


Early life

TRH The Prince and Princess of Wales after the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of York

Diana Spencer was born in the late afternoon on 1 July 1961, in Sandringham, Norfolk.[3][4] She was the third child of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp (née Frances Roche, later Shand Kydd).[3] The Spencer family was hoping for a male heir to carry on the Spencer title.[4][5] The Spencer family is one of Great Britain's oldest and most important families, closely allied with the royal family for several generations.[6] As the family was expecting a boy, no name was chosen for a week, until they settled on Diana Frances, after a Spencer ancestress and her mother.[4] Diana was the sister of Lady Sarah McCorquodale, Jane Fellowes, Baroness Fellowes, and Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer.[3][5] Diana was baptized at Sandringham church, with commoners as god parents; her younger brother, Charles, was baptized at Westminster Abbey with Elizabeth II as principal godparent.[7] Another brother, John, died a year before she was born.[5] According to Andrew Morton's biography of Diana, the infant John Spencer was so deformed and sick he only survived 10 hours after birth.[4] The desire for an heir added strain to the Spencers' marriage, and Lady Althorp was reportedly sent to Harley Street clinics in London to determine the cause of the "problem".[4] The experience was described as "humiliating" by Charles Spencer, the current earl: "It was a dreadful time for my parents and probably the root of their divorce because I don't think they ever got over it."[7] Diana grew up in Park House, which was situated near to the Sandringham estate.[5]

Diana's parents separated when she was only seven years of age.[8] Her mother, Frances, had an affair with Peter Shand Kydd.[5] In Morton's book, he describes Diana's remembrance of her father loading suitcases in the car, her mother crunching across the gravel forecourt and driving away through the gates of Park House.[4] Diana and her younger brother lived with their mother in London during their parents' separation, but during the Christmas holidays at the end of the year, Lord Althorp refused to let his estranged wife return with the children to London. Shortly afterward Lord Althorp won custody of Diana and her three siblings, with support from his mother-in-law, Frances Spencer's mother.[3] She was first educated at Riddlesworth Hall, and later attended boarding school at The New School at West Heath.[3]

In 1973, Lord Althorp began a relationship with Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the only daughter of Alexander McCorquodale and Barbara Cartland.[9] Diana received the title of Lady after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975. Lord Spencer and Lady Dartmouth were married at Caxton Hall, London, on 14 July 1976. As Countess Spencer, Raine was unpopular with her stepdaughter Lady Diana.[5] Lady Diana was often noted for her shyness while growing up, but she did take an interest in both music and dancing. She also had a great interest in children. After attending finishing school at the Institut Alpin Videmanette in Switzerland, she moved to London. She began working with children, eventually becoming a nursery teacher at the Young England School.[3] Diana had apparently played with The Princes Andrew and Edward as a child while her family rented Park House, a property owned by Elizabeth II and situated on the Sandringham estate.[3][10]


Coleherne Court, London (left)

At the age of seven, Diana was sent to Riddlesworth Hall, an all-girls boarding school.[11] While she was young, she attended a local public school. She did not shine academically, and was moved to West Heath Girls' School (later reorganised as The New School at West Heath) in Sevenoaks, Kent, where she was regarded as a poor student, having attempted and failed all of her O-levels twice.[11] However, she showed a particular talent for music as an accomplished pianist.[12] Her outstanding community spirit was recognised with an award from West Heath. In 1977, at the age of 16, she left West Heath and briefly attended Institut Alpin Videmanette, a finishing school in Rougemont, Switzerland. At about that time, she first met her future husband, who was then dating her eldest sister, Lady Sarah. Lady Diana also excelled in swimming and diving, and longed to be a professional ballerina with the Royal Ballet. She studied ballet for a time, but then grew to 5'10", too tall for the profession.

Lady Diana moved to London before she turned 17, living in her mother's flat, as her mother then spent most of the year in Scotland. Soon afterwards, an apartment was purchased for £50,000 as an 18th birthday present, at Coleherne Court in Earls Court. She lived there until 1981 with three flatmates.

In London, she took an advanced cooking course at her mother's suggestion, although she never became an adroit cook, and worked as a dance instructor for youth, until a skiing accident caused her to miss three months of work. She then found employment as a playgroup (pre-preschool) assistant, did some cleaning work for her sister Sarah and several of her friends, and worked as a hostess at parties. Lady Diana also spent time working as a nanny for an American family living in London.[13]

Relationship with the Prince of Wales

The Prince and Princess of Wales with Sandro Pertini

The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) had previously been linked to Lady Diana's elder sister Lady Sarah, and in his early thirties he was under increasing pressure to marry.

The Prince of Wales had known Lady Diana for several years, but he first took a serious interest in her as a potential bride during the summer of 1980, when they were guests at a country weekend, where she watched him play polo. The relationship developed as he invited her for a sailing weekend to Cowes aboard the royal yacht Britannia, followed by an invitation to Balmoral (the Royal Family's Scottish residence) to meet his family. Lady Diana was well received by Elizabeth II, by The Duke of Edinburgh, and by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The couple subsequently courted in London. The prince proposed on 6 February 1981, and Lady Diana accepted, but their engagement was kept secret for the next few weeks.[14]

Engagement and marriage

Charles and Diana's wedding commemorated on a 1981 British Crown

Their engagement became official on 24 February 1981, after Lady Diana selected a large £30,000 ring (£94,800 in today's terms) consisting of 14 diamonds surrounding a sapphire, similar to her mother's engagement ring.[15] The ring was made by the then Crown jewellers Garrard but, unusually for a member of the Royal Family, the ring was not unique and was, at the time, featured in Garrard's jewellery collection. The ring later became, in 2010, the engagement ring of Catherine Middleton (now The Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Diana's elder son Prince William).[16]

Twenty-year-old Diana became The Princess of Wales when she married The Prince of Wales on 29 July 1981 at St Paul's Cathedral, which offered more seating than Westminster Abbey, generally used for royal nuptials. It was widely billed as a "fairytale wedding", watched by a global television audience of 750 million while 600,000 people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of Diana en route to the ceremony.[15][17] At the altar Diana accidentally reversed the order of Charles's first two names, saying "Philip Charles" Arthur George instead.[18] She did not say that she would "obey" him; that traditional vow was left out at the couple's request, which caused some comment at the time.[19] Diana wore a dress valued at £9000 with a 25-foot (8-metre) train.[20]


On 5 November 1981, the Princess' first pregnancy was officially announced, and she frankly discussed her pregnancy with members of the press corps.[21] In the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, on 21 June 1982, the Princess gave birth to her and the Prince's first son and heir, William Arthur Philip Louis.[22] Amidst some media criticism, she decided to take William, still a baby, on her first major tours of Australia and New Zealand, but the decision was popularly applauded. By her own admission, the Princess of Wales had not initially intended to take William until it was suggested by Malcolm Fraser, the Australian prime minister.[23]

A second son, Henry Charles Albert David, was born two years after William, on 15 September 1984.[24] The Princess asserted she and the Prince were closest during her pregnancy with "Harry" (as the younger prince has always been known). She was aware their second child was a boy, but did not share the knowledge with anyone else, including the Prince of Wales.[25]

Even her harshest critics agree that the Princess of Wales was a devoted, imaginative and demonstrative mother.[26] She rarely deferred to the Prince or to the Royal Family, and was often intransigent when it came to the children. She chose their first given names, dismissed a royal family nanny and engaged one of her own choosing, selected their schools and clothing, planned their outings and took them to school herself as often as her schedule permitted. She also negotiated her public duties around their timetables.[26]

Charity work

Diana, Princess of Wales meeting with Sri Chinmoy, May 1997 at her Kensington Palace apartments

Although in 1983 she confided in the then-Premier of Newfoundland, Brian Peckford, "I am finding it very difficult to cope with the pressures of being Princess of Wales, but I am learning to cope,"[27] from the mid-1980s, the Princess of Wales became increasingly associated with numerous charities. As Princess of Wales she was expected to regularly make public appearances to hospitals, schools and other facilities, in the 20th century model of royal patronage. The Princess developed an intense interest in serious illnesses and health-related matters outside the purview of traditional royal involvement, including AIDS and leprosy. In addition, she was the patroness of charities and organisations working with the homeless, youth, drug addicts and the elderly. From 1989, she was President of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. The day after her divorce, she announced her resignation from over 100 charities to spend more time with the remaining six.[28]

During her final year, Diana lent highly visible support to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a campaign won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, only a few months after her death.[29]

Problems and separation

From left to right, TRH The Prince and Princess of Wales, the United States First Lady Nancy Reagan, and United States President Ronald Reagan in November 1985.
Dual Cypher of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales

During the early 1990s, the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales fell apart, an event at first suppressed, then sensationalised, by the world media. Both the Prince and Princess allegedly spoke to the press through friends, each blaming the other for the marriage's demise.

The chronology of the break-up[30] identifies reported difficulties between the Prince and Princess as early as 1985. The Princess of Wales began an affair with Major James Hewitt, and the Prince of Wales returned to his former girlfriend, Camilla Shand (now The Duchess of Cornwall, who had become Mrs Andrew Parker-Bowles. These affairs were exposed in May 1992 with the publication of Diana: Her True Story, by Andrew Morton. The book, which also laid bare the Princess' allegedly suicidal unhappiness, caused a media storm. This publication was followed during 1992 and 1993 by leaked tapes of telephone conversations which negatively reflected on both the royal antagonists. Transcripts of taped intimate conversations between the Princess and James Gilbey were published by the Sun newspaper in Britain in August 1992. The article's title, "Squidgygate", referenced Gilbey's affectionate nickname for Diana. The next to surface, in November 1992, were the leaked "Camillagate" tapes, intimate exchanges between the Prince of Wales and Camilla, published in Today and the Mirror newspapers.

In the meantime, rumours had begun to surface about the Princess of Wales' relationship with James Hewitt, her former riding instructor. These would be brought into the open by the publication in 1994 of Princess in Love.

In December 1992, Prime Minister John Major announced the Wales' "amicable separation" to the House of Commons,[31] and the full Camillagate transcript was published a month later in the newspapers, in January 1993. On 3 December 1993, the Princess of Wales announced her withdrawal from public life.[32] The Prince of Wales sought public understanding via a televised interview with Jonathan Dimbleby on 29 June 1994. In this he confirmed his own extramarital affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles, saying that he had only rekindled their association in 1986, after his marriage to the Princess had "irretrievably broken down".[33][34]

While she blamed Camilla Parker-Bowles for her marital troubles due to her previous relationship with the Prince, the Princess at some point began to believe he had other affairs. In October 1993, she wrote to a friend that she believed her husband was now in love with Tiggy Legge-Bourke and wanted to marry her.[35] Legge-Bourke had been hired by the Prince as a young companion for his sons while they were in his care, and the Princess was extremely resentful of Legge-Bourke and her relationship with the young princes.


The Princess of Wales at the Cannes film festival in 1987

The Princess of Wales was interviewed for the BBC current affairs show Panorama[36] by journalist Martin Bashir; the interview was broadcast on 20 November 1995. In it, the Princess said of her relationship with Hewitt, "Yes, I adored him." Of Camilla, she claimed "There were three of us in this marriage." For herself, she said, "I'd like to be a queen of people's hearts." On the Prince of Wales' suitability for kingship, she said, "Because I know the character I would think that the top job, as I call it, would bring enormous limitations to him, and I don't know whether he could adapt to that."[37]

In December 1995, the Queen asked the Prince and Princess of Wales for "an early divorce", as a direct result of the Princess' Panorama interview.[38] This followed shortly after the Princess' accusation that Tiggy Legge-Bourke had aborted the Prince's child, after which Legge-Bourke instructed Peter Carter-Ruck to demand an apology.[38] Two days before this story broke, Diana's secretary Patrick Jephson resigned, later writing that the Princess had "exulted in accusing Legge-Bourke of having had an abortion".[39]

On 20 December 1995, Buckingham Palace publicly announced the Queen had sent letters to the Prince and Princess of Wales advising them to divorce. The Queen's move was backed by the Prime Minister and by senior Privy Counsellors, and, according to the BBC, was decided after two weeks of talks.[40] The Prince immediately agreed with the suggestion. In February, the Princess announced her agreement after negotiations with the Prince and representatives of the Queen, irritating Buckingham Palace by issuing her own announcement of a divorce agreement and its terms.

The divorce was finalised on 28 August 1996.[32]

Diana received a lump sum settlement of around £17 million along with a clause standard in royal divorces preventing her from discussing the details.[41]

Days before the decree absolute of divorce, Letters Patent were issued with general rules to regulate royal titles after divorce. In accordance, as she was no longer married to the Prince of Wales, Diana lost the style Her Royal Highness and instead was styled Diana, Princess of Wales.[N 2] Buckingham Palace issued a press release on the day of the decree absolute of divorce was issued, announcing Diana's change of title, but made it clear Diana continued to be a British princess.

Almost a year before, according to Tina Brown, The Duke of Edinburgh had warned the Princess of Wales, "If you don't behave, my girl, we'll take your title away." The Princess is said to have replied: "My title is a lot older than yours, Philip".[42]

Buckingham Palace stated Diana was still a member of the Royal Family, as she was the mother of the second- and third-in-line to the throne. This was confirmed by the Deputy Coroner of the Queen's Household, Baroness Butler-Sloss, after a pre-hearing on 8 January 2007: "I am satisfied that at her death, Diana, Princess of Wales continued to be considered as a member of the Royal Household."[43] This appears to have been confirmed in the High Court judicial review matter of Al Fayed & Ors v Butler-Sloss.[44] In that case, three High Court judges accepted submissions that the "very name ‘Coroner to the Queen's Household’ gave the appearance of partiality in the context of inquests into the deaths of two people, one of whom was a member of the Family and the other was not."[44]

Personal life after divorce

The Princess of Wales in Bristol, 1987

After the divorce, Diana retained her double apartment on the north side of Kensington Palace, which she had shared with the Prince of Wales since the first year of their marriage, and it remained her home until her death.

Diana dated the respected heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, from Jhelum, Pakistan, who was called "the love of her life" after her death by many of her closest friends,[45] for almost two years, before Khan ended the relationship.[46][47] Khan was intensely private and the relationship was conducted in secrecy, with Diana lying to members of the press who questioned her about it. Khan was from a traditional Pakistani family who expected him to marry from a related Muslim clan, and their differences, which were not just religious, became too much for Khan. According to Khan's testimonial at the inquest for her death, it was Diana herself, not Khan, who ended their relationship in a late-night meeting in Hyde Park, which adjoins the grounds of Kensington Palace, in June 1997.

Within a month Diana had begun dating Dodi Al-Fayed, son of her host that summer, Mohamed Al-Fayed. Diana had considered taking her sons that summer on a holiday to the Hamptons on Long Island, New York, but security officials had prevented it. After deciding against a trip to Thailand, she accepted Fayed's invitation to join his family in the south of France, where his compound and large security detail would not cause concern to the Royal Protection squad. Mohamed Al-Fayed bought a multi-million pound yacht, the Jonikal, a 60-metre yacht on which to entertain Diana and her sons.


In January 1997, pictures of Diana touring an Angolan minefield in a ballistic helmet and flak jacket were seen worldwide. It was during this campaign that some accused her of meddling in politics and declared her a 'loose cannon'.[48] In August 1997, just days before her death, she visited Bosnia with Jerry White and Ken Rutherford of the Landmine Survivors Network.[49] 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 the signing, though only after her death, of the Ottawa Treaty, which created an international ban on the use of anti-personnel landmines.[50] 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 landmines.[51]

The United Nations appealed to the nations which produced and stockpiled the largest numbers of landmines (United States, China, India, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia) 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".[52]


Entrance to the Alma Tunnel in Paris, where Diana, Princess of Wales was fatally injured

On 31 August 1997, Diana was fatally injured in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, which also caused the death of her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul, acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris. Millions of people watched her funeral.[53]

Conspiracy theories and inquest

The initial French judicial investigation concluded the accident was caused by Henri Paul's drunken loss of control.[54] From February 1999, Dodi's father, Mohamed Al-Fayed (the owner of the Paris Ritz, for which Paul had worked) maintained the crash had been planned,[55] accusing MI6 as well as The Duke of Edinburgh.[56] Inquests in London during 2004 and 2007[57] attributed the accident to grossly negligent driving by Henri Paul and to the pursuing paparazzi.[58] The following day Al-Fayed announced he would end his 10-year campaign for the sake of the late princess' children.

Tribute, funeral, and burial

Funeral cortege of Diana, Princess of Wales. Her coffin was transported on a gun carriage

The sudden and unexpected death of an extraordinarily popular royal figure brought statements from senior figures worldwide and many tributes by members of the public. People left public offerings of flowers, candles, cards and personal messages outside Kensington Palace for many months.

Diana's funeral took place in Westminster Abbey on 6 September 1997. The previous day Queen Elizabeth II had paid tribute to her in a live television broadcast.[59] Her sons, the Princes William and Harry, walked in the funeral procession behind her coffin, along with the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh, and with Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer. Lord Spencer said of his sister, "She proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic."[60]


The first of two memorials to Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Al-Fayed in Harrods
"Innocent Victims", the second of two memorials in Harrods.

Immediately after her death, many sites around the world became briefly ad hoc memorials to Diana, where the public left flowers and other tributes. The largest was outside the gates of Kensington Palace. Permanent memorials include:

In addition, there are two memorials inside Harrods department store, at the time owned by Dodi Al-Fayed's father Mohamed Al-Fayed, in London. The first memorial consists of photos of the two behind a pyramid-shaped display that holds a wine glass still smudged with lipstick from Diana's last dinner as well as an 'engagement' ring Dodi purchased the day before they died.[61] The second, unveiled in 2005 and titled "Innocent Victims", is a bronze statue of the two dancing on a beach beneath the wings of an albatross.[62] The Flame of Liberty, erected in 1989 on the Place de l'Alma in Paris, above the entrance to the tunnel in which the fatal crash later occurred, has become an unofficial memorial to Diana.[63]


Following Diana's death, the Diana Memorial Fund was granted intellectual property rights over her image.[64] In 1998, after refusing the Franklin Mint an official license to produce Diana merchandise, the fund sued the company, accusing it of illegally selling Diana dolls, plates and jewellery.[65] In California, where the initial case was tried, a suit to preserve the right of publicity may be filed on behalf of a dead person, but only if that person is a Californian. The Memorial Fund therefore filed the lawsuit on behalf of the estate and, upon losing the case, were required to pay the Franklin Mint's legal costs of £3 million which, combined with other fees, caused the Memorial Fund to freeze their grants to charities.[66]

In 1998, Azermarka issued postage stamps with both Azeri and English captions, commemorating Diana. The English text reads "Diana, Princess of Wales. The Princess that captured people's hearts".

In 2003, the Franklin Mint counter-sued; the case was eventually settled in 2004, with the fund agreeing to an out-of-court settlement, which was donated to mutually agreed charitable causes.[67]

Today, pursuant to this lawsuit, two California companies continue to sell Diana memorabilia without the need for any permission from Diana's estate: the Franklin Mint and Princess Ring LLC.

Diana in contemporary art

Enterance to Alma tunnel, where Diana, Princess of Wales had fatal car-crash
The Lake at Althorp with the Diana memorial beyond

Diana has been depicted in contemporary art since her death. Some of the artworks have referenced the conspiracy theories, as well as paying tribute to Diana's compassion and acknowledging her perceived victimhood.

In July 1999, Tracey Emin created a number of monoprint drawings featuring textual references about Diana's public and private life, for Temple of Diana, a themed exhibition at The Blue Gallery, London. Works such as They Wanted You To Be Destroyed (1999)[68] related to Diana's bulimia, while others included affectionate texts such as Love Was On Your Side and Diana's Dress with puffy sleeves. Another text praised her selflessness – The things you did to help other people, showing Diana in protective clothing walking through a minefield in Angola – while another referenced the conspiracy theories. Of her drawings, Emin maintained "They're quite sentimental . . . and there's nothing cynical about it whatsoever."[69]

In 2005 Martin Sastre premiered during the Venice Biennial the film Diana: The Rose Conspiracy. This fictional work starts with the world discovering Diana alive and enjoying a happy undercover new life in a dangerous favela on the outskirts of Montevideo. Shot on a genuine Uruguayan slum and using a Diana impersonator from São Paulo, the film was selected among the Venice Biennial's best works by the Italian Art Critics Association.[70]

In 2007, following an earlier series referencing the conspiracy theories, Stella Vine created a series of Diana paintings for her first major solo exhibition at Modern Art Oxford gallery.[71] Vine intended to portray Diana's combined strength and vulnerability as well as her closeness to her two sons.[72] The works, all completed in 2007, included Diana branches, Diana family picnic, Diana veil and Diana pram, which incorporated the quotation "I vow to thee my country".[73] Immodesty Blaize said she had been entranced by Diana crash, finding it "by turns horrifying, bemusing and funny".[74] Vine asserted her own abiding attraction to "the beauty and the tragedy of Diana's life".[72]

Later events

Diana, Princess of Wales

On 13 July 2006 Italian magazine Chi published photographs showing Diana amid the wreckage of the car crash,[75] despite an unofficial blackout on such photographs being published.[76][N 3] The editor of Chi defended his decision by saying he published the photographs simply because they had not been previously seen, and he felt the images are not disrespectful to the memory of Diana.[76] Fresh controversy arose over the issue of these photographs when Britain's Channel 4 broadcast them during a documentary in June 2007.[citation needed]

1 July 2007 marked a concert at Wembley Stadium. The event, organised by the Princes William and Harry, celebrated the 46th anniversary of their mother's birth and occurred a few weeks before the 10th anniversary of her death on 31 August.

The 2007 docudrama Diana: Last Days of a Princess details the final two months of her life.

On an October 2007 episode of The Chaser's War on Everything, Andrew Hansen mocked Diana in his "Eulogy Song", which immediately created considerable controversy in the Australian media.[77]

Contemporary opinions

John Travolta and The Princess of Wales dancing at the White House

From her engagement to the Prince of Wales in 1981 until her death in 1997, Diana was a major presence on the world stage, often described as the world's most photographed woman. However, numerous other sources split the title of "world's most photographed woman"--in terms of Diana compared to others--between her and Princess Grace. She was noted for her compassion,[78] style, charisma, and high-profile charity work, as well as her difficult marriage to the Prince of Wales.

Diana was revealed to be a major source behind Andrew Morton's Diana: Her True Story, which had portrayed her as being wronged by the House of Windsor. Morton instanced Diana's claim that she attempted suicide while pregnant by falling down a series of stairs and that Charles had left her to go riding. Tina Brown opined that it was not a suicide attempt because she would not intentionally have tried to harm the unborn child.

Royal biographer Sarah Bradford commented, "The only cure for her (Diana's) suffering would have been the love of the Prince of Wales, which she so passionately desired, something which would always be denied her. His was the final rejection; the way in which he consistently denigrated her reduced her to despair."[79] Diana herself commented, "My husband made me feel inadequate in every possible way that each time I came up for air he pushed me down again ..."[79]

Diana herself admitted to struggling with depression, self-injury, and bulimia, which recurred throughout the early years of her marriage. One biographer suggested Diana suffered from borderline personality disorder.[80]

In 2007, Tina Brown wrote a biography about Diana as a "restless and demanding ... obsessed with her public image" and also "spiteful, manipulative, media-savvy neurotic." Brown also claims Diana married Charles for his power and had a romantic relationship with Dodi Fayed to anger the royal family, with no intention of marrying him.[81]

Titles, styles, honours, and arms

Royal styles of
The Princess of Wales
(before her divorce)
Arms of Diana, Princess of Wales (1981-1996).svg
Reference style Her Royal Highness
Spoken style Your Royal Highness
Alternative style Ma'am

Titles and styles

  • 1 July 1961 – 9 June 1975: The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer
  • 9 June 1975 – 29 July 1981: The Lady Diana Frances Spencer
  • 29 July 1981 – 28 August 1996: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales
    • in Scotland: 29 July 1981 – 28 August 1996: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Rothesay
  • 28 August 1996 – 31 August 1997: Diana, Princess of Wales

Posthumously, as in life, she is most popularly referred to as "Princess Diana", a title she never held.[N 4] Still, she is sometimes referred to (according to the tradition of using maiden names after death) in the media as "Lady Diana Spencer", or simply as "Lady Di". After Tony Blair's famous speech she was also often referred to as the People's Princess.[82]

Royal Monogram

Diana's full title, while married, was Her Royal Highness The Princess Charles Philip Arthur George, Princess of Wales & Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of the Isles, Princess of Scotland.[83]

After her divorce and until her death Diana, Princess of Wales continued to be a Princess of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland without the style Royal Highness. As the mother of the future Sovereign, she was accorded the same precedence she enjoyed whilst being married to The Prince of Wales. This situation made the Princess the first non royal British princess in history.[84]


British honours

Foreign honours

  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown, bestowed by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1982



A message of condolence at Piccadilly Circus following her death
  • 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 Princess.
  • In 2002, Diana was ranked 3rd in 100 Greatest Britons poll, outranking The Queen and other British monarchs.
  • On 30 August 2007 Peruvian photographer Mario Testino announced that on 20 November he would auction a signed photo of Diana for the benefit of the Peru earthquake (in London by Phillips de Pury & Co). The photo appeared in a 1997 Vanity Fair issue, and shows Diana wearing a black dress.[85]
  • The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground was erected in Kensington Gardens at a cost of £1.7 million.[86]
  • The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk was dedicated to the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. It stretches between Kensington Gardens, Green Park, Hyde Park and St. James's Park.
  • On 6 July 2004, The Queen officially opened the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. It is located in the south-west corner of Hyde Park in London.
  • In 1999 the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Award for Inspirational Young People was established.
  • Diana's family announced in 2010 they would auction art and horse-drawn carriages that once belonged to Althorp House.[87]
  • Fashion designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel, responsible for much of Diana's clothes, including her wedding dress, announced in May 2010 they were auctioning 30 lots of clothing, measurements, and related items.[88]


Diana by birth is a member of the Spencer family, one of the oldest and most prominent noble families in Britain which currently holds the titles of Duke of Marborough, Earl Spencer and Viscount Churchill. The Spencers claimed to have descended from a cadet branch of the powerful medieval Despenser family, but its validity is still being questioned. Diana's noble ancestors include the legendary John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and Prince of Mindelheim, his equally famous wife, the powerful and influential Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, Britain's first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, 2nd Duke of Alba, one of the most powerful men of his era, Maria, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, and Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey. She is also a distant relative of the dukes of Abercorn, Bedford, Richmond, Devonshire, Gordon and most of the members of the British aristocracy.

Diana's ancestry also connects her with most of Europe's royal houses. Diana is five times descended from the House of Stuart from Charles II's four illegitimate sons James Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth, Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, Charles Beauclerk, 1st Duke of St Albans and Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond, and from James II's daughter, Henrietta FitzJames, Countess of Newcastle, an ancestry she shares with the current Dukes of Alba. From the House of Stuart, Diana is a descendant of the House of Bourbon from the line Henry IV of France and of the House of Medici from the line of Marie de' Medici. She is also a descendant of powerful Italian noble families such as that of the House of Sforza who ruled as the Dukes of Milan from the line of the legendary Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forlì. Diana also descends from the House of Wittelsbach via morganatic line from Frederick V, Elector Palatine and of the House of Hanover via Sophia von Platen und Hallermund, Countess of Leinster and Darlington, the illegitimate daughter of Ernest Augustus, Elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg and the half sister of George I. Diana also descends from the House of Toledo of the original dukes of Alba and Medina Sidonia.


Name Birth Marriage Issue
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge 21 June 1982 29 April 2011 Catherine Middleton
Prince Harry of Wales 15 September 1984

See also

Elton John performing at the Concert for Diana, London, 1 July 2007


  1. ^ a b As a titled royal, Diana held no surname, but, when one was used while married to The Prince of Wales, it was Mountbatten-Windsor, according to letters patent dated February 1960, their official family name was Windsor.
  2. ^ Although it was asserted in 1996 that Diana would after the divorce be called "Lady Diana, Princess of Wales,", the Royal website in reporting her demise referred to her as "Diana, Princess of Wales".
  3. ^ The photographs, taken minutes after the accident, show her slumped in the back seat while a paramedic attempts to fit an oxygen mask over her face.
  4. ^ The style "Princess Diana", although often used by the public and the media during her lifetime, was always incorrect. With rare exceptions (such as Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester) only women born to the title (such as The Princess Anne) may use it before their given names. After her divorce in 1996, Diana was officially styled Diana, Princess of Wales, having lost the prefix HRH


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  • Morton, Andrew (1992). Diana: Her True Story In Her Own Words. New York, NY: Pocket Books. 
  • Mattern, Joane (2006). Princess Diana (DK Biography). New York, NY: DK Publishing. 

Further reading

  • Anderson, Christopher (2001). Diana's Boys: William and Harry and the Mother they loved. United States: William Morrow; 1st ed edition. ISBN 9780688172046. 
  • Bradford, Sarah (2006). Diana. London: Penguin Group. ISBN 9780670916788. 
  • Brennan, Kristine (1998). Diana, princess of Wales. Philadelphia: Chelsea House. ISBN 0791047148. 
  • Brown, Tina (2007). The Diana Chronicles. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 9780385517089. 
  • Burrell, Paul (2003). A Royal Duty. United States: HarperCollins Entertainment. ISBN 9780007252633. 
  • Burrell, Paul (2007). The Way We Were: Remembering Diana. United States: HarperCollins Entertainment. ISBN 978-0061138959. 
  • Caradec'h, Jean-Michel (2006). Diana. L'enquête criminelle. France: Michel Lafon. ISBN 978-2749904795. 
  • Corby, Tom (1997). Diana, Princess of Wales: A Tribute. United States: Benford Books. ISBN 9781566495998. 
  • Coward, Rosalind (2004). Diana The Portrait. United Kingdom (other publishers worldwide): HarperCollins. ISBN 10-0007182031. 
  • Davies, Jude (2001). Diana, A Cultural History: Gender, Race, Nation, and the People's Princess. Houndmills, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave. ISBN 0333736885. OCLC 46565010. 
  • Denney, Colleen (2005). Representing Diana, Princess of Wales: Cultural Memory and Fairy Tales Revisited. Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. ISBN 0838640230. OCLC 56490960. 
  • Dimbleby, Jonathan (1994). The Prince of Wales: A Biography. New York: William Morrow and Company Inc.. ISBN 0-688-12996-X. 
  • Edwards, Anne (2001). Ever After: Diana and the Life She Led. United States: St. Martins Press. ISBN 9780312253141. OCLC 43867312. 
  • Rees-Jones, Trevor (2000). The Bodyguard's Story: Diana, the Crash, and the Sole Survivor. United States: Little, Brown. ISBN 9780316855082. 
  • Morton, Andrew (2004). Diana: In Pursuit of Love. United States: Michael O'Mara Books. ISBN 9781843170846. 
  • Morton, Andrew (1992). Diana Her True Story. United States: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 9780671793630. 
  • Steinberg, Deborah Lynn (1999). Mourning Diana: Nation, Culture and the Performance of Grief. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415193931. 
  • Taylor, John A. (2000). Diana, Self-Interest, and British National Identity. Westport, CN: Praeger. ISBN 027596826X. OCLC 42935749. 
  • Thomas, James (2002). Diana's Mourning: A People's History. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 0708317537. OCLC 50099981. 
  • Turnock, Robert (2000). Interpreting Diana: Television Audiences and the Death of a Princess. London, UK: British Film Institute. ISBN 0851707882. OCLC 43819614. 

External links

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