|Princess of Wales; Duchess of Rothesay (more)|
The Princess of Wales raising money for cancer research in Chicago, Illinois, June 1996
1 July 1961|
Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England
|Died||31 August 1997
Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France
|Burial||6 September 1997
Althorp, Northamptonshire, England
|Spouse||Charles, Prince of Wales
(m. 1981; div. 1996)
|Father||John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer|
|Mother||Frances Shand Kydd|
|Religion||Church of England|
Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Frances;[fn 1] née Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997), was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, who is the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II.
Diana was born into a family of British nobility with royal ancestry as The Honourable Diana Spencer. She was the fourth child and third daughter of John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer and the Honourable Frances Shand Kydd. She grew up in Park House, situated near to the Sandringham estate, and was educated in England and Switzerland. In 1975, after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer, she became Lady Diana Spencer.
Her wedding to the Prince of Wales on 29 July 1981, held at St Paul's Cathedral, reached a global television audience of over 750 million. While married, Diana bore the titles Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Chester, and Baroness of Renfrew. The marriage produced two sons, the princes William and Harry, who were then respectively second and third in the line of succession to the British throne. As Princess of Wales, Diana undertook royal duties on behalf of the Queen and represented her at functions overseas. She was celebrated 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.
Diana remained the object of worldwide media scrutiny during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996. Her death in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997 and her funeral were accompanied by intense public mourning.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Education and career
- 3 Marriage to the Prince of Wales
- 3.1 Engagement and wedding
- 4 Princess of Wales
- 5 Royal duties
- 5.1 Public appearances
- 5.2 Charity work and patronage
- 5.3 Areas of work
- 5.3.1 Leprosy
- 5.3.2 HIV/AIDS
- 5.3.3 Landmines
- 5.3.4 Homelessness
- 6 Problems and separation
- 7 Divorce
- 8 Personal life after divorce
- 9 Death
- 9.1 Conspiracy theories, inquest and verdict
- 9.2 Tribute, funeral, and burial
- 9.2.1 Memorials
- 9.3 Memorabilia
- 9.4 Diana in contemporary art
- 9.5 Later events
- 10 Legacy
- 11 Titles, styles, honours and arms
- 11.1 Titles and styles
- 11.2 Honours
- 11.2.1 Honorary military appointments
- 11.3 Arms
- 12 Issue
- 13 Ancestry
- 14 See also
- 15 Footnotes
- 16 References
- 17 Cited bibliography
- 18 Further reading
- 19 External links
Diana was born on 1 July 1961, in Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk. She was the fourth of five children of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (1924–1992) and his first wife, Frances (née Roche; 1936–2004). The Spencers have been closely allied with the Royal Family for several generations. They were hoping for a boy to carry on the family line, and no name was chosen for a week, until they settled on Diana Frances, after her mother and Diana Russell, Duchess of Bedford, her distant relative who was also known as "Lady Diana Spencer" before marriage and was a prospective Princess of Wales. On 30 August 1961, Diana was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham, by the Clerk of the Closet, Percy Herbert. Her godparents were her father's friend John Floyd (chairman of Christie's), her father's cousin Alexander Gilmour, Lady Mary Colman (niece of the Queen Mother), and family friends Sarah Pratt and Carol Fox. Diana had three siblings: Sarah, Jane, and Charles. She had an infant brother, John, who died a year before she was born. 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". The experience was described as "humiliating" by Diana's younger brother, Charles: "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." Diana grew up in Park House, which was situated near to the Sandringham estate.
Diana was eight years old when her parents divorced, after her mother later had an affair with Peter Shand Kydd. In his 2004 book, Andrew Morton describes Diana's remembrance of Lord Althorp loading suitcases in the car and Lady Althorp crunching across the gravel forecourt and driving away through the gates of Park House. Diana lived with her mother in London during her parents' separation. During Christmas holidays, however, Lord Althorp refused to let Lady Althorp return to London with Diana. Shortly afterwards, Lord Althorp won custody of Diana with support from his former mother-in-law, Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy. Diana was educated at Riddlesworth Hall near Diss, Norfolk, and attended boarding school at The New School at West Heath, in Sevenoaks, Kent. In 1973, Lord Althorp began a relationship with Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the only daughter of Alexander McCorquodale and Barbara Cartland. Diana became known as Lady Diana after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975. Lady Darmouth married Lord Spencer at Caxton Hall, London in 1976. Diana was often noted for her shyness while growing up. She was interested in music and dancing, training in classical ballet. 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 assistant at the Young England School. Diana had played with Princes Andrew and Edward as a child while her family rented Park House, a property owned by Queen Elizabeth II and situated on the Sandringham Estate.
Education and career
In 1968, Diana was sent to Riddlesworth Hall School, an all-girls boarding school. 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 failed all of her O-levels twice. She showed a particular talent for music as an accomplished pianist. Her outstanding community spirit was recognised with an award from West Heath. In 1977, 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 in a relationship with her older sister, Sarah. Diana also excelled in swimming and diving, and longed to be a professional ballerina with the Royal Ballet. She studied ballet throughout her childhood and teenage years, but then grew too tall for the profession.
Her first job, at the age of 17, was as a nanny for Alexandra, the daughter of Major Jeremy Whitaker and his wife Philippa (van Straubenzee) at their Land of Nod estate at Headley Down, Hampshire. Philippa's brother, William, was a close friend of Diana's.
Diana moved to London in 1978 and lived in her mother's flat; her mother was then spending most of the year in Scotland. Soon afterwards, an apartment was purchased for £100,000 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. She 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-school) assistant, did some cleaning work for her sister Sarah and several of her friends, and acted as a hostess at parties. Diana spent time working as a nanny for the Robertsons, an American family living in London, and worked as a kindergarten teacher at the Young England School in Pimlico.
Marriage to the Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, 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 since November 1977 when he and Lady Sarah were dating, 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. This was followed by an invitation to Balmoral (the Royal Family's Scottish residence) to meet his family a weekend in November 1980. Lady Diana was well received by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and 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.
Engagement and wedding
Their engagement became official on 24 February 1981, after Lady Diana selected a large engagement ring consisting of 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-carat white gold, similar to her mother's engagement ring. The ring was made by the then Crown jewellers Garrard but, unusually for a ring for a member of the Royal Family, it was not unique; it was featured in Garrard's jewellery collection. In 2010 the ring became the engagement ring of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. It was copied by jewellers all over the world. The Queen Mother gave Lady Diana a sapphire and diamond brooch as an engagement present.
Following the engagement Lady Diana left her job at the kindergarten and lived at Clarence House, then home of the Queen Mother, for a short period. She then lived at Buckingham Palace until the wedding. Her first public appearance with Prince Charles was in a charity ball in March 1981 at Goldsmiths' Hall, where she met Princess Grace of Monaco.
Twenty-year-old Diana became 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. Widely described as a "fairytale wedding", it was watched by a global television audience of 750 million while 600,000 people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the couple en route to the ceremony.
At the altar, Diana accidentally reversed the order of Charles's first two names, saying "Philip Charles" Arthur George instead. 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. Diana wore a dress valued at £9,000 with a 25-foot (7.62-metre) train. Music and songs used during the wedding included the "Prince of Denmark's March", "I Vow to Thee, My Country", "Pomp and Circumstance No.4", and "God Save the Queen".
Princess of Wales
After becoming Princess of Wales, Diana automatically acquired rank as the third-highest female in the United Kingdom Order of Precedence (after the Queen and the Queen Mother), and was fifth or sixth in the orders of precedence of her other realms, following the Queen, the relevant viceroy, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Prince of Wales. Within a few years of the wedding, the Queen extended Diana visible tokens of membership in the Royal Family; she lent the Princess a tiara and granted her the badge of the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II.
The couple made their homes at Kensington Palace and at Highgrove House, near Tetbury. On 5 November 1981, the Princess' first pregnancy was officially announced, and she frankly discussed her pregnancy with members of the press corps. After Diana fell down a staircase at Sandringham in January 1982, 12 weeks into her first pregnancy, the royal gynaecologist Sir George Pinker was summoned from London. He found that although she had suffered severe bruising, the foetus was uninjured. In the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, on 21 June 1982, under the care of Pinker, the Princess gave natural birth to her and the Prince's first son and heir, William Arthur Philip Louis. 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.
A second son, Henry Charles Albert David, was born on 15 September 1984. 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. Persistent suggestions that Harry's father is not Charles but James Hewitt, with whom Diana had an affair, have been based on alleged physical similarity between Hewitt and Harry. However, Harry had already been born by the time the affair between Hewitt and Diana began.
Even her harshest critics agree that the Princess of Wales was a devoted, imaginative and demonstrative mother. Diana gave her sons wider experiences than are usual for royal children. 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 organised her public duties around their timetables.
The Princess of Wales attended the State Opening of Parliament for the first time on 4 November 1981. She attended the Trooping the Colour for the first time in June 1982, making her appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace afterwards. Also in 1982, Diana accompanied the Prince of Wales to the Netherlands and was created a Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. In 1983, she accompanied the Prince on a tour of Australia and New Zealand with Prince William, where they met with representatives of the Māori people.
Their visit to Canada in June and July 1983 included a trip to Edmonton to open the 1983 Summer Universiade and a stop in Newfoundland to commemorate the 400th anniversary of that island's acquisition by the Crown.
In April 1985, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Italy, and were later joined by Princes William and Harry. They met with President Alessandro Pertini. Their visit to the Holy See included a private audience with Pope John Paul II. In November 1985, the couple visited the United States, meeting President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan at the White House. 1986 was a busy year for Diana. With the Prince of Wales she embarked on a tour of Japan, Indonesia, Spain, and Canada. In Canada they visited Expo 86.
In February 1987, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Portugal. The visit coincided with the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Windsor (1386). A banquet was held at the Ajuda National Palace. In 1987, they visited Germany and France. In 1988, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Thailand and toured Australia for the bicentenary celebrations. In 1989, they visited the Arab States of the Persian Gulf. The tour began in Kuwait, where they met with Emir Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and the Crown Prince and Prime Minister Saad Al-Salim Al-Sabah. Diana was presented with gifts, including an elaborate embroidered Bedouin gown. The couple also visited Oman, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates.
In March 1990, she and the Prince of Wales toured Nigeria and Cameroon. The President of Cameroon hosted an official dinner to welcome them in Yaoundé. In May 1990, they visited Hungary for four days. They attended a dinner hosted by interim President Árpád Göncz and viewed a fashion display at the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest. In November 1990, the royal couple went to Japan to attend the enthronement of Emperor Akihito. In 1991, the Princess and Prince of Wales visited Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where they presented the university with a replica of their royal charter. In September 1991, the Princess visited Pakistan on a solo trip, and went to Brazil with Charles. During their tour in Brazil, Diana visited the orphanage and an Aids Treatment Centre for children and met the Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello and First Lady Rosane Collor in Brasília. Her final trips with Charles were to India and South Korea in 1992.
In 1992, the Princess of Wales visited Egypt. She was invited to stay at the British Ambassador's villa. She met with President Hosni Mubarak and toured some of the country's archaeological sites with the Egyptian archaeologist Zahi Hawass.
In February 1995, the Princess visited Japan. She paid formal visits to Emperor Akihito, Empress Michiko, Crown Prince Naruhito, and Crown Princess Masako. She visited a daycare centre for children with learning difficulties, the Yokohama War Cemetery, and the National Children's Hospital, where she gave the opening line of her speech in Japanese. In June 1995, Diana went to Venice to visit the Venice Biennale art festival. In November 1995, the Princess undertook a four-day trip to Argentina and met with President Carlos Menem and his daughter, Zulemita, for lunch. The Princess visited many other countries, including Belgium, Nepal, Switzerland, and Zimbabwe. Her final official engagement was a visit to Northwick Park Hospital, London, on 21 July 1997.
Charity work and patronage
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 with it." As Princess of Wales, she was expected to make regular public appearances at hospitals, schools, and other facilities, in the 20th century model of royal patronage. From the mid-1980s, the she became increasingly associated with numerous charities. She carried out 191 official engagements in 1988 and 397 in 1991. 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 to health-related matters, Diana's extensive charity work included campaigning for animal protection and her fight against the use of landmines. 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. From 1991 to 1996, she was a patron of Headway, a brain injury association. She was patron of Natural History Museum and president of Royal Academy of Music. From 1984 to 1996, she was president of Barnardo's, a charity founded by Dr. Thomas John Barnado in 1866 to care for vulnerable children and young people. Her patronages also included Landmine Survivors Network, Help the Aged, the Trust for Sick Children in Wales, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, the British Lung Foundation, the National AIDS Trust, Eureka!, the National Children's Orchestra, Royal Brompton Hospital, British Red Cross Youth, Relate Marriage Counselors, the Variety Club of New Zealand, Birthright, and the British Deaf Association. She made several lengthy visits each week to Royal Brompton Hospital, where she worked to comfort seriously ill or dying patients. She visited Mother Teresa's hospice in Kolkata, India, in 1992, and the two women developed a personal relationship.
In June 1995, the Princess made a brief trip to Moscow, where she visited a children’s hospital that she had previously supported through her charity work. Diana presented the hospital with medical equipment. During her time in the Russian capital, she was awarded the international Leonardo prize, which is given to the most distinguished patrons and people in the arts, medicine, and sports.
The day after her divorce, she announced her resignation from over 100 charities to spend more time with only six: Centrepoint, English National Ballet, Great Ormond Street Hospital, The Leprosy Mission, National AIDS Trust, and the Royal Marsden Hospital. She continued her work with the British Red Cross Anti-Personnel Land Mines Campaign, but was no longer listed as patron.
Areas of work
In November 1989, the Princess visited a leprosy hospital in Indonesia. She became patron of the Leprosy Mission, an organization dedicated to providing medicine, treatment, and other support services to those who are afflicted with the disease. She remained the patron of this charity until her death in 1997, and visited several of its hospitals around the world. "It has always been my concern to touch people with leprosy, trying to show in a simple action that they are not reviled, nor are we repulsed," she commented. The Diana Princess of Wales Health Education and Media Centre in Noida, India, was opened in her honour in November 1999, funded by the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.
The Princess began her work with AIDS victims in the 1980s. In 1989, she opened Landmark Aids Centre in South London. She was not adverse to making physical contact with AIDS patients, though it was still unknown whether the disease could be spread that way. In São Paulo, Brazil, in 1991, she was photographed holding a baby with AIDS. Diana noted: "HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it." To Diana's disappointment, the Queen did not support this type of charity work, suggesting she get involved in "something more pleasant". In October 1990, Diana opened Grandma's House, a home for young AIDS victims in Washington, D.C. As the patron of Turning Point, a health and social care organization, Diana visited its project in London for people with HIV/AIDS in 1992.
In March 1997, Diana visited South Africa, where she met with President Nelson Mandela. On 2 November 2002, Mandela announced that the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund would be teaming up with the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to help victims of AIDS. "When she stroked the limbs of someone with leprosy, or sat on the bed of a man with HIV/AIDS and held his hand, she transformed public attitudes and improved the life chances of such people," Mandela said about the late Princess. "People felt if a British princess can go to a ward with HIV patients, then there's nothing to be superstitious about."
Diana was the patron of HALO Trust. 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'. From 7 to 10 August 1997, just days before her death, she visited Bosnia and Herzegovina with Jerry White and Ken Rutherford of the Landmine Survivors Network.
Her work on the landmines issue has been described as influential in the signing 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 landmines.
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". She urged countries which produce and stockpile the largest numbers of landmines (United States, China, India, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia) to sign the treaty.  A few months after Diana's death in 1997, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Diana was a long-standing and active supporter of Centrepoint, a charity which provides accommodation and support to homeless people, and became patron in 1992. She supported organisations that battle poverty and homelessness. "We, as a part of society, must ensure that young people – who are our future – are given the chance they deserve," she said.
Problems and separation
Within five years of her marriage, the couple's incompatibility and age difference (almost 13 years), as well as Diana's concern about Charles's relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles, became visible and damaging to their marriage. 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 Princess and Prince spoke to the press through friends, each blaming the other for the marriage's demise.
CNN's chronology of the break-up identifies reported difficulties between the Prince and Princess as early as 1985. The Prince of Wales resumed his affair with his now-married former girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles; later, the Princess of Wales began a relationship with Major James Hewitt. These affairs were exposed in May 1992 with the publication of Diana: Her True Story by Andrew Morton. It was serialised in The Sunday Times before its publication. The book, which also laid bare the Princess' allegedly suicidal unhappiness, caused a media storm. During 1992 and 1993, leaked tapes of telephone conversations negatively reflected on both the royal antagonists. Tape recordings of the Princess and James Gilbey were made available by The Sun newspaper's hotline in August 1992. Transcripts of taped intimate conversations were published by The Sun 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 Daily Mirror.
In the meantime, rumours had begun to surface about the Princess of Wales's relationship with Hewitt, her and her children's former riding instructor. These would be brought into the open by the publication in 1994 of a 1994 book by Anna Pasternak titled Princess in Love, which was filmed under the same title in a movie directed by David Greene in 1996. The Princess of Wales was portrayed by Julie Cox and James Hewitt was portrayed by Christopher Villiers.
In December 1992, Prime Minister John Major announced the couples' "amicable separation" to the House of Commons, 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.
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 rekindled their association in 1986, only after his marriage to the Princess had "irretrievably broken down".
While she blamed Camilla Parker Bowles for her marital troubles because of her previous relationship with the Prince, the Princess at some point began to believe that 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. 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 resentful of Legge-Bourke and her relationship with the young princes.
Diana's aunt-in-law, Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, burnt "highly personal" letters that Diana wrote to the Queen Mother in 1993 because she thought they were considered to be "so private". Biographer William Shawcross wrote: "No doubt Princess Margaret felt that she was protecting her mother and other members of the family". He considered Princess Margaret's action to be "understandable, although regrettable from a historical viewpoint".
The Princess of Wales was interviewed for the BBC current affairs show Panorama by journalist Martin Bashir; the interview was broadcast on 20 November 1995. She described her relationship with Hewitt: "Yes, I adored him. Yes, I was in love with him. But I was very let down [by him]." Referring to her husband's affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, she said, "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded." Of herself, she said, "I'd like to be a queen of people's hearts." On the Prince of Wales' suitability for kingship, she stated, "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."
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. Prince Charles formally agreed to the divorce in a written statement soon after. In February 1996, the Princess announced her agreement after negotiations with the Prince and representatives of the Queen, irritating Buckingham Palace by issuing her own announcement of the divorce agreement and its terms.
This followed shortly after the Princess' accusation that Legge-Bourke had aborted the Prince's child, after which Legge-Bourke instructed Peter Carter-Ruck to demand an apology. Diana's secretary Patrick Jephson resigned shortly before the story broke, later writing that the Princess had "exulted in accusing Legge-Bourke of having had an abortion".
The divorce was finalised on 28 August 1996. Diana received a lump sum settlement of around £17 million along with a clause standard in royal divorces preventing her from discussing the details.
Days before the decree absolute of divorce, Letters Patent were issued with general rules to regulate royal titles after divorce. 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.[fn 2] As the mother of the prince expected to one day ascend to the throne, she was accorded the same precedence she enjoyed during her marriage. Prince William was reported to have reassured his mother: "Don't worry, Mummy, I will give it back to you one day when I am King."
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." She is said to have replied: "My title is a lot older than yours, Philip."
Buckingham Palace stated the Princess of Wales 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." This appears to have been confirmed in the High Court judicial review matter of Al Fayed & Ors v Butler-Sloss. 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 Royal Family and the other was not."
Personal life after divorce
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. She continued to use two offices at St. James's Palace.
Diana dated the British-Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, who was called "the love of her life" after her death by many of her closest friends. In May 1996, Diana visited Lahore upon invitation of Imran Khan, a relative of Hasnat Khan, and visited the latter's family in secret. Khan was intensely private and the relationship was conducted in secrecy, with Diana lying to members of the press who questioned her about it. Their relationship lasted almost two years with differing accounts of who ended it. According to Khan's testimonial at the inquest for her death, it was Diana 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 seeing Dodi 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 the Jonikal, a 60-metre multimillion-pound yacht on which to entertain Diana and her sons.
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 deaths of her companion Dodi Fayed and the driver, Henri Paul, acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris. The funeral saw the British television audience peak at 32.10 million, one of the United Kingdom's highest viewing figures ever, while millions more watched the event around the world.
Conspiracy theories, inquest and verdict
The initial French judicial investigation concluded the accident was caused by Paul's drunken loss of control. In February 1998, Mohamed Al-Fayed, owner of the Paris Ritz where Paul had worked, publicly maintained that the crash had been planned, accusing MI6 and the Duke of Edinburgh. An inquest in London starting in 2004 and continued in 2007–08 attributed the accident to grossly negligent driving by Paul and to the pursuing paparazzi. On 7 April 2008, the jury returned a verdict of 'unlawful killing'. The day following the final verdict of the inquest, Al-Fayed announced he would end his 10-year campaign to establish that it was murder rather than an accident, stating that he did so for the sake of the princess's children.
Tribute, funeral, and burial
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. Her coffin, draped with the royal flag, was brought to London from Paris by Prince Charles and Diana's two sisters on 31 August 1997. After being taken to a private mortuary it was placed in the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace.
Diana's funeral took place in Westminster Abbey on 6 September. The previous day Queen Elizabeth II had paid tribute to her in a live television broadcast. Her sons walked in the funeral procession behind her coffin, along with the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, Diana's brother Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, and representatives of some of her charities. 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." Written as a tribute to Diana, "Candle in the Wind" was performed by Elton John at the funeral service (the only occasion the song has been performed live), while the global proceeds from the sale of the song have gone to Diana's charities.
The burial occurred privately later the same day. Diana's former husband, sons, mother, siblings, a close friend, and a clergyman were present. Diana's body was clothed in a black long-sleeved dress designed by Catherine Walker, which she had chosen some weeks before. A set of rosary beads was placed in her hands, a gift she had received from Mother Teresa, who died the same week as Diana. Her grave is on an island () within the grounds of Althorp Park, the Spencer family home for centuries.
The burial party was provided by the 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, who were given the honour of carrying the Princess across to the island and laying her to rest. Diana was the Regiment's Colonel-in-Chief from 1992 to 1997. The original plan was for Diana to be buried in the Spencer family vault at the local church in nearby Great Brington, but Lord Spencer said that he was concerned about public safety and security and the onslaught of visitors that might overwhelm Great Brington. He decided that Diana would be buried where her grave could be easily cared for and visited in privacy by William, Harry, and other Spencer relatives.
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, where people continue to leave flowers and tributes. Permanent memorials include:
- The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Gardens in Regent Centre Gardens Kirkintilloch
- The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, London, opened by Elizabeth II]]
- The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens, London
- The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk, a circular path between Kensington Gardens, Green Park, Hyde Park, and St. James's Park, London
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 occurred, has become an unofficial memorial to Diana. In addition, there are two memorials inside Harrods department store, commissioned by Dodi Fayed's father, who owned the store from 1985 to 2010. The first memorial is a pyramid-shaped display containing photos of the princess and al-Fayed's son, a wine glass said to be from their last dinner, and a ring purchased by Dodi the day prior to the crash. The second, Innocent Victims, unveiled in 2005, is a bronze statue of Fayed dancing with Diana on a beach beneath the wings of an albatross.
Following Diana's death, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was granted intellectual property rights over her image. In 1998, the fund sued the Franklin Mint, accusing it of illegally selling Diana dolls, plates, and jewellery after having been refused a license to do so. 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 its grants to charities. In 2003, the Franklin Mint counter-sued. In November 2004, the case was settled out of court with the Diana Memorial Fund agreeing to pay £13.5 million (US$21.5 million) to charitable causes on which both sides agreed. In addition to this, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund had spent a total of close to £4 million (US$6.5 million) in costs and fees relating to this litigation, and as a result froze grants allocated to a number of charities.
In 1998, Azermarka issued postage stamps commemorating Diana in Azerbaijan. The English text on souvenir sheets issued reads "DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES The Princess that captured people's hearts (1961–1997)". Several other countries issued commemorative stamps that year, including Great Britain, Somalia, and Congo.
Diana in contemporary art
Diana has been depicted in contemporary art before and after her death. The first biopics about Diana and Charles were Charles and Diana: A Royal Love Story and The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana that were broadcast on American TV channels on 17 September and 20 September 1981, respectively. In December 1992, ABC aired Charles and Diana: Unhappily Ever After, a TV movie about marital discord between Diana and Charles. In the 1990s, British magazine Private Eye called her "Cheryl" and Prince Charles "Brian". Some of the artworks after her death 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) 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."
In 2005, Martín Sastre premiered during the Venice Biennale 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 cantegril on the outskirts of Montevideo. Shot at an Uruguayan slum using a Diana impersonator from São Paulo, the film was selected by the Italian Art Critics Association as one of the Venice Biennial's best works.
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. Vine intended to portray Diana's combined strength and vulnerability as well as her closeness to her two sons. The works, all completed in 2007, included Diana branches, Diana family picnic, Diana veil and Diana pram, which incorporates the quotation "I vow to thee my country". Immodesty Blaize said she had been entranced by Diana crash, finding it "by turns horrifying, bemusing and funny". Vine asserted her own abiding attraction to "the beauty and the tragedy of Diana's life".
On 13 July 2006, Italian magazine Chi published photographs showing Diana amid the wreckage of the car crash, despite an unofficial blackout on such photographs being published.[fn 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.
The Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium was held on 1 July 2007. 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. On 31 August 2007, a memorial service for Diana took place in the Guards Chapel. Guests included members of the royal family and their relatives, members of the Spencer family, members of Diana's wedding party, Diana's close friends and aides, representatives from many of her charities, British politicians Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, and John Major, and friends from the entertainment world such as David Frost, Elton John, and Cliff Richard.
The 2007 docudrama Diana: Last Days of a Princess details the final two months of her life. She is portrayed by Irish actress Genevieve O'Reilly. 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.
In 2013, a previously unseen photograph of the then already officially engaged Diana was put up for auction. The picture belonged to the Daily Mirror newspaper, and has "Not to be published" written on it. In it, a young Diana has her head in the lap of an unidentified man.
On 19 March 2013, ten of Diana's dresses, including a midnight blue velvet gown she wore to a 1985 state dinner at the White House when she famously danced with John Travolta (which became known as the Travolta dress), raised over £800,000 at auction in London.
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". She was noted for her compassion, style, charisma, and high-profile charity work, as well as her difficult marriage to the Prince of Wales. Her peak popularity rate in the United Kingdom between 1981 and 2012 was 47%.
Royal biographer Sarah Bradford commented, "The only cure for her 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." 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 ..."
Diana stated that she had depression and that she self-harmed. She said she had bulimia nervosa from 1981 onwards. In her 1999 book Diana in Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess, Sally Bedell Smith suggested Diana suffered from borderline personality disorder.
She was a fashion icon whose style was emulated by women around the world. Iain Hollingshead of The Telegraph writes: "[Diana] had an ability to sell clothes just by looking at them." An early example of the effect occurred during her courtship with Charles in 1980 when sales of Hunters Wellington boots skyrocketed after she was pictured wearing a pair on the Balmoral estate.
In 1999, TIME named Diana one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. In 2002, Diana was ranked third on the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, outranking the Queen and other British monarchs.
Tina Brown's 2007 biography described Diana as "restless and demanding ... obsessed with her public image" and as a "spiteful, manipulative, media-savvy neurotic". Brown 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.
In February 2013, OCAD University in Toronto, Canada, announced that its new 25,000 square foot arts center would be named the Princess of Wales Visual Arts Centre. Princess Diana Drive was named in her memory in Trenton, New Jersey. Her granddaughter, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, is named after her.
Titles, styles, honours and arms
Titles and styles
- 1 July 1961 – 9 June 1975: The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer
- 9 June 1975 – 29 July 1981: 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
Diana's full title and style prior to her divorce was Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Chester.
Posthumously, as in life, she is most popularly referred to as "Princess Diana", a title not formally correct and one she never held.[fn 4] She is still sometimes referred to in the media as "Lady Diana Spencer" or simply as "Lady Di". In a speech after her death, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair referred to Diana as the People's Princess.
- Member of the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II
- Foreign honours
- Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown, bestowed by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands in 1982
- Supreme Class of the Order of the Virtues (or Order of al-Kamal), 1982
Honorary military appointments
The Princess of Wales held the following military appointments:
- : Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Survey Corps
- : Colonel-in-Chief of the Princess of Wales' Own Regiment
- : Colonel-in-Chief of the West Nova Scotia Regiment
- United Kingdom
- : Colonel-in-Chief of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
- : Colonel-in-Chief of the Light Dragoons
- : Honorary Air Commodore, RAF Wittering
She gave up these appointments following her divorce.
|Prince William, Duke of Cambridge||21 June 1982||29 April 2011||Catherine Middleton||Prince George of Cambridge
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
|Prince Harry||15 September 1984|
Diana was born into the noble British Spencer family, different branches of which currently hold the titles of Duke of Marlborough, Earl Spencer, Earls of Sunderland, 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 great-grandmother was Margaret Baring, a member of the German-British Baring family of bankers and the daughter of Edward Baring, 1st Baron Revelstoke. Diana's distant noble ancestors include John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and Prince of Mindelheim and his wife Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. Through her grandmother, Lady Cynthia Hamilton, Diana is a distant relative of the Dukes of Abercorn. She is also a distant relative of the dukes of Bedford, Richmond, Devonshire, Gordon, and many other members of the British titled aristocracy.
Diana's American roots come from her great-grandmother Frances Ellen Work, daughter of wealthy American stockbroker Franklin H. Work from Ohio, who was married to her great-grandfather James Roche, 3rd Baron Fermoy.
Diana's fourth great-grandmother in her direct maternal line, Eliza Kewark, whose daughter was fathered by Theodore Forbes, is variously described in contemporary documents as "a dark-skinned native woman", "an Armenian woman from Bombay", and "Mrs. Forbesian". Genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner assumed she was Armenian. In June 2013, BritainsDNA announced that genealogical DNA tests on two of Diana's distant cousins in the same direct maternal line confirm that Eliza Kewark was of Indian descent.
Diana's ancestry connects her with most of Europe's royal houses. Diana is descended from the House of Stuart through Charles II's illegitimate sons Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton 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 a descendant of powerful Italian noble families such as the House of Sforza, who ruled as the Dukes of Milan from the line of Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forlì.
|Ancestors of Diana, Princess of Wales|
- Paul Burrell
- Diana – The People's Princess (exhibition)
- Ancestry chart of Diana, Princess of Wales
- As a titled royal, Diana used no surname. When one was used while she was married, it was Mountbatten-Windsor. According to letters patent dated February 1960, the official family name is Windsor.
- 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".
- 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.
- Often used by the public and media, the style "Princess Diana" is incorrect. With rare exceptions by permission of the Sovereign (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".