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Diana, Princess of Wales

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"Diana Spencer" and "Princess Diana" redirect here. For other people, see Diana Spencer (disambiguation) and Princess Diana (disambiguation).
Princess of Wales; Duchess of Rothesay (more)
Lady-diana-101757 w1000 (cropped).jpg
The Princess of Wales raising money for cancer research in Chicago, Illinois, June 1996
Born (1961-07-01)1 July 1961
Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, England
Died 31 August 1997(1997-08-31) (aged 36)
Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France
Burial 6 September 1997
Althorp, Northamptonshire, England
Spouse Charles, Prince of Wales
(m. 1981; div. 1996)[1]
Issue Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
Prince Henry of Wales
Full name
Diana Frances[fn 1]
House Spencer (by birth)
Windsor (by marriage)
Father John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer
Mother Frances Shand Kydd
Religion Church of England

Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Frances;[fn 1] née Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997), was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, who is the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II.[2]

Diana was born into a family of British nobility with royal ancestry as The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer. She was the fourth child and third daughter of John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer and The Honourable Frances Shand Kydd. Following her parents' divorce, Diana grew up in Park House, which is situated on the Queen's Sandringham estate, and was educated in England and Switzerland. In 1975, she became Lady Diana Spencer, after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer.

Her wedding to the Prince of Wales on 29 July 1981 was held at St Paul's Cathedral and reached a global television audience of over 750 million. While married, Diana bore the titles Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay and Countess of Chester. The marriage produced two sons, the princes William and Harry, who were then respectively second and third in the line of succession to the British throne. As Princess of Wales, Diana undertook royal duties on behalf of the Queen and represented her at functions overseas. She was celebrated for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. She was involved with dozens of charities, including London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, of which she was president from 1989.

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 extensive after her death in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997 and subsequent televised funeral.

Early life[edit]

Diana Frances Spencer was born on 1 July 1961, in Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk.[3][4][5] She was the fourth of five children of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (1924–1992) and his first wife, Frances (née Roche, and later Shand Kydd; 1936–2004).[3][4][6] The Spencers have been closely allied with the Royal Family for several generations.[7] John and Frances 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 her mother and Diana Russell, Duchess of Bedford, her distant relative who was also known as "Lady Diana Spencer" before marriage and was a prospective Princess of Wales.[4] On 30 August 1961, Diana was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham, by the Clerk of the Closet, Percy Herbert.[8] Her godparents were John Floyd (chairman of Christie's and a friend of her father), Alexander Gilmour (her father's first cousin), Lady Mary Colman (née Bowes-Lyon; niece of the Queen Mother), Sarah Pratt (friend and neighbour of her parents) and Carol Fox (another friend and neighbour of her parents).[9] Diana had three siblings: Sarah, Jane, and Charles.[3][6] Her infant brother, John, had died within hours of his birth a year before Diana was born.[4][6] 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".[4] 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."[8] Diana grew up in Park House, which is located on the Sandringham estate owned by Queen Elizabeth II, and while living there became acquainted with the Queen's youngest sons Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.[6]

Diana was eight years old when her parents divorced,[10] after her mother had an affair with Peter Shand Kydd.[6] In his book, Morton describes Diana's remembrance of Lord Althorp loading suitcases in the car and Lady Althorp crunching across the gravel forecourt and driving away through the gates of Park House.[4] Diana lived with her mother in London during her parents' separation. During Christmas holidays, however, Lord Althorp refused to let Lady Althorp return to London with Diana. Shortly afterwards, Lord Althorp won custody of Diana with support from his former mother-in-law, Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy.[3] She then moved in to her father's ancestral home at Althorp. Diana was first educated at Riddlesworth Hall near Diss, Norfolk, and later attended boarding school at The New School at West Heath,[3] in Sevenoaks, Kent. In 1973, Lord Althorp began a relationship with Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the only daughter of Alexander McCorquodale and Dame Barbara Cartland.[11] Diana became known as Lady Diana Spencer after her father later inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975.[12] Despite her unpopularity with Diana, Lady Dartmouth married Earl Spencer at Caxton Hall, London in 1976.[6] Diana was often noted for her shyness while growing up, but she did take an interest in both music and dancing, training in classical ballet. She also had a great interest in children.

Education and career[edit]

In 1968, Diana was sent to Riddlesworth Hall School, an all-girls boarding school.[13] 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.[13] However, she showed a particular talent for music as an accomplished pianist.[14] Her outstanding community spirit was recognised with an award from West Heath.[14] Her friends and classmates while attending West Heath included the actress Tilda Swinton.[15] In 1977, she left West Heath and briefly attended Institut Alpin Videmanette, a finishing school in Rougemont, Switzerland.[14] At about that time, she became reacquainted with her future husband, who was in a romantic 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 and tap dance throughout her childhood and teenage years, but felt she grew too tall for the profession. After leaving Institut Alpin Videmanette she moved to London. She began working with children, eventually becoming a nursery assistant at the Young England Kindergarten, Pimlico, London.[3]

Diana's first job, at the age of 17, was as a nanny for Alexandra, the daughter of Major Jeremy Whitaker and his wife Philippa (van Straubenzee) at their Land of Nod estate at Headley Down, Hampshire. Philippa's brother, William, was a close friend of Diana's.[16][17]

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 at Coleherne Court in Earls Court was purchased for £100,000[18] as an 18th birthday present from her mother.[14] She lived there with three flatmates until 25 February 1981. In London, she took an advanced cooking course at her mother's suggestion 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, and did some cleaning work for her sister Sarah and Sarah's friends. Diana also spent time working as a nanny for the Robertsons, an American family living in London.[19] Diana was working as a kindergarten assistant at the Young England Kindergarten, Pimlico, when she was recognized in the autumn of 1980 as the new girlfriend of Prince Charles.[3]

Marriage to the Prince of Wales[edit]

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, had previously been linked to Lady Diana's elder sister Lady Sarah, and in his early thirties he was under increasing pressure to marry.

The Prince of Wales had known Lady Diana since her childhood[5] and first took an interest in her as a potential bride in mid-1980, when they were guests at a country weekend where she watched him play polo. The relationship developed as he invited her for a sailing weekend to Cowes aboard the royal yacht Britannia. It was followed by an invitation in November 1980 to Balmoral (the Royal Family's Scottish residence).[20][21] She said, "I've had a lovely weekend," referring to it.[20] Lady Diana was well received by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The couple subsequently courted in London. Prince Charles proposed on 6 February 1981, and Lady Diana accepted, but their engagement was kept secret for the next few weeks while she vacationed in Australia with her mother.[19]

Engagement and wedding[edit]

Charles and Diana's wedding commemorated on a 1981 British Crown

The engagement of Lady Diana and the Prince of Wales became official on 24 February 1981.[22] She selected a large engagement ring consisting of 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-carat white gold, similar to her mother's engagement ring. The ring was made by Crown jewellers Garrard.[23][24][25] Unusually for a royal engagement ring, it was not a custom-made design and was at the time featured in Garrard's jewellery catalogue, which was available to the public. In 2010, the ring became the engagement ring of her daughter-in-law, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge.[26] It was copied by jewellers all over the world.[27]

Following the engagement Diana left her job at the kindergarten and moved to Clarence House, then home of the Queen Mother, for a few days.[18] She lived at Buckingham Palace for most of the pre-wedding period. Her first public appearance with Charles was a poetry reading on 9 March 1981 at Goldsmiths' Hall where she met Princess Grace of Monaco.[18][28]

Twenty-year-old Diana became Princess of Wales when she married the Prince 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 the bride en route to the ceremony.[22][29] She was the first Englishwoman to marry the heir to the throne for 300 years (when Anne Hyde married the future James II from whom Diana was descended).[2]

At the altar, Diana accidentally reversed the order of Charles's first two names, saying "Philip Charles Arthur George" instead.[29] The word "obey" was omitted from the wedding vows at the couple's request, which caused some comment at the time.[30] Diana wore a dress with a 25-foot (7.62-metre) train designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel.[31] Music and songs used during the wedding included the "Prince of Denmark's March", "I Vow to Thee, My Country", "Pomp and Circumstance No.4" and the British National Anthem.[32]

The Prince and Princess of Wales spent the first night of their honeymoon at the Mountbatten family home at Broadlands, Hampshire, before flying to Gibraltar to join HMY Britannia for a 12-day cruise through the Mediterranean to Egypt.[2] They also visited Tunisia, Sardinia and Greece. They finished their honeymoon with a stay at Balmoral.[2]

Princess of Wales[edit]

After becoming Princess of Wales, Diana automatically acquired rank as the third-highest female in the United Kingdom Order of Precedence (after the Queen and the Queen Mother), and as typically fifth or sixth in the orders of precedence of her other realms, following the Queen, the relevant viceroy, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. Within a few years of the wedding, the Queen extended Diana visible tokens of membership in the Royal Family; she lent the Princess a tiara and granted her the badge of the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II.[33]

The Prince and Princess of Wales after the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of York in 1986

After the wedding, the couple made their official residence at Kensington Palace, and their private residence at Highgrove House in Gloucestershire. On 5 November 1981, the Princess's first pregnancy was officially announced, and she frankly discussed her pregnancy with members of the press corps.[34] 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.[35] In the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, on 21 June 1982, under the care of Pinker,[35] the Princess gave birth to her and the Prince's first son and heir, William Arthur Philip Louis.[36] 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.[37] In spring 1983, about nine months after Prince William's birth, the Wales family was able to move into a newly renovated apartment at Kensington Palace.

A second son, Henry Charles Albert David, was born two years after William, on 15 September 1984.[38] 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.[39] Suggestions that Harry's father is not Charles but James Hewitt, with whom Diana had an affair, have been based on some reputed resemblance with Hewitt. However, Harry was born at least two years before the affair between Hewitt and Diana began.[40][41]

Diana wanted her sons to have wider experiences than are usual for royal children. She took them to Walt Disney World and McDonald's as well as AIDS clinics and shelters for the homeless. She bought them typical teenage items, such as video games.[42][43] Even her harshest critics agree that the Princess of Wales was a devoted, imaginative and demonstrative mother.[44] 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.[44]

Royal duties[edit]

Public appearances[edit]

Charles and Diana visit Uluru, Australia, March 1983

The Princess's first tour with Prince Charles was a three-day visit to Wales in October 1981.[45] Her first official solo visit overseas was in September 1982, when she represented her mother-in-law at the state funeral of Grace, Princess of Monaco.[45] In 1983, she accompanied the Prince on a tour of Australia and New Zealand with their son, Prince William.[45]

From June to July 1983, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Canada for the official opening of the World University Games and to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Sir Humphrey Gilbert's landing in Newfoundland.[46] In February 1984, Diana made a solo visit to Norway to attend a performance by the London City Ballet, of which she was patron.[45]

From left to right, the Prince and Princess of Wales (wearing the Travolta dress), the U.S. First Lady Nancy Reagan and U.S. President Ronald Reagan in November 1985

In April 1985, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Italy, and were later joined by their children.[45] They met with President Alessandro Pertini. Their visit to the Holy See included a private audience with Pope John Paul II.[47] In November 1985, the couple visited the United States,[45] meeting President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan at the White House. In 1986, the Prince and Princess embarked on a tour of Japan, Indonesia, Spain and Canada.[46] In Canada, they visited Expo 86.[46]

The Prince and Princess of Wales with Sandro Pertini in 1985

In 1987, Charles and Diana visited Germany.[48] In 1988, they visited Thailand, and toured Australia for the bicentenary celebrations.[45][49] In February 1989, she spent three days in New York as a solo visit.[50] During a tour of Harlem Hospital Center, she made a profound impact on the public by spontaneously hugging a seven-year-old child with AIDS.[50]

The Prince and Princess of Wales with West German President Richard von Weizsäcker and his wife Marianne in Bonn, 2 November 1987

In March 1990, she joined the Prince of Wales to tour Nigeria and Cameroon.[51] The Princess visited children's hospitals, traditional hand-loom weavers and women's development projects.[51] The President of Cameroon later held a state banquet in their honour.[51] In May 1990, they undertook an official visit to Hungary, becoming the first members of the Royal Family to visit a former Warsaw Pact country.[50][52] The couple were welcomed at the airport by President Árpád Göncz.[52] President Göncz later hosted an official dinner to welcome them.[52] During their four-day trip, the Princess viewed a display of British fashion at the Museum of Applied Arts and visited the Pető Institute for handicapped children where on behalf of the Queen she invested the director Dr. Maria Hari with an honorary OBE.[50][53] In November 1990, the couple went to Japan to attend the enthronement of Emperor Akihito.[45][54]

The Princess was determined to play a supportive role during the Gulf War. In December 1990, while Prince Charles visited the troops in the Gulf, she travelled to Germany to visit their families.[50] In January 1991, she returned to Germany, to RAF Bruggen, the base that had sent Tornado fighter-bombers.[50] She also wrote an open letter of encouragement that was published in the service magazines Soldier, Navy News and RAF News.[50] In 1991, the Princess went with the Prince and their children to Canada to present a replica of Queen Victoria's Royal Charter to Queen's University, on the 150th anniversary of the university's founding.[46] In that year, they also visited Brazil. During their tour in Brazil, Diana visited a number of hospitals and agencies that care for abandoned street children.[55] The couple's last joint overseas visits were to India and South Korea in 1992.[45]

The Princess of Wales at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival

In 1992, the Princess made a short visit to Egypt. She was invited to stay at the British Ambassador's villa. During her stay, she met with President Hosni Mubarak.[56] In December 1993, the Princess 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".[45] However, the Princess announced in November 1994 that she would make a partial return to public life.[50] In particular, she was keen to take a leading part in the 125th anniversary celebrations of the Red Cross, of which she was vice-president.[50] She was also invited by the Queen to participate in the anniversary celebrations of D-Day.[50]

In February 1995, the Princess visited Japan.[54][57] She visited the National Children's Hospital and gave the opening line of her speech in Japanese.[57] She had taken a four-week crash course in the language and her phonetically-learned opening phrase delighted the nation.[57] She also made visits to Hodogaya Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery at Yokohama and the Umeda daycare centre for children with learning difficulties.[57] She also made a formal visit to the Emperor and Empress of Japan,[54] and on her last day met Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako.[57] In June 1995, Diana went to Venice to visit the Venice Biennale art festival.[58] In November 1995, she undertook a four-day trip to Argentina and met with President Carlos Menem and his daughter, Zulemita, for lunch.[59][60] The Princess visited many other countries including Switzerland, Belgium, Zimbabwe and Nepal.[45]

She attended Trooping the Colour for the first time in June 1981, making her appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace afterwards. She attended the State Opening of Parliament for the first time on 4 November 1981.[61] After her separation from Prince Charles, she continued to appear with other members of the Royal Family on major national occasions, such as the commemorations of the 50th anniversaries of Victory in Europe Day and Victory over Japan Day in 1995.[45] She spent her 36th and last birthday on 1 July 1997 attending the Tate Gallery's 100th anniversary celebrations.[45] Her last official engagement in Britain was on 21 July, when she visited the children's accident and emergency unit at Northwick Park Hospital, London.[45]

Charity work and patronage[edit]

The Princess 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 with it,"[62] from the mid-1980s, the Princess of Wales became increasingly associated with numerous charities. As Princess of Wales, she was expected to make regular public appearances at hospitals, schools and other facilities, in the 20th century model of royal patronage. She carried out 191 official engagements in 1988[63] and 397 in 1991.[64] The Princess developed an intense interest in serious illnesses and health-related matters outside the purview of traditional royal involvement, including AIDS and leprosy.

She did a lot of charity works, visiting terminally ill people over the world, leading campaigns for animal protection, AIDS awareness and against the use of inhumane weapons.[65] 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. From 1991-1996, she was a patron of Headway, the brain injury association.[66][67] She was also patron of Natural History Museum[68] and president of Royal Academy of Music.[69] From 1984 to 1996, she was president of Barnardo's, a charity founded by Dr. Thomas John Barnado in 1866 to care for vulnerable children and young people, and attended over 110 events for it, including 16 in one year and three in one week.[70] The emphasis on children's charities that she had initially focused upon continued as a strong element of her public work. In 1988, she became patron of the youth branch of the British Red Cross and she extended her involvement to the same organisations in Australia and Canada.[50] The Princess of Wales was also a supporter of Chester Childbirth Appeal, one of the first charities in the country to support the maternity services within an NHS hospital.[71] Its district general hospital was opened by Diana in 1984 and took its name "The Countess of Chester" from her title as the Earl of Chester's wife.[71] Diana became the charity's first patron in 1992 and inspired them to raise over £1 million.[71]

Her patronages also included Landmine Survivors Network, Help the Aged, the Trust for Sick Children in Wales, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, the British Lung Foundation, the National AIDS Trust, Eureka!, the National Children's Orchestra, Royal Brompton Hospital, Relate, the Guinness Trust, Meningitis Trust, Dove House, the Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund for Children, the Royal School for the Blind, Welsh National Opera, the Pre-School Playgroups Association, the Variety Club of New Zealand, Birthright and the British Deaf Association, for which she learned sign language.[50][72][73][74][75][76][77][78]

In February 1992, the Princess visited Mother Teresa's Hospice for the Sick and Dying in Kolkata, India, and visited every one of the 50 patients who were close to death. In Rome shortly afterwards, and later in London, she met Mother Teresa and the two formed a strong personal connection.[72]

The Princess of Wales with Alexander Yakovlev at the International Leonardo Prize in 1995

In June 1995, the Princess made a brief visit to Moscow, where she visited a children's hospital that she had previously supported through her charity work. Diana presented the hospital with medical equipment. During her time in the Russian capital, she was awarded the International Leonardo Prize, which is given to the most distinguished patrons and people in the arts, medicine and sports.[65] In December 1995, Diana joined an honour roll including former US presidents, New York governors and other powerful figures in receiving the United Cerebral Palsy Humanitarian of the Year Award in New York City from the former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger for her continued support of several philanthropic organizations.[79][80][81] The Princess shared the dais with Gen. Colin Powell, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[81] In October 1996, for her works on the elderly, the Princess received a humanitarian award from the Pio Manzù Centre, a nongovernmental organisation in general consultative status with the United Nations which has been operating to enhance awareness of economic and scientific issues of crucial interest.[82][83] The gold medal was awarded to the Princess at the Pio Manzù Centre's health care conference in Rimini, Italy.[82] The Princess was presented with her award by the centre's vice president, Professor Giandomenico Picco, standing in for its president, the former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev.[82]

Following her divorce, she remained patron of Centrepoint, English National Ballet, Leprosy Mission and National AIDS Trust, and president of Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Royal Marsden Hospital.[84] The day after her divorce, she announced her resignation from over 100 charities to spend more time with the remaining six.[85] In addition, the Princess was closely associated at the time of her death with The British Red Cross Anti-Personnel Land Mines Campaign (technically, Diana's official patronage of the Land Mines Campaign ended in 1996, but it remained one of her most active causes in the last year of her life).[86]

In May 1997, the Princess opened the Richard Attenborough Centre for Disability and the Arts in Leicester, after being asked by her friend Richard Attenborough.[87][88] In June 1997, she attended receptions at Christie's auction houses in London and in New York prior to the sale of her dresses and suits, with the proceeds going to charity.[45]

Areas of work[edit]


In November 1989, the Princess visited a leprosy hospital in Indonesia and touched the bandaged wounds of patients.[89][90] After that, she became patron of the Leprosy Mission, an organization dedicated to providing medicine, treatment, and other support services to those who are afflicted with the disease. She remained the patron of this charity after her divorce and until her death in 1997.[85] As patron of the mission, Diana visited its hospitals and projects in India, Nepal and Zimbabwe.[91] Diana made huge strides in tackling the stigma surrounding leprosy by touching those affected by the disease. In 1990, during a joint tour with Prince Charles to Nigeria, she visited both a leper hospital and a leper colony.[50] She said of the disease: "It has always been my concern to touch people with leprosy, trying to show in a simple action that they are not reviled, nor are we repulsed."[91] The Diana Princess of Wales Health Education and Media Centre was opened in Noida, just outside New Delhi in India, in November 1999. Established by a grant from the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, its purpose is to promote the rights, dignity and inclusion of people affected by leprosy and disability into Indian society.[91]


The Princess was famously the first member of the Royal Family to have contact with AIDS victims and helped to break down global misconceptions about the disease.[90] In 1987, she held hands with an AIDS patient.[92] In July 1989, she opened the Landmark Aids Centre in south-east London.[93][94] She gave director Jonathan Grimshaw — diagnosed HIV positive — a firm handshake before going inside the Landmark Centre in Tulse Hill for a private tour.[93] This was the first attempt to de-stigmatise the condition by a high profile member of the Royal Family.[93] In the late 1980s, when many people believed it could be contracted through casual contact, she sat on the bed of a victim and held his hand.[72][95][96] When asked about her work, Diana simply replied: "HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it. What's more, you can share their homes, their workplaces, and their playgrounds and toys."[50][97] However, the Queen disapproved of Diana's visiting people with HIV and leprosy and told her to do "something more pleasant" with her charity work.[90] In October 1990, Diana opened Grandma's House, a home for children infected with HIV in Washington, DC.[98] In 1991, she traveled to São Paulo to comfort abandoned children living with AIDS in a local shelter. It was here that she was photographed holding a baby with the disease. In the same year she became patron of the National AIDS Trust and while on a highly public visit with the wife of the American President, Barbara Bush, to the AIDS ward of the Middlesex Hospital, she hugged one patient.[50] As the patron of Turning Point, a health and social care organization, Diana visited its project in London for people with HIV/AIDS in 1992.[99]

In March 1997, Diana visited South Africa. She met with President Nelson Mandela to discuss the growing threat of AIDS.[100][101] On 2 November 2002, five years after Diana's death, Mandela announced that the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund were launching a joint offensive to combat AIDS in South Africa.[102] The former South African president said they would try to improve care and support for more than 660,000 youngsters orphaned by country's AIDS crisis and families living with the HIV.[102] He and Diana planned a joint offensive at a meeting five months before her death in August 1997.[102] "When she stroked the limbs of someone with leprosy or sat on the bed of a man with HIV/AIDS and held his hand, she transformed public attitudes and improved the life chances of such people," Mandela said about the late Princess at a dinner in London.[103] Diana had used her celebrity status to "fight stigma attached to people living with HIV/AIDS", Mandela said.[102]


Diana, Princess of Wales, chatting with Hillary Clinton, 18 June 1997

Diana was the patron of HALO Trust, the world's oldest and largest landmine clearance organization.[104][105] In January 1997, pictures of Diana touring an Angolan minefield in a ballistic helmet and flak jacket were seen worldwide.[104][105] It was during this campaign that some accused her of meddling in politics and declared her a 'loose cannon'.[106] However, her efforts helped raise international awareness about the suffering caused by landmines, and the two towns she visited in 1997 have since been completely cleared and are now home to two bustling cities, according to HALO.[104][105] 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).[84] From 7 to 10 August 1997, just days before her death, she visited Bosnia and Herzegovina with Jerry White and Ken Rutherford of the Landmine Survivors Network to visit landmine projects in Travnic, Sarajevo and Zenezica.[84][107][108] 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.[109] 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.[110]

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".[111] The campaign won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, only a few months after Diana's death.[112]


Diana was a long-standing and active supporter of Centrepoint, a charity which provides accommodation and support to homeless people, and became patron herself in 1992.[113][114] She supported organisations that battled poverty and homelessness. She spoke out on behalf of young homeless people and said they deserve a decent start in life.[115] "We, as a part of society, must ensure that young people – who are our future – are given the chance they deserve," she said at a meeting of Centrepoint.[115] As children, Princes William and Harry made private visits to Centrepoint services with their mother.[113] Keeping Diana's work alive, Prince William plays an active role in all aspects of Centrepoint.[113]


Diana was often seen visiting children afflicted with cancer or battling debilitating diseases requiring surgery.[96] The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, a London hospital specialising in the treatment of cancer, was visited by Diana on her first solo official trip as a young bride and was one of the organisations which benefited from the auction of her clothes in New York.[78] The trust's communications manager said the Princess had done much to remove the stigma and taboo associated with diseases such as cancer, AIDS, HIV and leprosy.[78] Diana became president of the hospital on 27 June 1989.[116][117] She famously watched a heart operation at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex in 1996.[118] In June 1996, she visited Chicago, as president of the Royal Marsden Hospital. She raised more than £1 million for cancer research by attending one luncheon and a dinner.[50]

Children with Leukaemia (currently Children with Cancer UK) was inaugurated in 1988 by the Princess of Wales in memory of Jean and Paul O'Gorman.[119][120] The O'Gorman family was shattered when brother and sister, Paul and Jean, fell victim to cancer within nine months of each other. In November 1987, just days after Jean's death, the O'Gorman family met Diana.[119][120] Deeply moved by the double tragedy, Diana personally helped the O'Gorman family to start the charity.[119][120] She inaugurated the charity on 12 January 1988 at Mill Hill Secondary School.[119] Diana continued to support the charity until her death in 1997.[119]

Mental illness and drug abuse[edit]

Diana's work for unfashionable causes was exemplified by her patronage of Relate and Turning Point.[50] Relate was launched in 1987 as an updated version of the National Marriage Guidance Council. The Princess became patron in 1989.[50] Turning Point was founded in 1964 to provide day care and counselling for people suffering from drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness. The Princess became the charity's patron in 1987.[50] She thereafter made many visits for the charity, whether to centres looking after sufferers, or to institutions such as Rampton and Broadmoor.[50]

In a speech for Turning Point in 1990 she said: "It takes professionalism to convince a doubting public that it should accept back into its midst many of those diagnosed as psychotics, neurotics and other sufferers who Victorian communities decided should be kept out of sight in the safety of mental institutions."[50] Her commitment to working against drug abuse was a prime motive for her trip to Pakistan that year. The protocol problems of visiting the Muslim country did not stop her visiting a rehabilitation centre in Lahore.[50]

Problems and separation[edit]

Within five years, the couple's incompatibility and age difference (almost 13 years),[121] as well as Diana's concern about Charles's previous girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles,[122] became visible and damaging to their marriage. Beginning in the late 1980s the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales fell apart, an event sensationalised by the world media. Both the Princess and Prince allegedly spoke to the press through friends, each blaming the other for the marriage's demise.

The chronology of the break-up[123] identifies reported difficulties between the Prince and Princess as early as 1985. The Prince of Wales resumed his affair with his married former girlfriend, Camilla (Shand) Parker Bowles; later, the Princess of Wales began a relationship with Major James Hewitt. These affairs were exposed in May 1992 with the publication of Diana: Her True Story, by Andrew Morton. It was serialised in The Sunday Times before its publication.[124] The book, which also laid bare the Princess'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. The tape recordings between the Princess and James Gilbey were made available by The Sun newspaper's hotline in August 1992.[125] The transcripts of taped intimate conversations were also published by the Sun newspaper in Britain in August 1992. The article's title, "Squidgygate", referenced Gilbey's affectionate nickname for Diana. The next to surface, in November 1992, were the leaked "Camillagate" tapes, intimate exchanges between the Prince of Wales and Camilla, published in Today and the Mirror newspapers.[126]

In the meantime, rumours had begun to surface about the Princess of Wales's relationship with Hewitt, her and her children's former riding instructor. These would be brought into the open by the publication in 1994 of Princess in Love, which later was filmed with the same title by David Greene in 1996.[127] The Princess of Wales was portrayed by Julie Cox, whereas James Hewitt was portrayed by Christopher Villiers in the movie.[127]

Diana stated that she had depression and that she self-harmed. She said she had bulimia nervosa from 1981 onwards.[128] Sally Bedell Smith in her book of 1999, Diana in Search of Herself, suggested Diana suffered from borderline personality disorder.[129] 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."[130] 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 ..."[130]

In December 1992, Prime Minister John Major announced the Waleses' "amicable separation" to the House of Commons,[131] 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.[132]

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".[133][134]

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.[135] 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".[136]


Diana, Princess of Wales (far left) with Muhammad Iqbal Gujjar and Jemima Khan, wife of Imran Khan, in Pakistan in 1996

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.[137] 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's 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."[138]

On 20 December 1995, Buckingham Palace publicly announced the Queen had sent letters to the Prince and Princess of Wales advising them to divorce.[139][140] 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.[141] Prince Charles formally agreed to divorce in a written statement soon after.[139] In February 1996, the Princess announced her agreement after negotiations with the Prince and representatives of the Queen,[142] irritating Buckingham Palace by issuing her own announcement of a divorce agreement and its terms.

This was shortly after the Princess approached Tiggy Legge-Bourke with her suspicions that she had aborted the Prince's child, after which Legge-Bourke instructed Peter Carter-Ruck to demand an apology.[143] 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".[144]

The divorce was finalised on 28 August 1996.[132] Diana received a lump sum settlement of around £17 million along with a clause standard in royal divorces preventing her from discussing the details.[145]

Days before the decree absolute of divorce, Letters Patent were issued with general rules to regulate royal titles after divorce. In accordance, as she was no longer married to the Prince of Wales, Diana lost the style Her Royal Highness and instead was styled Diana, Princess of Wales.[fn 2] As the mother of the prince expected to one day ascend the thrones, she was accorded the same precedence she enjoyed during her marriage.[146] Prince William was reported to have reassured his mother: "Don't worry, Mummy, I will give it back to you one day when I am King."[147] 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." She is said to have replied: "My title is a lot older than yours, Philip."[148] Diana and her mother quarrelled in May 1997 after she told Hello! magazine that Diana was happy to lose her title of Her Royal Highness following her controversial divorce from Prince Charles. She was reportedly not on speaking terms with her mother by the time of her own death.[149]

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."[150] This appears to have been confirmed in the High Court judicial review matter of Al Fayed & Ors v Butler-Sloss.[151] In that case, three High Court judges accepted submissions that "the very name 'Coroner to the Queen's Household' gave the appearance of partiality in the context of inquests into the deaths of two people, one of whom was a member of the Royal Family and the other was not."[151]

Personal life after divorce[edit]

Diana, Princess of Wales, meeting with Sri Chinmoy at her Kensington Palace apartments in May 1997

After the divorce, Diana retained her double apartment on the north side of Kensington Palace, which she had shared with the Prince of Wales since the first year of their marriage, and it remained her home until her death. She also continued to use two offices at St James's Palace.[152]

Diana dated the respected British-Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, who was called "the love of her life" after her death by many of her closest friends.[153] 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.[154] Khan was intensely private and the relationship was conducted in secrecy, with Diana lying to members of the press who questioned her about it. Their relationship lasted almost two years with differing accounts of who ended it.[155][156][157] According to Khan's testimonial at the inquest for her death, it was Diana who ended their relationship in a late-night meeting in Hyde Park, which adjoins the grounds of Kensington Palace, in June 1997.

Within a month Diana had begun seeing Dodi Fayed, son of her host that summer, Mohamed Al-Fayed.[1] 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 multimillion-pound yacht, the Jonikal, a 60-metre yacht on which to entertain Diana and her sons.[1][158][159][160] Tina Brown claims in her 2007 book that Diana had a romantic relationship with Dodi Fayed to anger the royal family, with no intention of marrying him.[161]


East entrance to the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris[162]

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. Bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones was the only survivor.

Diana's funeral saw the British television audience peak at 32.10 million, one of the United Kingdom's highest viewing figures ever, while millions of people also watched the event around the world.[163][164]

Conspiracy theories, inquest and verdict[edit]

The initial French judicial investigation concluded the accident was caused by Henri Paul's drunken loss of control.[165] In February 1998, Mohamed Al-Fayed, owner of the Paris Ritz, for whom Paul had worked, publicly maintained that the crash had been planned,[166] accusing MI6 as well as the Duke of Edinburgh.[167] An inquest in London starting in 2004 and continued in 2007–08[168] attributed the accident to grossly negligent driving by Henri Paul and to the pursuing paparazzi.[169] 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.[170]

Tribute, funeral and burial[edit]

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.[171] People left public offerings of flowers, candles, cards and personal messages outside Kensington Palace for many months. Her coffin, draped with royal flag, was brought to London from Paris by Prince Charles and her two sisters on 31 August 1997.[172][173] After being taken to a private mortuary it was put at the Chapel Royal, St. James's Palace.[172]

Diana's funeral took place in Westminster Abbey on 6 September. The previous day Queen Elizabeth II had paid tribute to her in a live television broadcast.[174] 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. Representatives from the charities with which she worked during her life were invited to walk behind her coffin.[45] 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."[175] Re-written in tribute to Diana, "Candle in the Wind" was performed by Elton John at the funeral service (the only occasion the song has ever been performed live), while the global proceeds from the subsequent sale of the song have gone to Diana's charities.[176][177]

Aerial view of Althorp. Diana is buried on the small island in the middle of the ornamental Round Oval lake

The burial occurred privately later the same day. Diana's former husband, sons, mother, siblings, a close friend, and a clergyman were present. Diana's body was clothed in a black long-sleeved dress designed by Catherine Walker. A set of rosary beads was placed in her hands, a gift she had received from Mother Teresa, who died the same week as Diana. Her grave is on an island (52°16′59″N 1°00′01″W / 52.283082°N 1.000278°W / 52.283082; -1.000278) within the grounds of Althorp Park, the Spencer family home for centuries.[178]

The burial party was provided by the 2nd Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, who were given the honour of carrying the Princess across to the island and lay her to rest. Diana was the Regiment's Colonel-in-Chief from 1992 to 1996. The original plan was for Diana to be buried in the Spencer family vault at the local church in nearby Great Brington, but Lord Spencer said that he was concerned about public safety and security and the onslaught of visitors that might overwhelm Great Brington. He decided that Diana would be buried where her grave could be easily cared for and visited in privacy by William, Harry, and other Spencer relatives.[179]

Later events[edit]

On 13 July 2006, Italian magazine Chi published photographs showing Diana amid the wreckage of the car crash,[180] despite an unofficial blackout on such photographs being published.[181][fn 3] The editor of Chi defended his decision by saying he published the photographs simply because they had not been previously seen, and he felt the images are not disrespectful to the memory of Diana.[181]

The Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium in London was held on 1 July 2007, and featured many of the world's most famous entertainers and singers.[182] 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.[182][183] Proceeds from the concert went to Diana's charities, as well as to charities of which William and Harry are patrons.[184]

On 31 August 2007, a memorial service for Diana took place in the Guards Chapel.[185] Guests included the Queen, the Prince of Wales, and other members of the royal family and their relatives, members of the Spencer family, bridesmaids and pageboys from Diana's wedding to the Prince of Wales, then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and John Major, Diana's close friends and aides, 110 representatives from charities and other organisations associated with the Princess and notable figures such as Elton John, Cliff Richard, Mario Testino, Richard Attenborough and David Frost.[74]

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.[186] 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.[187]

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.[188]

On 19 March 2013, ten of Diana's dresses, including a midnight blue velvet gown she wore to a 1985 state dinner at the White House when she famously danced with John Travolta (which became known as the Travolta dress), raised over £800,000 at auction in London.[189]


The Princess of Wales and John Travolta dancing at the White House, November 1985

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"[190] (although other sources split this title between her and Grace Kelly). She was noted for her compassion,[191] style, charisma and high-profile charity work, as well as her difficult marriage to the Prince of Wales. Her peak popularity rate in the United Kingdom between 1981 and 2012 was 47%.[192]

A fashion icon whose style was emulated by women around the world, Iain Hollingshead of The Telegraph writes: "[Diana] had an ability to sell clothes just by looking at them."[193][194] An early example of the effect occurred during her courtship with Charles in 1980 when sales of Hunters Wellington boots skyrocketed after she was pictured wearing a pair on the Balmoral estate.[193][195]

In 1999, TIME named Diana one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.[196] In 2002, Diana was ranked 3rd on the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, outranking The Queen and other British monarchs.[197]

In February 2013, OCAD University in Toronto, Canada, announced that its new arts center would be named after her, Princess of Wales Visual Arts Centre, a 25,000 square foot facility.[198] Princess Diana Drive was named in her memory in Trenton, New Jersey, United States, 08638-3803.[199] Her granddaughter, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, is named after her.[200][201][202]


Round Oval lake at Althorp with the Diana memorial beyond
Memorial in Harrods Department Store to Diana and Dodi Fayed

Immediately after her death, many sites around the world became 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 Flame of Liberty, erected in 1989 on the Place de l'Alma in Paris above the entrance to the tunnel in which the fatal crash occurred, has become an unofficial memorial to Diana.[203] In addition, there are two memorials inside Harrods department store, commissioned by Dodi Fayed's father, who owned Harrods from 1985 to 2010. The first memorial is a pyramid-shaped display containing photos of the princess and al-Fayed's son, a wine glass said to be from their last dinner, and a ring purchased by Dodi the day prior to the crash. The second, Innocent Victims, unveiled in 2005, is a bronze statue of Fayed dancing with Diana on a beach beneath the wings of an albatross.[204]


Tribute to Diana on 1998 Azerbaijan postage stamps

Following Diana's death, the Diana Memorial Fund was granted intellectual property rights over her image.[205] 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.[206][207][208] 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.[206][207][208] 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.[209]

In 1998, Azermarka issued postage stamps commemorating Diana in Azerbaijan. The English text on souvenir sheets issued reads "DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES The Princess that captured people's hearts (1961–1997)".[210] HayPost also issued a postage stamp commemorating Diana in Armenia in the same year.[211]

Diana in contemporary art[edit]

Diana has been depicted in contemporary art before and after her death. The first biopics about Diana and Charles were Charles and Diana: A Royal Love Story and The Royal Romance of Charles and Diana that were broadcast on American TV channels on 17 and 20 September 1981, respectively.[212] In December 1992, ABC aired Charles and Diana: Unhappily Ever After, a TV movie about marital discord between Diana and Charles.[213] In the 1990s, British magazine Private Eye called her "Cheryl" and Prince Charles "Brian".[214] Some of the artworks after her death have referenced the conspiracy theories, as well as paying tribute to Diana's compassion and acknowledging her perceived victimhood.

In July 1999, Tracey Emin created a number of monoprint drawings featuring textual references about Diana's public and private life, for Temple of Diana, a themed exhibition at The Blue Gallery, London. Works such as They Wanted You To Be Destroyed (1999)[215] 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."[216]

In 2005, Martín Sastre premiered during the Venice Biennale the film Diana: The Rose Conspiracy. This fictional work starts with the world discovering Diana alive and enjoying a happy undercover new life in a dangerous cantegril on the outskirts of Montevideo. Shot on a genuine Uruguayan slum and using a Diana impersonator from São Paulo, the film was selected among the Venice Biennial's best works by the Italian Art Critics Association.[217][218][219]

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.[220] Vine intended to portray Diana's combined strength and vulnerability as well as her closeness to her two sons.[221] 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".[222] Immodesty Blaize said she had been entranced by Diana crash, finding it "by turns horrifying, bemusing and funny".[223] Vine asserted her own abiding attraction to "the beauty and the tragedy of Diana's life".[221]

Titles, styles, honours and arms[edit]

Titles and styles[edit]

  • 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 one that she never held.[fn 4] However, she is still sometimes referred to in the media as "Lady Diana Spencer", or simply as "Lady Di". In a speech after her death, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair referred to Diana as the "People's Princess".[224]


See also List of honours of the British Royal Family by country

Foreign honours

Honorary military appointments[edit]

The Princess of Wales held the following military appointments:

Australia Australia
Canada Canada
United Kingdom United Kingdom

Following her divorce, the Princess relinquished all her service appointments with military units.[45]


Arms of Diana, Princess of Wales
Coat of Arms of Diana, Princess of Wales (1981-1996).svg
Coat of Arms of Diana, Princess of Wales (1996-1997).svg
During her marriage, as the wife of the Prince of Wales, Diana used his arms impaled (side by side) with those of her father. After her divorce, she resumed her paternal arms with the addition of a royal coronet.[230]
Coronet of the Prince of Wales
Quarterly 1st and 4th gules three lions passant guardant in pale or armed and langed azure 2nd or a lion rampant gules armed and langued azure within a double tressure flory counterflory of the second 3rd azure a harp or stringed argent (the Royal Arms of the United Kingdom), the whole difference with a label of three points Argent; with an inescutcheon of four lions passant guardant, in gold and red, counterchanged, surmounted by the coronet of the heir (for the Principality of Wales); impaled with a shield quarterly 1st and 4th Argent 2nd and 3rd Gules a fret Or overall a bend Sable charged with three escallops Argent.
Dexter a lion rampant gardant Or crowned with the coronet of the Prince of Wales Proper, sinister a griffin winged and unguled Or, gorged with a coronet Or composed of crosses patée and fleurs de lis a chain affixed thereto passing between the forelegs and reflexed over the back also Or
(French: God defends the right)
Coat of Arms of Lady Diana Spencer.svg
Prior to marriage, Diana had her own coat of arms, based on a very old coat of arms of the Spencer family, which she inherited from her paternal ancestors. The Spencers were granted a coat of arms in 1504 (Azure a fess Ermine between 6 sea-mews' heads erased Argent) which bears no resemblance to that used by the family after c. 1595, which was derived from the Despencer arms. Writer J.H. Round argued that the Despencer descent was fabricated by Richard Lee, a corrupt Clarencieux King of Arms.[231]
Previous versions
Before her marriage, Diana used the arms of her father. Her previous coat of arms depicted a lozenge shaped shield of arms which hangs from a blue ribbon, this symbolised her unmarried state. It included three escallops argent of the Spencer coat of arms. This version of the coat of arms was used only before her marriage and was also applied by her sisters.


Name Birth Marriage Issue
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge 21 June 1982 29 April 2011 Catherine Middleton Prince George of Cambridge
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge
Prince Harry 15 September 1984


Diana was of English and remote German, Irish, Scottish and British-American descent.[232] She was born into the British noble Spencer family, different branches of which currently hold the titles of Duke of Marlborough, Earl Spencer, Earls of Sunderland and Viscount Churchill.[233][234][235] The Spencers claimed descent from a cadet branch of the powerful medieval Despenser family, but its validity is still being questioned.[233] 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.[236][237] Diana's distant noble ancestors included John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and Prince of Mindelheim and his wife Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough.[238] Through her grandmother, Lady Cynthia Hamilton, Diana was a distant relative of the Dukes of Abercorn.[239] She was also a distant relative of the dukes of Bedford, Richmond, Devonshire, Gordon and many members of the British titled aristocracy.

Diana's American roots came from her great-grandmother Frances Ellen Work, daughter of wealthy American stockbroker Franklin H. Work from Ohio, who was married to her great-grandfather James Roche, 3rd Baron Fermoy.[240]

Diana's fourth great-grandmother in her direct maternal line, Eliza Kewark, whose daughter was fathered by Theodore Forbes, is variously described in contemporary documents as "a dark-skinned native woman", "an Armenian woman from Bombay" and "Mrs. Forbesian".[232] Genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner assumed she was Armenian.[241] In June 2013, BritainsDNA announced that genealogical DNA tests on two of Diana's distant cousins in the same direct maternal line confirm that Eliza Kewark was of Indian descent, via her direct maternal line.[242][243][244][245][246]

Diana's ancestry also connected her with most of Europe's royal houses. Diana was 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 shared with the current Dukes of Alba.[247][248][249] From the House of Stuart, Diana was 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 and Prince Charles were sixteenth cousins through Henry VII of England.[250] Diana was also a descendant of powerful Italian noble families such as that of the House of Sforza who ruled as the Dukes of Milan from the line of Caterina Sforza, Countess of Forlì.[251][252][253]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b As a titled royal, Diana used no surname, but, when one was used while she was married, it was Mountbatten-Windsor. According to letters patent dated February 1960, their official family name was Windsor.
  2. ^ Although it was asserted in 1996 that Diana would after the divorce be called "Lady Diana, Princess of Wales", the Royal website in reporting her demise referred to her as "Diana, Princess of Wales".
  3. ^ The photographs, taken minutes after the accident, show her slumped in the back seat while a paramedic attempts to fit an oxygen mask over her face.
  4. ^ The style "Princess Diana", although often used by the public and the media during her lifetime, was always incorrect. With rare exceptions by permission of the Sovereign (such as Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester), only women born to the title (such as The Princess Anne) may use it before their given names. After her divorce in 1996, Diana was officially styled Diana, Princess of Wales, having lost the prefix "HRH"


  1. ^ a b c "The Life of Diana, Princess of Wales 1961–1997: Separation And Divorce". BBC. Retrieved 10 May 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Diana, Princess of Wales – Marriage and family". The British Monarchy. Retrieved 23 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "Princess Diana Biography". The Biography Channel. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Morton, p. 99
  5. ^ a b Glass, Robert (24 July 1981). "Descendant of 4 Kings charms her Prince". Daily Times (London). Associated Press. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Princess Diana: The Early Years". British Royals. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
  7. ^ Matten, p. 4
  8. ^ a b Morton, p. 100
  9. ^ "FAQ about Diana, Princess of Wales". Yvonne's Royalty Home Page. Retrieved 24 April 2015. 
  10. ^ Morton p. 98
  11. ^ "Raine Spencer: Friend not foe". The Independent (London). 15 December 2007. Retrieved 21 May 2011. 
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Cited bibliography[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]