|Princess of Wales; Duchess of Rothesay|
|Spouse||Charles, Prince of Wales |
(29 July 1981, div. 1996)
|Prince William of Wales |
Prince Harry of Wales
|Diana Frances Spencer[N 1]|
|Father||John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer|
|Mother||Frances Shand Kydd|
|Born||1 July 1961(1961-07-01) |
Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk
|Died||31 August 1997(1997-08-31) (aged 36) |
Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France
|Religion||Christian Church of England |
A public figure from the announcement of her engagement to Prince Charles, Diana was born into an old, aristocratic English family with royal ancestry, and remained the focus of worldwide media scrutiny before, during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996. This media attention continued following her death in a car crash in Paris along with her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul (Fayed's bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was the sole survivor from the crash) on 31 August 1997, and in the subsequent display of public mourning a week later. Diana also received recognition for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. From 1989, she was the president of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.
Diana was only eight years old when her parents were unexpectedly divorced, after much acrimony and as a result of her mother having an affair with a married man. Initially, Frances took Diana to live in an apartment in London's Knightsbridge, where Diana attended a local day school. However, Lord Spencer gained custody of Diana after a court battle in which Frances's mother, Baroness Fermoy, denounced her own daughter as being an unfit mother. Shortly afterwards, following the divorce of her companion Peter Shand Kydd from his wife, Frances married him and moved to the island of Seil on the west coast of Scotland. Henceforth, Diana was raised by her father, but did often visit her mother. On 14 July 1976, Lord Spencer followed in Frances' footsteps by having an affair with a married woman, Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the only daughter of Alexander McCorquodale and Barbara Cartland. Neither of Diana's parents had any children from their second marriage. Diana also did not get along with either her stepmother or stepfather.
The Spencers had been close to the British Royal Family for centuries, rising in royal favour during the 17th century. Diana's maternal grandmother, Ruth, Lady Fermoy, was a long-time friend and a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Her father had served as an equerry to King George VI and to Queen Elizabeth II.
EducationDiana was first educated at Silfield School, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, then at Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk, and at 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, at the age of 16, she left West Heath and briefly attended Institut Alpin Videmanette, a finishing school in Rougemont, Switzerland. At about that time, she first met her future husband, who was then dating her eldest sister, Lady Sarah. Diana reportedly excelled in swimming and diving, and longed to be a professional ballerina with the Royal Ballet. She studied ballet for a time, but then grew to 5'10", far too tall for the profession.
Diana moved to London before she turned seventeen, living in her mother's flat, as her mother then spent most of the year in Scotland. Soon afterwards, an apartment was purchased for £50,000 as an 18th birthday present, at Coleherne Court in Earls Court. She lived there until 1981 with three flatmates.
In London she took an advanced cooking course at her mother's suggestion, although she never became an adroit cook, and worked first as a dance instructor for youth, until a skiing accident caused her to miss three months of work. She then found employment as a playgroup (pre-preschool) assistant, did some cleaning work for her sister Sarah and several of her friends, and worked as a hostess at parties. Diana also spent time working as a nanny for an American family living in London.
Relationship with the Prince of WalesAct of Settlement 1701, royals forfeit their succession rights to the Throne if they marry "papists" (Roman Catholics). Diana's Church of England faith, presumed virginity and native Englishness appeared to render her a suitable royal bride both legally and socially.
Prince Charles had known 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. There, Diana was well received by Queen Elizabeth II, by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and by the Queen Mother. The couple subsequently courted in London. The Prince proposed on 6 February 1981, and Diana accepted, but their engagement was kept secret for the next few weeks.
Engagement and weddingTheir engagement became official on 24 February 1981, after Diana selected a large £30,000 ring, £85,700 in today's terms, consisting of 14 diamonds surrounding a sapphire, similar to her mother's engagement ring. The ring was made by the then crown jewellers Garrard but unusually, for a member of the Royal Family, the ring was not unique and was, at the time, featured in Garrard's jewellery collection. The ring was later used in 2010 as the engagement ring of Kate Middleton, the fiancée of Diana's elder son Prince William.
Twenty-year-old Diana became The Princess of Wales when she married Charles 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 couple's wedding cake was created by Belgian pastry chef S. G. Sender, who was known as the "cakemaker to the kings."
ChildrenOn 5 November 1981, Diana's first pregnancy was officially announced, and she frankly discussed her pregnancy with members of the press corps. In the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington on 21 June 1982, Diana gave birth to her and Prince Charles's first son and heir, Prince William of Wales. 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, Diana had not initially intended to take William until it was suggested by the Australian prime minister.
A second son, Harry, was born about two years after William on 15 September 1984. Diana asserted that she and Prince Charles were closest during her pregnancy with "Harry", as the younger prince became known. She was aware their second child was a boy, but did not share the knowledge with anyone else, including Prince Charles.
She was regarded by a biographer as a devoted and demonstrative mother. She rarely deferred to Prince Charles or to the Royal Family, and was often intransigent when it came to the children. She chose their first given names, defied the royal custom of circumcision, dismissed a royal family nanny and engaged one of her own choosing, in addition to selecting their schools and clothing, planning their outings and taking them to school herself as often as her schedule permitted. She also negotiated her public duties around their timetables.
Charity workThough in 1983 she confided in 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 visit hospitals, schools, etc., in the 20th-century model of royal patronage. Diana developed an intense interest in serious illnesses and health-related matters outside the purview of traditional royal involvement, including AIDS and leprosy. In addition, the Princess 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.
During her final year, Diana lent highly visible support to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a campaign that went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 after her death.
Problems and separation
The chronology of the break-up identifies reported difficulties between Charles and Diana as early as 1985. During 1986, Prince Charles turned again to his former girlfriend, Camilla Shand, who had become Camilla Parker-Bowles, wife of Andrew Parker-Bowles. This affair was exposed in May 1992 with the publication of Diana: Her True Story, by Andrew Morton. The book, which also laid bare Diana's 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 Diana 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. Next to surface, in November 1992, were the leaked "Camillagate" tapes, intimate exchanges between Charles and Camilla, published in Today and the Mirror newspapers.
In the meantime, rumours had begun to surface about Diana'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.
In December 1992, Prime Minister John Major announced the Wales' "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, Diana announced her withdrawal from public life. Charles sought public understanding via a televised interview with Jonathan Dimbleby on 29 June 1994. In this he confirmed his own extramarital affair with Camilla, saying that he had only rekindled their association in 1986, after his marriage to the Princess of Wales had "irretrievably broken down."
While she blamed Camilla Parker-Bowles for her marital troubles, Diana at some point began to believe Charles had other affairs. In October 1993 Diana 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 Prince Charles as a young companion for his sons while they were in his care, and Diana was extremely resentful of Legge-Bourke and her relationship with the young princes.
Divorce with journalist Martin Bashir, broadcast on 20 November 1995. In it, Diana asserted of Hewitt, "Yes, I loved him. Yes, I adored him." Of Camilla, she claimed "There were three of us in this marriage." For herself, she said "I'd like to be a queen of people's hearts." On Charles's suitability for kingship, she said: "Because I know the character I would think that the top job, as I call it, would bring enormous limitations to him, and I don't know whether he could adapt to that."
In December 1995, the Queen asked Charles and Diana for "an early divorce," as a direct result of Diana's Panorama interview. This followed shortly after Diana's accusation that Tiggy Legge-Bourke had aborted Charles'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 Diana had "exulted in accusing Legge-Bourke of having had an abortion".
On 20 December 1995, Buckingham Palace publicly announced the Queen had sent letters to Charles and Diana advising them to divorce. The Queen's move was backed by the Prime Minister and by senior Privy Councillors, and, according to the BBC, was decided after two weeks of talks. Prince Charles immediately agreed with the suggestion. In February Diana announced her agreement after negotiations with Prince Charles 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.[N 2] Buckingham Palace issued a press release on the day of the decree absolute of divorce was issued, announcing Diana's change of title, but made it clear that Diana continued to be a British princess.
Buckingham Palace stated Diana was still a member of the Royal Family, as she was the mother of the second- and third-in-line to the throne. This was confirmed by the Deputy Coroner of the Queen's Household, Baroness Butler-Sloss, after a pre-hearing on 8 January 2007: "I am satisfied that at her death, Diana, Princess of Wales continued to be considered as a member of the Royal Household." 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."
Personal life after divorceAfter the divorce, Diana retained her double apartment on the north side of Kensington Palace, which she had shared with Prince Charles since the first year of their marriage, and it remained her home until her death.
Diana dated the respected heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, from Jhelum, Pakistan, who was called "the love of her life" after her death by many of her closest friends, for almost two years, before 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. Khan was from a traditional Pakistani family who expected him to marry from a related Muslim clan, and their differences, not only religion, became too much for Khan. According to Khan's testimonial at the inquest for her death, it was Diana herself, not Khan, who ended their relationship in a late-night meeting in Hyde Park, which adjoins the grounds of Kensington Palace, in June 1997.
Within a month Diana had begun dating Dodi Al-Fayed, son of her host that summer, Mohamed Al-Fayed. Diana had considered taking her sons that summer on a holiday to the Hamptons on Long Island, New York, but security officials had prevented it. After deciding against a trip to Thailand, she accepted Fayed's invitation to join his family on 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 on which to entertain the princess and her sons.
LandminesIn January 1997, pictures of the Princess touring an Angolan minefield in a ballistic helmet and flak jacket were seen worldwide. It was during this campaign that some accused the Princess of meddling in politics and declared her a 'loose cannon.' In August 1997, just days before her death, she visited Bosnia with 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".
DeathPont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris, which also caused the deaths of her then boyfriend, Dodi Al-Fayed and the acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris, Henri Paul, who was their chauffeur. Millions of people watched the princess's funeral.
Conspiracy theories and inquestThe initial French judicial investigation concluded that the accident was caused by Henri Paul's drunken loss of control. From February 1999, Dodi's father, Mohamed Al-Fayed (the owner of the Paris Ritz, for which Paul had worked) maintained that the crash had been planned, accusing MI6 as well as Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Inquests in London during 2004 and 2007 finally attributed the accident to grossly negligent driving by Henri Paul and to the pursuing paparazzi. The following day Al-Fayed announced he would end his 10-year campaign for the sake of the late Princess of Wales's children.
Tribute, funeral, and burialKensington 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, the Princes William and Harry, walked in the funeral procession behind her coffin, along with the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh, and with Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer.
MemorialsKensington Palace. 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 Queen 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
MemorabiliaFollowing 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 their grants to charities.
In 1998, Azermarka issued the postage stamps with both Azeri and English captions, commemorating Diana. The English text reads "Diana, Princess of Wales. The Princess that captured people's hearts".
In 2003 the Franklin Mint counter-sued; the case was eventually settled in 2004, with the fund agreeing to an out-of-court settlement, which was donated to mutually agreed charitable causes.
Today, pursuant to this lawsuit, two California companies continue to sell Diana memorabilia without the need for any permission from Diana's estate: the Franklin Mint and Princess Ring LLC.
Diana in contemporary artDiana 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 Martin Sastre premiered during the Venice Biennial the film Diana: The Rose Conspiracy. This fictional work starts with the world discovering Diana alive and enjoying a happy undercover new life in a dangerous favela on the outskirts of Montevideo. Shot on a genuine Uruguayan slum and using a Diana impersonator from Sao 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".
Recent eventsOn 13 July 2006 Italian magazine Chi published photographs showing the princess amid the wreckage of the car crash, despite an unofficial blackout on such photographs being published.[N 3] The editor of Chi defended his decision by saying that he published the photographs simply because they had not been previously seen, and that he felt the images are not disrespectful to the memory of the Princess. Fresh controversy arose over the issue of these photographs when Britain's Channel 4 broadcast them during a documentary in June 2007.
1 July 2007 marked a concert at Wembley Stadium. The event, organised by the Princes William and Harry, celebrated the 46th anniversary of their mother's birth and occurred a few weeks before the 10th anniversary of her death on 31 August.
The 2007 docudrama Diana: Last Days of a Princess details the final two months of her life.
On an October 2007 episode of The Chaser's War on Everything, Andrew Hansen mocked Diana in his "Eulogy Song", which immediately created considerable controversy in the Australian media.
Contemporary opinions style, charisma, and high-profile charity work, as well as her difficult marriage to Prince Charles.
Diana was revealed to be a major source behind Andrew Morton's Diana: Her True Story which had portrayed her as being wronged by the House of Windsor. Morton instanced Diana's claim that she attempted suicide while pregnant by falling down a series of stairs and that Charles had left her to go riding. Tina Brown opined that it was not a suicide attempt because she would not intentionally have tried to harm the unborn child. Brown cites an aide that says that Diana accidentally slipped and other sources claim it was an accident. In the televised audio tapes, Diana herself clearly admitted that she did indeed throw herself down the stairs, "bearing in mind I was carrying a child" and had "cut her wrists with razor blades" (evidence of further self-harm).
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 herself admitted to struggling with depression, self injury, and bulimia, which recurred throughout her adult life. One biographer suggested that Diana suffered from Borderline personality disorder.
In 2007, Tina Brown wrote a biography about Diana as a "restless and demanding shopaholic who was obsessed with her public image" as well as being a "spiteful, manipulative, media-savvy neurotic." Brown also claims that 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.
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: The Lady Diana Frances Spencer
- 29 July 1981 – 28 August 1996: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales
- 28 August 1996 – 31 August 1997: Diana, Princess of Wales
Diana's full title, while married, was Her Royal Highness The Princess Charles Philip Arthur George, Princess of Wales & Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of the Isles, Princess of Scotland.
- Diana's interest in supporting and helping young people led to the establishment of the Diana Memorial Award, awarded to youths who have demonstrated the unselfish devotion and commitment to causes advocated by the Princess.
- In 2002, Diana was ranked 3rd in the 100 Greatest Britons poll, outranking Queen Elizabeth II and other British monarchs.
- On 29 August 2007 Peruvian photographer Mario Testino announced that on 20 November he would auction a signed photo of Diana for the benefit of Peru earthquake (in London by Phillips de Pury & Co). The photo appeared in a 1997 Vanity Fair issue, and shows Diana wearing a black dress.
- The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground was erected in Kensington Gardens at a cost of £1.7 million.
- The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk was dedicated to the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, it stretches between Kensington Gardens, Green Park, Hyde Park and St James's Park.
- On 6 July 2004 Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain. It is located in the south-west corner of Hyde Park in London.
- In 1999 the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Award for Inspirational Young People was established.
- Diana's family announced in 2010 they would auction art and horse-drawn carriages that once belonged to Althorp House.
- Fashion designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel, responsible for much of Diana's fashion including her wedding dress, announced in May 2010 they were auctioning 30 lots of clothing, measurements, and related items.