Diana, Princess of Wales
- Birth Date:
- 01.07.1961 Other persons who were born or died on this day
- Death date:
- 31.08.1997 Other persons who were born or died on this day
- Person's maiden name:
- Diana Frances Spencer
- Extra names:
- princese Diāna, принцесса Диана, Диана Френсис Спенсер, Diāna Frencisa Spensere, Dī, Diana Francis Spencer
- Set cemetery
Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Frances; née Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997) was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, the eldest son and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II.
She was well known for her fund-raising work for international charities and as an eminent celebrity of the late 20th century. Her wedding to the Prince of Wales on 29 July 1981 was held at St Paul's Cathedral and seen by a global television audience of over 750 million. While married she 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 became second and third in line to the British throne.
Diana was born into an aristocratic English family with royal ancestry. She was the fourth child of John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer and his wife Frances, daughter of Maurice Roche, 4th Baron Fermoy. She became a public figure with the announcement of her engagement. She also received recognition for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. From 1989, she was the president of the 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. Media attention and public mourning were considerable following her death in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997.
Diana was born at 7:45 PM on 1 July 1961, in Sandringham, Norfolk. She was the fourth of five children of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp. The Spencers are one of Britain's oldest and most important families, 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. Diana was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham. Diana had three siblings: Sarah, Jane, and Charles. Diana 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 after her mother had an affair with Peter Shand Kydd. In Morton's book, he 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, but during the Christmas holidays, Lord Althorp did not allow his former wife to return to London along with Diana. Shortly afterwards, Lord Althorp won custody of Diana with support from his former mother-in-law, Lady 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 when her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer on 9 June 1975. Lady Dartmouth, unpopular with Diana, married Lord Spencer at Caxton Hall, London on 14 July 1976. Diana was often noted for her shyness while growing up, but she did take an interest in both music and dancing. She also had a great interest in children. After attending finishing school at the Institut Alpin Videmanette in Switzerland, she moved to London. She began working with children, eventually becoming a nursery 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.
Coleherne Court, London (left)
In 1968, Diana was sent to Riddlesworth Hall, 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 for a time, but then grew too tall for the profession.
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 £50,000 as an 18th birthday present, at Coleherne Court in Earls Court. She lived there until 1981 with three flatmates. In London, she took an advanced cooking course at her mother's suggestion, although she never became an adroit cook, and worked as a dance instructor for youth, until a skiing accident caused her to miss three months of work. She then found employment as a playgroup (pre-school) assistant, did some cleaning work for her sister Sarah and several of her friends, and worked as a hostess at parties. Diana also spent time working as a nanny for an American family living in London.
Marriage to the Prince of Wales
The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) had previously been linked to Lady Diana's elder sister Lady Sarah, and in his early thirties he was under increasing pressure to marry.
The Prince of Wales had known Lady Diana for several years, but he first took a serious interest in her as a potential bride during the summer of 1980, when they were guests at a country weekend, where she watched him play polo. The relationship developed as he invited her for a sailing weekend to Cowes aboard the royal yacht Britannia, followed by an invitation to Balmoral (the Royal Family's Scottish residence) to meet his family. Lady Diana was well received by 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
Charles and Diana's wedding commemorated on a 1981 British Crown.
Their engagement became official on 24 February 1981, after Lady Diana selected a large £30,000 ring (£94,800 in today's terms) consisting of 14 solitaire diamonds elegantly 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, unusual for a member of the Royal Family, the ring was not unique and was, at the time, featured in Garrard's jewellery collection. The ring later became, in 2010, the engagement ring of Catherine Middleton. It was copied by jewellers all over the world.
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.
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 marriage, the Queen extended Diana visible tokens of membership in the Royal Family; the gift of a tiara and the badge of the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II.Children
The Prince and Princess of Wales after the wedding of The Duke and Duchess of York
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.
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.Royal duties
The Prince and Princess of Wales with Sandro Pertini in 1985.
After her marriage with 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 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 the country's native people, who honored 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.
From left to right, the Prince and Princess of Wales, the United States First Lady Nancy Reagan, and United States President Ronald Reagan in November 1985.
In April 1985, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Italy with their children, Princes William and Harry and met with President Alessandro Pertini. Their visit to the Holy See included a private audience with Pope John Paul II. The Princess made her inaugural overseas tour, to the United States, in November 1985. During their tour in the United States, they met with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan at the White house. 1986 was a busy year for Diana. With the Prince of Wales they 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 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 member of her gender. In Oman, Sultan Qaboos presented Diana with a Queen's ransom in jewels. The tour finished in United Arab Emirates.
The Prince and Princess of Wales with President Richard von Weizsäcker and First Lady Marianne von Weizsäcker in Bonn, 2 November 1987.
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 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.
The Princess' first official visit overseas on her own was in September 1982, when she represented her mother-in-law at the State funeral of Princess Grace of Monaco. The Princess of Wales' first solo overseas tour was in February 1984, when she travelled to Norway 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 September 1991, the Princess visited Pakistan. During her visit, Diana helped the needy families in Lahore, met with Islamic scholars and students. 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 Dr. Zaki Hawas, a famous Egyptian arecaologist. In February 1995, the Princess visited Japan and was received by the Emperor and Empress of Japan. 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, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Nepal.
Diana was renowned for her style and was closely associated with the fashion world, patronising and raising the profile of younger British designers, but she was best known for her charitable work. 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'.
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 Park Hospital, London.Charity work and patronage
The Princess of Wales on a royal visit for the official opening of the community centre on Whitehall Road, Bristol, in May 1987.
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," 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. The Princess developed an intense interest in serious illnesses and health-related matters outside the purview of traditional royal involvement, including AIDS and leprosy. In addition, she was the patroness of charities and organisations working with the homeless, youth, drug addicts, and the elderly. From 1989, she was President of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. In the same year, Diana became President of the British marital advice organisations, which she ended in 1996.
The day after her divorce, she announced her resignation from over 100 charities to spend more time with the remaining six. Following her divorce, she remained patron of Centrepoint (homeless charity), English National Ballet, Leprosy Mission and National AIDS Trust, and as President of the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street and of the Royal Marsden Hospital. 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.
During her final year, Diana lent highly visible support to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a campaign which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, only a few months after her death.Problems and separation
During the early 1990s, the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales fell apart, an event at first suppressed, then sensationalised, by the world media. Both the Prince and Princess allegedly spoke to the press through friends, each blaming the other for the marriage's demise.
The Princess of Wales presents Memo Gracida a trophy at Guards Polo Club in 1987.
The chronology of the break-up identifies reported difficulties between the Prince and Princess as early as 1985. The Princess of Wales began an affair with Major James Hewitt, and the Prince of Wales returned to his former girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles. These affairs were exposed in May 1992 with the publication of Diana: Her True Story, by Andrew Morton. The book, which also laid bare the Princess' allegedly suicidal unhappiness, caused a media storm. This publication was followed during 1992 and 1993 by leaked tapes of telephone conversations which negatively reflected on both the royal antagonists. Transcripts of taped intimate conversations between the Princess and James Gilbey were published by the Sun newspaper in Britain in August 1992. The article's title, "Squidgygate", referenced Gilbey's affectionate nickname for Diana. The next to surface, in November 1992, were the leaked "Camillagate" tapes, intimate exchanges between the Prince of Wales and Camilla, published in Today and the Mirror newspapers.
In the meantime, rumours had begun to surface about the Princess of Wales's relationship with James Hewitt, her former riding instructor. These would be brought into the open by the publication in 1994 of Princess in Love. Princess in Love by David Greene was a film released in 1996 that is based on this publication. The Princess of Wales was portrayed by Julie Cox, whereas James Hewitt was portrayed by Christopher Villiers.
In December 1992, Prime Minister John Major announced the Wales's "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".Divorce
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."
In December 1995, as a direct result of the Princess's Panorama interview, the Queen asked the Prince and Princess of Wales for "an early divorce". 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 Princess of Wales with Alexander Yakovlev at the International Leonardo Prize in 1995.
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. The Prince immediately agreed with the suggestion. In February, the Princess announced her agreement after negotiations with the Prince and representatives of the Queen, irritating Buckingham Palace by issuing her own announcement of a divorce agreement and its terms.
The divorce was finalised on 28 August 1996. 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. As the mother of the prince expected to one day ascend the thrones, she was accorded the same precedence she enjoyed during her marriage.
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 (The Lady Diana Frances Spencer) is a lot older than yours, Philip." She noted that the Spencer family, the family she was born to, is older and more aristocratic than the House of Windsor.
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 Family and the other was not."
Prince William comforted his mother, and he was said to have wanted to let her have the style of Her Royal Highness again. He was reported to have said: "Don't worry, Mummy, I will give it back to you one day when I am King."
Personal life after divorce
Diana, Princess of Wales, meeting with Sri Chinmoy, May 1997 at her Kensington Palace apartments
After the divorce, Diana retained her double apartment on the north side of Kensington Palace, which she had shared with the Prince of Wales since the first year of their marriage, and it remained her home until her death.
Diana dated the respected heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, 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. Their relationship lasted almost two years and Khan ended the relationship. Khan was intensely private and the relationship was conducted in secrecy, with Diana lying to members of the press who questioned her about it. According to Khan's testimonial at the inquest for her death, it was Diana herself, not Khan, who ended their relationship in a late-night meeting in Hyde Park, which adjoins the grounds of Kensington Palace, in June 1997.
Within a month Diana had begun 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.Landmines
Diana, Princess of Wales, chatting with Hillary Rodham Clinton, 18 June 1997
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. 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".
East entrance to the Pont de l'Alma tunnel, where Diana, Princess of Wales had a fatal car crash
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 and inquest
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 2007–2008 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
Diana's coffin borne through the streets of London on its way to Westminster Abbey
The sudden and unexpected death of an extraordinarily popular royal figure brought statements from senior figures worldwide and many tributes by members of the public. People left public offerings of flowers, candles, cards and personal messages outside Kensington Palace for many months.
Diana's funeral took place in Westminster Abbey on 6 September 1997. The previous day Queen Elizabeth II had paid tribute to her in a live television broadcast. 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."Memorials
The first of two memorials to Diana, Princess of Wales, and Dodi Fayed in Harrods
Immediately after her death, many sites around the world became briefly ad hoc memorials to Diana, where the public left flowers and other tributes. The largest was outside the gates of Kensington Palace, 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.
"Innocent Victims", the second of two memorials in Harrods.
In addition, there are two memorials inside Harrods department store, at the time owned by Dodi Fayed's father Mohamed Al-Fayed, in London. The first memorial consists of photos of the two behind a pyramid-shaped display that holds a wine glass still smudged with lipstick from Diana's last dinner as well as an 'engagement' ring Dodi purchased the day before they died. The second, unveiled in 2005 and titled "Innocent Victims", is a bronze statue of the two dancing on a beach beneath the wings of an albatross. The Flame of Liberty, erected in 1989 on the Place de l'Alma in Paris, above the entrance to the tunnel in which the fatal crash later occurred, has become an unofficial memorial to Diana.Memorabilia
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 with both Azeri and English captions, commemorating Diana. The English text reads "Diana, Princess of Wales. The Princess that captured people's hearts".Diana in contemporary art
The Lake at Althorp with the Diana memorial beyond
Diana has been depicted in contemporary art since her death. Some of the artworks have referenced the conspiracy theories, as well as paying tribute to Diana's compassion and acknowledging her perceived victimhood.
In July 1999, Tracey Emin created a number of monoprint drawings featuring textual references about Diana's public and private life, for Temple of Diana, a themed exhibition at The Blue Gallery, London. Works such as They Wanted You To Be Destroyed (1999) 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 Biennial the film Diana: The Rose Conspiracy. This fictional work starts with the world discovering Diana alive and enjoying a happy undercover new life in a dangerous favela on the outskirts of Montevideo. Shot on a genuine Uruguayan slum and using a Diana impersonator from São Paulo, the film was selected among the Venice Biennial's best works by the Italian Art Critics Association.
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".Later events
Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, Hyde Park, London, UK
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. 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.
1 July 2007 marked a concert at Wembley Stadium. The event, organised by the Princes William and Harry, celebrated the 46th anniversary of their mother's birth and occurred a few weeks before the 10th anniversary of her death on 31 August.
The 2007 docudrama Diana: Last Days of a Princess details the final two months of her life. 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.
On 19 March 2013, ten of Diana's dresses, including a midnight blue velvet gown Diana 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.
John Travolta and The Princess of Wales dancing at the White House
From her engagement to the Prince of Wales in 1981 until her death in 1997, Diana was a major presence on the world stage, often described as the "world's most photographed woman" (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.
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 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 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.
Titles, styles, honours, and armsTitles 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
Posthumously, as in life, she is most popularly referred to as "Princess Diana", a title not formally correct and a title she never held. 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, she was also often referred to as the People's Princess.
Diana's full title, while married, was: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales and Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay.Honours British honours Appointments
- Member of the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II
- 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
The Princess of Wales held the following military appointments: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
- Prince Harry of Wales
Diana by birth was a member of the Spencer family, one of the oldest and most prominent noble families in Britain, different branches of which currently hold the titles of Duke of Marlborough, Earl Spencer and Viscount Churchill. The Spencers claimed to have descended from a cadet branch of the powerful medieval Despenser family, but its validity is still being questioned. Diana's great-grandmother was Margaret Baring, a member of the German-British Baring family of bankers and the daughter of Edward Baring, 1st Baron Revelstoke. Through Adelaide Seymour, she is a descendant of Britain's first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford and his daughter Maria, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh. Diana's distant noble ancestors include the legendary John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and Prince of Mindelheim, his equally famous wife, the powerful and influential Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough, Fadrique Álvarez de Toledo, 2nd Duke of Alba, one of the most powerful men of his era, and Henry Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey. 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.
Some sources have speculated that Diana's fourth great-grandmother, Eliza Kevork or Kewark, whose daughter was fathered by Theodore Forbes, was Armenian. She is variously described in contemporary documents as "a dark-skinned native woman", "an Armenian woman from Bombay", and "Mrs. Forbesian".DNA tests published in June 2013 on two distant cousins of Diana, Robin Dewhurst and Sarah Drury, who shared the same matrilineal ancestry as Diana indicated that Eliza Kewark was of South Asian descent.
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 the legendary Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forlì.
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