Biography of Princess Diana

Biography of Princess Diana
The late Princess Diana was born on July 1, 1961 at Sandringham, England. She was renowned for her charismatic personality and benevolent work.
Historyplex Staff
Last Updated: May 31, 2018
People's Princess, that's what they called her. Diana Frances Spencer became Lady Diana Spencer after her father John Spencer became 8th Earl Spencer in the year 1975. In her brief 36 years of life, she conquered the hearts of millions through her shy smile and charitable work. The British public simply adored her and still remember her fondly.


Name: Diana, Princess of Wales
Date of Birth: July 01, 1961
Place of Birth: Sandringham, UK
Spouse: Prince Charles (1981-1996)
Father: John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer
Mother: Frances Shand Kydd
Children: Prince William and Prince Harry
Died: 31 August, 1997


Early Years

Diana was born into the Spencer family which is Britain's one of the oldest and powerful families. The Spencers have been familiar with the royal family since generations. She was the fourth child of John and Frances Spencer née Roche. Their third child, a baby boy, died just after 10 hours of being born. The death of a child devastated her parents and strained their relationship. While growing up, Diana saw the gradual demise of her parent's marriage which was on the rocks because of her mother's rather public affair with a wallpaper fortune heir, Peter Shand Kydd. In 1969, her parents were legally divorced and the same year, her mother remarried.
Diana became the subject of a bitter custody battle between her parents which her father subsequently won. Though shy, she was considered beautiful even in her teens. Her academic achievements were not impressive but she made up for it through her interest in music and ballet. After completing her education from Institut Alpin Videmanette, a finishing school, she came back to London where she met her future husband who was then dating her elder sister, Sarah.
Royal Marriage

Prince Charles and Diana had a whirlwind romance. At that time, Prince Charles was in his early thirties and was expected to find a suitable match for himself soon. This tall and shy beauty caught his eye and the royal courtship began. In 1981, Diana became engaged to Prince Charles who was 13 years senior to her. After the news about their engagement became public, she immediately came under the constant scrutiny of the media.
She was regarded as the blue-eyed darling of the common people. Over one billion tuned in to watch the royal wedding on their television sets in 1981 when at the age of 20, Diana officially became the Princess of Wales. In June, 1982, she gave birth to her son, William. Two years later, the royal couple became the proud parents of a second son, Harry. In the next few years, she gained immense popularity not only in Britain, but also across the world. She achieved the status of an enigmatic public icon and was undoubtedly the most photographed woman in the world.
Marital Problems

Sadly, her fairytale was short-lived as her marriage was going through rough patches mostly because of Prince Charles's romantic association with his ex-lover Camilla Parker Bowles (who was married to Andrew Parker Bowles during that time). Diana was famously quoted as saying "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded" in a BBC interview.
Dealing with her husband's affair marred her emotionally. She was reported to be suffering from bulimia, an eating disorder. In the 1990s, this broken royal marriage became an open secret. Intimate phone conversation of Prince Charles and Camilla Parker came into the limelight, thus further embarrassing the royal family. The press was quick to dub this scandal as Camillagate. All this added fuel to the fire and the couple sought divorce in 1992. However, the media and tabloids left no stones unturned to sniff out her shares of romantic escapades. She was allegedly linked with James Hewitt (horse riding instructor), Barry Mannakee (bodyguard) and her close friend, James Gilbey. Her phone conversation with Gilbey was tapped and later was called Squidgygate tapes (Gilbey called her Squidgy during the conversation).
Charities

Despite living a high-profile and constantly scrutinized life, Diana was a humble person and compassionate towards several causes. She generously donated to various charitable organizations and was quite vocal in encouraging their causes. Her most acknowledged accomplishment is towards AIDS awareness. During the 80s, AIDS victims still suffered from social stigma. Diana was one of the first few celebrities who was seen publicly meeting and touching the AIDS patients. She brought this fatal disease into public attention and was successful in changing people's mindset about it. She rightly said, " HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them hug heaven knows they need it".
Though she was a part of the British royal family and was expected to behave aristocratically, her kind nature and demeanor was the biggest appeal of her personality. Her work with NGOs brought about a positive change in public perception regarding social and political issues like usage of landmines, treatment of leprosy patients, etc. She also volunteered to help kids who were afflicted with cancer and other complicated diseases. By being a public icon and championing for such causes, she was credited for influencing governments and public alike.
End of Her Life

On 31 August, 1997, Diana met with a fatal accident while traveling in a Mercedes-Benz car with her companion Dodi Fayed at Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris. The auto accident killed Dodi Al-Fayed and chauffeur, Henri Paul on the spot. Diana was taken to a hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. Her bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was the sole survivor of the accident. As the news of her death broke out, billions of people expressed their grief and mourned for their beloved princess.
There were some controversy theories concerning the cause of the automobile accident. While Mohamed Al-Fayed, Dodi's father and an Egyptian Businessman, maintained that the unfortunate accident was the result of a conspiracy by British royal family, the ensuing investigation done by French police put the blame on Henri Paul, the person driving the car. The role of the paparazzi (which were doggedly chasing the car for exclusive pictures of the couple) in the accident was also questioned during the formal police investigation.
Though Princess Diana is no more amongst us, she is lovingly remembered for her benevolent work and her charming beauty. Even more than a decade after her death, her legacy as a People's Princess and philanthropist lives on.