Diana, Princess of Wales (born Diana Frances Spencer on July 1, 1961) was born into aristocracy as the daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp. She grew up on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. Diana had two older sisters, Sarah and Jane, and a younger brother, Charles. Her parents divorced when Diana was young, and her father won custody of the children.
Where was Princess Diana born?
Princess Diana was born at Park House on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England on July 1, 1961. She was the daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp.
|Full Name at Birth
|Diana Frances Spencer
|Date of Birth
|July 1, 1961
|Place of Birth
|Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England
|John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (father)
Frances Roche, Viscountess Althorp (mother)
As a child, Diana attended private boarding schools. She was first sent to Riddlesworth Hall and then went to West Heath School. Diana developed a love for music and dancing growing up. She dreamed of becoming a ballerina one day. At the age of 16, she moved to Switzerland to attend the Institut Alpin Videmanette finishing school. After graduating in 1977, she returned to London.
What was Princess Diana’s early education?
- Attended Riddlesworth Hall prep school
- Went to West Heath Girls’ School in Kent
- Finishing school at Institut Alpin Videmanette in Switzerland
Diana was known to be shy and quiet as a youth. After finishing school, she moved into an apartment in London’s Earl’s Court neighborhood with three school friends. To support herself, she took various low-paying jobs like nannying, cleaning, and waitressing. In 1978, she became a nursery assistant at the Young England Kindergarten school in Pimlico.
Relationship and Marriage to Prince Charles
Diana first met Prince Charles, the eldest son and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II, when she was 16 years old in November 1977. Charles was dating Diana’s older sister Lady Sarah at that time. They met again when Diana was invited to a weekend shooting party at the Spencer family home Althorp in 1979.
As one of the most eligible bachelors in the world, Charles was under increasing pressure to find a bride. Reportedly, he was searching for a young, virginal, and aristocratic Protestant bride, with whom he could appear in public at his 30th birthday in November 1978. Diana seemed to fit these criteria perfectly and the two began a courtship after spending more time together.
|First meeting between Diana and Charles
|Diana spends time with Charles in Buckingham Palace
|February 6, 1981
|Charles proposes marriage to Diana
|July 29, 1981
|Charles and Diana’s famous wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral
Their courtship was kept secret at first, but the press eventually found out about their relationship. Paparazzi began following Diana extensively and published photographs of them together. In February 1981, Charles proposed marriage to Diana with a large engagement ring consisting of 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-karat white gold. Diana selected her own ring, which was made by the Crown jewellers Garrard.
When did Princess Diana first meet Prince Charles?
Princess Diana first met Prince Charles in November 1977 when she was 16 years old. At the time, Charles was dating Diana’s older sister Lady Sarah. They met again in 1979 at the Spencer family estate Althorp, when Diana was invited to attend a weekend shooting party.
The couple made their first public appearance together in 1981 at a charity event at Goldsmiths’ Hall in London. Their engagement was officially announced on February 24, 1981. Within the next few months, Diana began taking on royal duties and adjusting to life in the public spotlight as preparations were made for the much-anticipated royal wedding that summer.
Royal Wedding and Public Life
On July 29, 1981, an estimated global TV audience of 750 million people watched Lady Diana Spencer marry Prince Charles at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Their wedding was considered a true “fairy tale” event and Diana wore a voluminous ivory silk and taffeta gown with a 25-foot train designed by the Emmanuels.
Music at the ceremony included a special fanfare composed by Handel and the hymn “Christ Is Made the Sure Foundation”. After the wedding, the new Princess Diana moved into Clarence House and then Kensington Palace.
|Date and Location
|July 29, 1981; St Paul’s Cathedral, London
|Wedding Dress Designer
|Elizabeth and David Emanuel
|Global Television Audience
|Estimated 750 million viewers
|Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Queen Mother, Margaret Thatcher, Nancy Reagan
As Princess of Wales, Diana was thrust into the spotlight and became an iconic figure admired for both her sense of fashion as well as her compassionate charity work. She and Charles toured Australia and New Zealand on their honeymoon. Adjusting to royal duties and protocol proved challenging for Diana, as she disliked the isolation from ordinary people.
Within a few years of her 1981 fairy tale wedding, there were signs her marriage to Charles was troubled as both had affairs. Diagnosed with bulimia nervosa and depression, Diana received little support from the royal family over her emotional difficulties.
What designer created Princess Diana’s famous wedding dress?
Princess Diana’s famous ivory silk and taffeta wedding gown with its voluminous skirt, puff sleeves, and 25-foot train was designed by the husband and wife team of David and Elizabeth Emanuel. They consulted closely with Diana on the dress design leading up to her July 1981 wedding to Prince Charles at St Paul’s Cathedral.
As the Princess of Wales, Diana championed numerous charities supporting causes like AIDS patients, removing landmines, homelessness, children’s issues, and cancer research. She made headline-grabbing visits to hospitals and hospices where her comforting interaction with patients suffering from terminal or serious illness moved many people.
Wanting her sons to have typical childhood experiences, Diana took Princes William and Harry to amusement parks, fast food restaurants and stadium concerts. Diana was extraordinarily popular in Great Britain and increasingly became known as the “People’s Princess.”
Marital Struggles, Divorce and New Relationships
Behind the scenes, Diana’s marriage was falling apart as she struggled with loneliness and personal difficulties like bulimia and depression. Both she and Charles had extra-marital affairs including his longtime relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles. By December 1992, Prime Minister John Major officially announced the royal couple’s “amicable separation” to Parliament.
When did Princess Diana and Prince Charles divorce?
Princess Diana and Prince Charles formally divorced on August 28, 1996 after 4 years of separation. Their marriage lasted 15 years from 1981-1996. Citing Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles as the main reason, Diana agreed to the divorce which involved giving up her title “Her Royal Highness”. She received a substantial settlement but was no longer Princess of Wales.
Over the next few years, Diana dated other high-profile men like heart surgeon Hasnat Khan and Dodi Al Fayed, playboy son of billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed. In the summer of 1997, Diana fell deeply in love with Dodi and they were spending a romantic, extended vacation together on the French Riviera. After their relationship became public, Diana was reportedly about to announce their engagement just before the tragic Paris car crash that claimed both their lives.
Princess Diana lived an extraordinary life in the public spotlight as the Princess of Wales. Her tragic death at age 36 caused worldwide grief and mourning on an unprecedented scale. Diana’s beauty, compassion, approachability and humanity endeared her to millions.
Through her charity work and travels, she connected with people from all walks of life. Diana modernized the British monarchy and served as an inspirational role model.
Though she struggled to find personal happiness within the royal system, Diana worked diligently on behalf of numerous humanitarian causes she cared deeply about. After her divorce, Diana appeared to be moving towards more freedom.
Tragically, her life was cut far too short in the fatal 1997 car accident. Over 20 years later, Diana’s inspirational legacy of service and kindness lives on through her sons William and Harry. The beloved “People’s Princess” remains one of history’s most iconic figures of the 20th century.
What caused Princess Diana’s death?
Princess Diana died in a high-speed car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997. She was a passenger being pursued by paparazzi in a Mercedes S-280 driven by her companion Dodi Al Fayed and Henri Paul, the acting head of security at the Ritz Hotel.
Attempting to elude photographers at a high rate of speed, the driver lost control in the tunnel under Passy and crashed into a pillar. Diana died of her injuries a few hours later at the hospital along with Dodi and the driver Henri Paul.
How old were Prince William and Prince Harry when Princess Diana died?
When Princess Diana died in 1997, Prince William was 15 years old and Prince Harry was 12 years old. They were on holiday with their father Prince Charles at Balmoral Castle in Scotland when they received the tragic news about their mother’s death.
What charity work was Princess Diana known for?
Some of Princess Diana’s most famous charitable causes included supporting organizations:
- Helping AIDS victims – She worked to help destigmatize AIDS and met with patients.
- Serving as a patron to hospitals and hospices
- Championing the removal of landmines to protect innocent civilians
- Promoting cancer research and treatment with visits to clinics
- Raising awareness about homelessness in UK society
- Supporting the arts including ballet companies and museums
- Advocating for children’s charities like Great Ormond Street Hospital
Where is Princess Diana buried?
Princess Diana is buried on the grounds of Althorp, the Spencer family’s ancestral estate in Northamptonshire, England. Her burial site is located on an island in a lake known as The Oval on the grounds.
Her tombstone features these words: “Diana 1961-1997: A True English Rose”. In keeping with her memory and image, the site is adorned with commemorative ornaments, flowers, and pictures left by admirers.
What was the name of the hospital Princess Diana died at?
After the fatal car crash in Paris, Princess Diana was taken to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital located in the city’s 13th arrondissement. Despite extensive emergency surgery attempts to save her, Diana succumbed to her internal injuries at around 4 a.m. on the morning of August 31, 1997.
The chief surgeon Dr. Bruno Riou pronounced her death at 3:00 am local time due to hemorrhaging caused by major chest trauma she sustained during the accident. She was 36 years old at the time of her shocking death.