Diana Frances Spencer was
born on 1 July, 1961 in the estate of the Spencers in Norfolk. Diana's
parents were from aristocratic families: the father - Viscount Althorp, the
mother - Frances Roche. The ancestors of her father Earl Spencer were
relatives of a royal dynasty. The mother too had a noble title. Diana had
two older sisters, Jane and Sarah, and a younger brother, Charles.
When Diana was six, her mother left the family and in 1969 the marriage of
her parents was officially dissolved. In 1975 Althrop inherited the title of
Earl Spencer from his father and married Raine, the Countess of Dartmouth
and daughter of author Barbara Cartland. This made Diana "Lady Di."
She attended private schools, often commuting home on weekends with her
younger brother. On holiday from school, it was not unusual for the younger
royal children, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, to visit the Spencers and
use their private swimming pool.
She dreamed of being a ballerina, but she thought herself too tall for that
at 5'10". A mediocre student, she excelled at sports, particularly swimming.
Diana studied at normal schools - at first in Norfolk, then in Kent. When
she was 16 she left for Switzerland and finished school there.
After leaving school in 1978, she lived with her friends in London. She
worked as a nanny, waitress, and cleaning woman before becoming a teacher at
the Young England kindergarten in Pimlico, London. Diana met Prince Charles
in 1977 for the first time at the estate of Diana's father. Sarah, who had
previously dated the prince, introduced them to each other.
It was the general opinion in Buckingham Palace at that time that the heir should
marry. Diana seemed to be a more than suitable candidate in many ways. It
had been many generations since the the heir to the throne had married an
English girl. Furthermore, even then at her most shy and innocent age, Diana was already
much admired by press and the public.
Diana and Charles were married at St. Paul's Cathedral on July 29, 1981.
Diana was twenty, while Charles thirty-two. The wedding was broadcast in 74
countries and watched by 750 million people worldwide. At the ceremony the
Archbishop of Canterbury said, "Here is the stuff of which fairy tales are
the honeymoon the relationship gradually worsened, for
Prince Charles was in love with another women.
Camilla Parker Bowles
|Reportedly, the Prince's former
girlfriend (and later, his second wife)
helped him select the 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer as a potential
bride, who was working as an assistant at the Young England
kindergarten in Pimlico. Buckingham Palace announced the engagement
on 24 February 1981. Mrs. Parker Bowles had been dismissed by
Lord Mountbatten of Burma as a potential spouse for the heir to throne
some years before, reportedly due to her age (16 months the Prince's
senior), her sexual experience, and her lack of suitably
In June, 1982 the Princess of Wales gave birth to her first son, Prince
William. In September, 1984 she gave birth to her second child, Prince
Henry (known as "Harry"). The Royal family hoped that the birth of the sons
would bring happiness to the relationship. Unfortunately, those hopes were
Charles and Diana continued to drift apart. The situation became even worse when the
Princess came to realize that the heart of the Prince belonged
to another woman - Camilla Parker-Bowles. "There were three of us in this
marriage, so it was a bit crowded," Princess Diana remarked years later.
Diana, in her turn, began to take horse riding lessons from Major
Hewitt, a heart breaker from the high society. The scandalous
photos and overheard telephone conversations of the husband and wife soon appeared in mass media.
By autumn of 1987, the couple began to spend practically all their time
separately. In 1992, Princess Diana exposed the truth about her relationship
with Prince Charles to the public by secretly collaborating with author
Andrew Morton on his book Diana, Her True Story. In December of 1992, the prime
minister John Major announced to the Parliament that Diana and Charles
would be divorcing. Princess Diana kept the title Princess of Wales and
continued to work for her favorite charities. She and Prince Charles had
joint custody of their sons.
the casualties lay seriously injured in their wrecked car, the
photographers continued to take pictures
|Dodi Fayed and
Henri Paul were both declared dead at the scene of the crash.
Rees-Jones was severely injured, but later recovered. Still alive, Diana was
freed from the wreckage, and after some delay due to
attempts to stabilize her at the scene, she was taken by ambulance
to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, arriving there shortly after 2:00 am Despite attempts to save her, her internal injuries were
too extensive. Two hours later, at 4:00 that morning, the doctors
pronounced her dead. At 5:30, her death was announced at a press
conference held by a hospital doctor, Jean-Pierre Chevènement (France's Interior Minister) and
Sir Michael Jay (Britain's
ambassador to France).
Later that morning, Chevenement, French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin, the
wife of the French President Jacques Chirac and French Health Minister Bernard Kouchner visited the hospital room
where Diana's body lay and paid their last respects. After their
visits, the Anglican Archdeacon of France, Father Martin Draper,
said commendatory prayers from the Book of Common Prayer.
At around 2:00 pm, the Prince of Wales and Diana's two sisters,
Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, arrived in Paris to
collect Diana's body. They left with her body 90 minutes later.
From RAF Northolt the
coffin was taken to a private mortuary in London, so that the
necessary legal formalities could be completed. Shortly after
midnight, it was moved to the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace,
where it lay privately until the funeral on Saturday, 6 September,
in Westminster Abbey. The Princess's family and friends visited the
Chapel to pay their respects.
Following the funeral service, the coffin then was taken by road to
the family estate at Althorp for a private interment. The Princess
was buried in sanctified ground on an island in the centre of an
Princess Diana spent the last weeks of her life with her friend Dodi
Al-Fayed, the 41-year-old eldest son of Egyptian billionaire Mohammed
Al-Fayed, best known as the owner of Herrods, London's most famous and
fashionable department store, as well as other high profile properties
such as the Hotel Ritz in Paris.
On August 31, 1997, Princess Diana was killed in a high speed car accident
along with Dodi and driver Henri Paul while attempting to flee the ever-present pack of
paparazzi photographers seeking her image.
Diana very much admired Mother Teresa, with whom she shared a common love of
poor and outcast people. When Mother Teresa was told of Diana's death, she
described Diana as "a very great friend who was in love with the poor."
Mother Teresa died the day before Princess Diana's funeral services.
Over a billion people watched Diana's funeral, and they are still watching still.
QUOTES & COMMENTS
"She was the people's princess and that is how she
will stay, how she will remain, in our hearts and our memories
forever....The whole of our country, all of us will be in a state of
shock and mourning. Diana was a wonderful, warm and compassionate
person who people, not just in Britain, but throughout the world
loved and will be mourned as a friend."
-- British Prime Minister Tony Blair
Diana's death "has robbed the world of a consistent
and committed voice for the improvement of the lives of
suffering children worldwide."
-- U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Anna
"We are profoundly saddened by this tragic event ...
We liked her very much. We admired her work for children, for
people with AIDS, for the cause of ending the scourge of land
mines in the world. We can only hope that her work will go
forward and that everyone who can will support her two fine sons
and help them to have the life and the future that she would
-- President Clinton
"I always believed the press would kill her
in the end. But not even I could imagine that they would take
such a direct hand in her death as seems to be the case. It
would appear that every (publisher) and every editor of any
publication that has paid for intrusive and exploitive
photographs of her, encouraging greedy and ruthless individuals
to risk everything in pursuit of Diana's image, has blood on his
-- Charles Spencer, Diana's brother
"Barbara and I extend our deepest condolence to Princess
Diana's family, especially her two young sons. We will
always remember our many family contacts and her vivacious
spirit with great warmth and fondness."
-- Former President George Bush
|"I remember how she reached into her
handbag to bring out pictures of her children. Like any
mother she glowed with love and pride when she showed off
--Diana's friend Lord Archer
"She was very concerned for the poor. She was very
anxious to do something for them. That is why she was close
-- Mother Teresa