Lady Diana Biography
|Princess of Wales; Duchess of Rothesay (more)|
The Princess of Wales in 1995
|Spouse||Charles, Prince of Wales
(m. 1981; div. 1996)
|Issue||Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince Henry of Wales
|House||House of Windsor (by marriage)
Spencer family (by birth)
|Father||John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer|
|Mother||Frances Shand Kydd|
1 July 1961|
Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England
|Died||31 August 1997
Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France
|Burial||6 September 1997
Althorp, Northamptonshire, England
|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, which was situated near to the Sandringham estate, and was educated in England and Switzerland. In 1975 she became Lady Diana Spencer, after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer.
Her wedding to the Prince of Wales on 29 July 1981 was held at St Paul's Cathedral and 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.
Her beauty and charisma ensured that Diana remained the object of worldwide media scrutiny both 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 was followed 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 interest
- 5.3.1 Leprosy
- 5.3.2 HIV/AIDS
- 5.3.3 Landmines
- 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, and was the fourth of five children of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (1924–1992) and his first wife, Frances, Viscountess Althorp (née Roche; 1936–2004). The Spencers have been closely allied with the Royal Family for several generations. The Spencers 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 Diana Russell, Duchess of Bedford, her distant relative who was also known as "Lady Diana Spencer" before marriage and who was also a prospective Princess of Wales, and her mother. On 30 August 1961, Diana was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham, by Percy Herbert. Her godparents were John Floyd (chairman of Christie's and a friend of her father), Alexander Gilmour (her father's first cousin), Lady Mary Colman (née Bowes-Lyon; niece of the Queen Mother), Sarah Pratt (friend and neighbour of her parents) and Carol Fox (another friend and neighbour of her parents). Diana had three siblings: Sarah, Jane, and Charles. She also had an infant brother, John, who died only 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, in which her mother later had an affair with Peter Shand Kydd. In his book, 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 first educated at Riddlesworth Hall near Diss, Norfolk, and later 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 later inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975. Despite her unpopularity with Diana, Lady Darmouth married Lord Spencer at Caxton Hall, London in 1976. Diana was often noted for her shyness while growing up, but she did take an interest in both 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 apparently 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 attempted and failed all of her O-levels twice. However, 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, as her mother then spent 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, 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-school) assistant, did some cleaning work for her sister Sarah and several of her friends, and acted as a hostess at parties. Diana also spent time working as a nanny for the Robertsons, an American family living in London.
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. It was followed by an invitation to Balmoral (the Royal Family's Scottish residence) to meet his family a weekend in November 1980. She said, "I've had a lovely weekend," referring to it. 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 used by a member of the Royal Family, the ring was not unique and was, at the time, 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.
Following the engagement Lady Diana left her job at the kindergarten and lived at Clarence House, then home of Queen Mother, for a short period. The Queen Mother also gave Lady Diana a sapphire and diamond brooch as an engagement present. 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 also met with 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. 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. 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 £9000 with a 25-foot (8-metre) train.
The Prince and Princess of Wales spent part of their honeymoon at the Mountbatten family home at Broadlands, Hampshire, before flying to Gibraltar to join the Royal Yacht HMY Britannia for a 12-day cruise through the Mediterranean to Egypt. They also visited Tunisia, Sardinia and Greece. They finished their honeymoon with a stay at Balmoral.
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 as typically 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.
After the wedding, 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 two years after William, 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.
Diana wanted her sons to have wider experiences than are usual for royal children. She took them to Walt Disney World and McDonald's as well as AIDS clinics and shelters for the homeless. She bought them typical teenage items, such as video games. Even her harshest critics agree that the Princess of Wales was a devoted, imaginative and demonstrative mother. 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.
After her wedding to the Prince of Wales, Diana quickly became involved in the official duties of the Royal Family. Her first tour with the Prince of Wales was a three-day visit to Wales in October 1981. 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. The Princess's first official solo visit overseas was in September 1982, when she represented her mother-in-law at the State funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco. In 1983, she accompanied the Prince on a tour of Australia and New Zealand with Prince William, where they met with the country's native people, who honoured the couple with a traditional boat tour and gifts representing their culture. From June to July 1983, the Prince and Princess undertook official visits to Canada for the official opening of World Universities Games and to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's taking possession of Newfoundland. In February 1984, she travelled to Norway on her own to attend a performance of Carmen by the London City Ballet, of which she was patron. In Fornebu airport, Diana was received in by Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja of Norway.
In April 1985, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Italy, and were later joined by their children, 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 Japan, the Princess was presented with a $40,000 silk kimono and as part of her humanitarian work, the Princess of Wales visited the Red Cross Infants Home for Disabled Children in Tokyo. One of the main official visits the royal couple made was to the Tokyo Imperial Palace, where Emperor Hirohito held a state banquet on their honour. In Spain, the couple were greeted by the students of arts and music in the University of Salamanca. Charles and Diana were close friends to King Juan Carlos and his family. The couple used to spend their summer vacation in Majorca, a favorite royal destination. In Canada they visited Expo 86.
In February 1987, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Portugal. The visit had been arranged to coincide with the anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Windsor in 1387 which had bound Britain and Portugal in "perpetual friendship". The Prince and Princess of Wales attended a banquet held in their honour by President Mário Soares at the Ajuda National Palace. In 1987, Charles and Diana were also invited to visit Germany and France to attend the Cannes Film Festival. In 1988, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Thailand and also toured Australia for the bicentenary celebrations. In 1989, the couple were invited to visit the Arab States of the Persian Gulf, where they met with the British citizens, visited Schools of British Scots in the region and joined members of the royal families in state dinners and desert picnics. The tour began in Kuwait and they stayed in the As-Salam Palace at Shuwaikh Port as guests of the Kuwait Government. During their visit, they had an audience with the Emir of Kuwait, followed by lunch. They also had an audience with the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Kuwait, who hosted a dinner in their honour. Diana was also given a chest full of gold jewelry, a silver tea set and a gold embroidered Bedouin gown. During their tour in Kuwait, the Princess visited The Kuwait Handicapped Society, reflecting her ongoing interest in children and their needs. In Saudi Arabia, the Princess was invited to King Fahd's palace, a rare honour for a woman. In Oman, Sultan Qaboos presented Diana with a Queen's ransom in jewels. The tour finished in United Arab Emirates.
In March 1990, she joined the Prince of Wales to tour Nigeria and Cameroon. During their tour, the Princess visited children's hospitals, traditional hand-loom weavers and women's development projects. The President of Cameroon later hosted an official dinner to welcome them in Yaoundé. In May 1990, they undertook an official visit to Hungary. The royal couple were met at the airport by their host, newly elected interim President Árpád Göncz. President Göncz later hosted an official dinner to welcome the royal couple. During their four-day trip, the couple met with government officials, business officials and artists and the Princess viewed a display of British fashion at the Museum of Applied Arts. In November 1990, the royal couple went to Japan to attend the enthronement of Emperor Akihito. In 1991, the Princess went with the Prince of Wales and her children to undertake an official visit to Canada to present replica of Queen Victoria's Royal Charter to Queen's University, on the 150th anniversary of the university's 1841 founding. In September 1991, the Princess visited Pakistan. During her visit, Diana helped the needy families in Lahore, met with Islamic scholars and students. In that year, they also visited Brazil. During their tour in Brazil, Diana visited the orphanage and an Aids Treatment Centre for children. She also met the Brazilian President Fernando Collor de Mello and First Lady Rosane Collor in Brasília. Their last joint overseas visits were to India and South Korea in 1992.
In 1992, the Princess of Wales made a short visit to Egypt, where she visited local schools and treatment centres for handicapped children in Cairo. She was invited to stay at the British Ambassador's villa. During her stay, she met with President Hosni Mubarak. She also visited historical sights such as the Pyramids, Luxor and Karnak temples. She was accompanied by Zahi Hawass, a famous Egyptian archaeologist. In December 1993, the Princess of Wales announced that she would be reducing the extent of her public life in order to combine 'a meaningful public role with a more private life'.
In February 1995, the Princess visited Japan. She visited the National Children's Hospital and gave the opening line of her speech in Japanese. She had taken a four-week crash course in the language and her phonetically-learned opening phrase: "Honourable people of Japan, it's lovely to be here again", delighted the nation. She also made visits to Hodogaya Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Yokohama and the Umeda daycare centre for children with learning difficulties. Diana also made a formal visit to see the Emperor and Empress of Japan and during her last day in Japan, Diana also met Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako. 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 Switzerland, Belgium, Zimbabwe and Nepal.
The Princess of Wales attended the Trooping the Colour for the first time in June 1982, making her appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace afterwards. She attended the State Opening of Parliament for the first time on 4 November 1981. After her separation from Prince Charles, the Princess continued to appear with the other members of the Royal Family on major national occasions, such as the commemorations of the 50th anniversary of VE (Victory in Europe Day) and VJ (Victory over Japan Day) in 1995. The Princess spent her 36th and last birthday on 1 July 1997 attending the Tate Gallery's 100th anniversary celebrations. Her last official engagement in Britain was on 21 July, when she visited the children's accident and emergency unit at Northwick Park Hospital, London.
Charity work and patronage
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 with it.", from the mid-1980s, the Princess of Wales became increasingly associated with numerous charities. 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. 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.
She did a lot of charity works, visiting terminally ill people over the world, leading campaigns for animal protection, AIDS awareness and against the use of inhumane weapons. 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. In the same year, Diana became president of the British marital advice organisations, which she ended in 1996. From 1991, she was a patron of Headway, the brain injury association, which she also ended in 1996. She was also 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, and attended over 110 events for it, including 16 in one year and three in one week. Her patronages also included Royal Brompton Hospital, British Red Cross Youth, Relate marriage counselors and the British Deaf Association, for which she learned sign language. She described her work with the Royal Brompton Hospital like this: "I make the trips at least three times a week, and spend up to four hours at a time with patients holding their hands and talking to them. Some of them will live and some will die, but they all need to be loved while they are here. I try to be there for them."
In February 1992, the Princess visited Mother Teresa's Hospice for the Sick and Dying in Kolkata, India, and visited every one of the 50 patients who were close to death. In Rome shortly afterwards, and later in London and New York, she met Mother Teresa and the two formed a strong personal connection.
In June 1995, the Princess made a brief visit 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.
Following her divorce, she remained patron of Centrepoint (homeless charity), English National Ballet, Leprosy Mission and National AIDS Trust, and President of Great Ormond Street Hospital and of the Royal Marsden Hospital (which specialises in the treatment of cancer). The day after her divorce, she announced her resignation from over 100 charities to spend more time with the remaining six. In June 1997, the Princess attended receptions in London and New York as previews of the sale of a number of dresses and suits worn by her on official engagements, with the proceeds going to charity.
Areas of interest
In November 1989, the Princess visited a leprosy hospital in Indonesia and touched the bandaged wounds of patients. After that, 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 after her divorce and until her death in 1997. As patron of the mission, Diana visited its hospitals and projects in India, Nepal and Zimbabwe. Diana made huge strides in tackling the stigma surrounding leprosy by touching those affected by the disease. She said of the disease: "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." The Diana Princess of Wales Health Education and Media Centre was opened in Noida, just outside New Delhi in India, in November 1999. Established by a grant from the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, its purpose is to promote the rights, dignity and inclusion of people affected by leprosy and disability into Indian society.
The Princess was famously the first member of the Royal Family to have contact with AIDS victims and helped to break down global misconceptions about the disease. In 1989, she opened Landmark Aids centre in South London. In the late 1980s, when many people believed it could be contracted through casual contact, she sat on the bed of a victim and held his hand. When asked about her work, Diana simply replied: "HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it." However, the Queen disapproved of Diana's visiting people with HIV and leprosy and told her to do "something more pleasant" with her charity work. In October 1990, Diana opened Grandma's House, a home for children infected with HIV in Washington, D.C. In 1991, she traveled to São Paulo, Brazil, to comfort abandoned children living with AIDS in a local shelter. It was here that she was photographed holding a baby with the disease. In March 1997, Diana visited South Africa. She met with President Nelson Mandela to discuss the growing threat of AIDS. On 2 November 2002, five years after Diana's death, Mandela announced that the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund was planning to join the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to help South Africans with HIV/AIDS and their families and to assist children orphaned by the disease. "Caring for people who are dying and helping the bereaved was something for which Diana had passion and commitment," Mandela said at a London press conference. "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." Many other foundations and charities have joined her in the fight. For example, the Elton John Foundation raised over $2.1 million to support those vulnerable to HIV and People magazine established a Diana's Fund for children infected with HIV.
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'. In June 1997, the Princess spoke at the landmines conference at the Royal Geographical Society in London, and this was followed by a visit to Washington, D.C., in the United States on 17/18 June to promote the American Red Cross landmines campaign (separately, she also met Mother Teresa in the Bronx, New York). In August 1997, just days before her death, she visited Bosnia and Herzegovina with Jerry White and Ken Rutherford of the Landmine Survivors Network for three days. 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. 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.
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". The campaign won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, only a few months after Diana's death.
Problems and separation
Within five years, the couple's incompatibility and age difference (almost 13 years), as well as Diana's concern about Charles's previous girlfriend, 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 allegedly spoke to the press through friends, each blaming the other for the marriage's demise.
The 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. This publication was followed during 1992 and 1993 by leaked tapes of telephone conversations which negatively reflected on both the royal antagonists. The tape recordings between the Princess and James Gilbey were made available by The Sun newspaper's hotline in August 1992. The transcripts of taped intimate conversations were also 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'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 Princess in Love, which later was filmed with the same title by David Greene in 1996. The Princess of Wales was portrayed by Julie Cox, whereas James Hewitt was portrayed by Christopher Villiers in the movie.
In December 1992, Prime Minister John Major announced the Waleses' "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 extremely 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. Of her relationship with Hewitt, the Princess said to Bashir, "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 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 a divorce agreement and its terms.
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. 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".
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. 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.[fn 2] As the mother of the prince expected to one day ascend the thrones, 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." The Princess of Wales 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 also continued to use two offices at St. James's Palace.
Diana dated the respected 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 she also 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 a multi-million-pound yacht, the Jonikal, a 60-metre 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. Millions of people watched her funeral.
Conspiracy theories, inquest and verdict
The initial French judicial investigation concluded the accident was caused by Henri Paul's drunken loss of control. In February 1998, Mohamed Al-Fayed, owner of the Paris Ritz, for whom Paul had worked, publicly maintained that the crash had been planned, accusing MI6 as well as the Duke of Edinburgh. An inquest in London starting in 2004 and continued in 2007–08 attributed the accident to grossly negligent driving by Henri 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 royal flag, was brought to London from Paris by Prince Charles and her two sisters on 31 August 1997. After being taken to a private mortuary it was put at 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 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."
Elton John's performance of "Candle in the Wind", done as a tribute to Diana, became globally famous.
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 to Diana. 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 Harrods 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 Memorial Fund was granted intellectual property rights over her image. 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. 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.
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.
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)". HayPost also issued a postage stamp commemorating Diana in Armenia in the same year.
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 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.
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 incorporated 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.
The 2007 docudrama Diana: Last Days of a Princess details the final two months of her life. She was 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 lies comfortably 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" (although other sources split this title between her and Grace Kelly). 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 (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." 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. Sally Bedell Smith in her book of 1999, Diana in Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess, suggested Diana suffered from borderline personality disorder.
In 1999, TIME named Diana one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. In 2002, Diana was ranked 3rd on the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, outranking The Queen and other British monarchs.
In 2007, Tina Brown wrote a biography about Diana as "restless and demanding ... obsessed with her public image" and also a "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.
In February 2013, OCAD University in Toronto, Canada, announced that its new arts center would be named after her, Princess of Wales Visual Arts Centre, a 25,000 square foot facility. Princess Diana Drive was named in her memory in Trenton, New Jersey, United States, 08638-3803. 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 title and style in full prior to her divorce: 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 a title she never held.[fn 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". Due to a speech of Tony Blair following her death, she was also often referred to as the People's Princess.
See also List of honours of the British Royal Family by country
- 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
|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 of English and remote German, Irish, Scottish and British-American descent.
Diana was born into the British noble 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 most of the members of the British 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, via her direct maternal line.
Diana's ancestry also 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 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 Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forlì.
|Ancestors of Diana, Princess of Wales|
- Diana Memorial Award
- Flame of Liberty
- Burrell affair
- Concert for Diana
- Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund
- Diana, Princess of Wales: Tribute (a CD tribute)
- Diana – The People's Princess (exhibition)
- Engagement ring of Diana, Princess of Wales
- The New School at West Heath (Mr Al-Fayed's memorial to Diana)
- Ancestry chart of Diana, Princess of Wales
- As a titled royal, Diana held no surname, but, when one was used while she was married, it was Mountbatten-Windsor. According to letters patent dated February 1960, their official family name was 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.
- 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"