Diana was born into the Spencer family, a family of British nobility with royal ancestry and was the youngest daughter of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, and Frances Roche. She grew up in Park House, situated on the Sandringham estate, and was educated in England and Switzerland. In 1975—after her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer—she became known as Lady Diana Spencer. She came to prominence in February 1981 when her engagement to Prince Charles was announced to the world.
Diana's wedding to the Prince of Wales took place at St Paul's Cathedral on 29 July 1981 and reached a global television audience of over 750 million people. During her marriage, Diana was 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 a Paris tunnel on 31 August 1997 and subsequent televised funeral.
Diana Frances Spencer was born on 1 July 1961, in Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk. She was the fourth of five children of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (1924–1992), and his first wife, Frances (née Roche; 1936–2004). The Spencer family has been closely allied with the British royal family for several generations. Both of Diana's grandmothers had served as ladies-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The Spencers were hoping for a boy to carry on the family line, and no name was chosen for a week, until they settled on Diana Frances, after her mother and after Lady Diana Spencer, a many-times-great-aunt who was also a prospective Princess of Wales.
On 30 August 1961, Diana was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham. She had three siblings: Sarah, Jane, and Charles. Her infant brother, John, died shortly after his birth one year before Diana was born. The desire for an heir added strain to the Spencers' marriage, and Lady Althorp was reportedly sent to Harley Street clinics in London to determine the cause of the "problem". The experience was described as "humiliating" by Diana's younger brother, Charles: "It was a dreadful time for my parents and probably the root of their divorce because I don't think they ever got over it." Diana grew up in Park House, situated on the Sandringham estate. The Spencers leased the house from its owner, Queen Elizabeth II. The Royal Family frequently holidayed at the neighbouring Sandringham House, and Diana played with Princes Andrew and Edward as a child.
Diana was seven years old when her parents divorced. Her mother later began a relationship with Peter Shand Kydd and married him in 1969. Diana lived with her mother in London during her parents' separation in 1967, but during that year's Christmas holidays, Lord Althorp refused to let Diana return to London with Lady Althorp. Shortly afterwards he won custody of Diana with support from his former mother-in-law, Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy. In 1972, Lord Althorp began a relationship with Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the only daughter of Alexander McCorquodale and Dame Barbara Cartland. They married at Caxton Hall, London in 1976. Diana became known as Lady Diana after her father later inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975, at which point her father moved the entire family from Park House to Althorp, the Spencer seat in Northampton.
Diana was first home-schooled under the supervision of her governess, Gertrude Allen. She began her formal education at Silfield Private School in Gayton, Norfolk, and moved to Riddlesworth Hall School, an all-girls boarding school near Diss, when she was nine. She joined her sisters at West Heath Girls' School in Sevenoaks, Kent, in 1973. She did not shine academically, failing her O-levels twice. Her outstanding community spirit was recognised with an award from West Heath. She left West Heath when she was sixteen. Her brother Charles recalls her as being quite shy up until that time. She showed a talent for music as an accomplished pianist. Diana also excelled in swimming and diving, and studied ballet and tap dance.
After attending Institut Alpin Videmanette (a finishing school in Rougemont, Switzerland) for one term in 1978, Diana returned to London, where she shared her mother's flat with two school friends. In London, she took an advanced cooking course, but seldom cooked for her roommates. She took a series of low-paying jobs; she worked as a dance instructor for youth until a skiing accident caused her to miss three months of work. She then found employment as a playgroup pre-school assistant, did some cleaning work for her sister Sarah and several of her friends, and acted as a hostess at parties. Diana spent time working as a nanny for the Robertsons, an American family living in London, and worked as a nursery teacher's assistant at the Young England School in Pimlico. In July 1979, her mother bought her a flat at Coleherne Court in Earl's Court as an 18th birthday present. She lived there with three flatmates until 25 February 1981.
Diana first met Charles, Prince of Wales, when she was 16 in November 1977; he was dating her older sister, Lady Sarah. They were guests at a country weekend during the summer of 1980 when she watched him play polo and he took a serious interest in Diana as a potential bride. The relationship progressed when he invited her for a sailing weekend to Cowes aboard the royal yacht Britannia. This was followed by an invitation to Balmoral (the Royal Family's Scottish residence) to meet his family a weekend in November 1980. Lady Diana was well received by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. Prince Charles subsequently courted Diana in London. The Prince proposed on 6 February 1981, and Lady Diana accepted, but their engagement was kept secret for the next few weeks.
Their engagement became official on 24 February 1981. Diana selected a large engagement ring that consisted of 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-carat white gold, which was similar to her mother's engagement ring. The ring was made by the Crown jewellers Garrard, but it was not unique, which was unusual for a ring for a member of the Royal Family. The ring was featured in Garrard's jewellery collection. In 2010 the ring became the engagement ring of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. The Queen Mother gave Diana a sapphire and diamond brooch as an engagement present.
Following the engagement, Diana left her occupation as a kindergarten teacher and lived for a short period at Clarence House, which was the home of the Queen Mother. She then lived at Buckingham Palace until the wedding. Diana was the first Englishwoman to become the spouse of an heir apparent in 300 years, and she was also the first royal bride to have a paying job before her engagement. She made her first public appearance with Prince Charles in a charity ball in March 1981 at Goldsmiths' Hall, where she met the Princess of Monaco.
Twenty-year-old Diana became Princess of Wales when she married the Prince of Wales on 29 July 1981 at St Paul's Cathedral, which offered more seating than Westminster Abbey, which was generally used for royal nuptials. The service was widely described as a "fairytale wedding" and was watched by a global television audience of 750 million people while 600,000 spectators lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the couple 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 £9,000 with a 25-foot (7.62-metre) train. 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 "God Save the Queen".
After she became 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 was fifth or sixth in the orders of precedence of her other realms, following the Queen, the relevant viceroy, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Queen Mother, 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 the Cambridge Lover's Knot Tiara, and granted her the badge of the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II.
The couple made their homes at Kensington Palace and at Highgrove House, near Tetbury. On 5 November 1981, the Princess's pregnancy was officially announced. In January 1982—twelve weeks into the pregnancy—Diana fell down a staircase at Sandringham, and the royal gynaecologist Sir George Pinker was summoned from London. He found that although she had suffered severe bruising, the foetus was uninjured. In the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, on 21 June 1982, under the care of Pinker, the Princess gave birth to the couple's first son and heir, William Arthur Philip Louis. Amidst some media criticism, she decided to take William, still a baby, on her first major tours of Australia and New Zealand, but the decision was popularly applauded. By her own admission, the Princess of Wales had not initially intended to take William until it was suggested by Malcolm Fraser, the Australian prime minister.
A second son, Henry Charles Albert David, was born on 15 September 1984. The Princess asserted she and the Prince were closest during her pregnancy with Harry (as the younger prince has always been known). She was aware their second child was a boy, but did not share the knowledge with anyone else, including the Prince of Wales. Suggestions that Harry's father is not Charles but James Hewitt, with whom Diana had an affair, are based on alleged physical similarity between Hewitt and Harry; however, Harry was born before the affair began.
Diana gave her sons wider experiences than was usual for royal children. 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 organised her public duties around their timetables.
Five years into the marriage, the couple's incompatibility and age difference of almost 13 years became visible and damaging. Diana's concern about Charles's relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles also had a negative impact on the marriage. During the early 1990s, the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales fell apart; the event was at first suppressed, then sensationalised by the world media. The Princess and Prince both spoke to the press through friends; each blamed the other for the marriage's demise.
The couple's marital difficulties were publicly reported as early as 1985. Prince Charles resumed his affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. Diana later began an extra-marital relationship with Major James Hewitt. These affairs were exposed in May 1992 with the publication of Andrew Morton's book, Diana: Her True Story. The book was serialised before publication in The Sunday Times. The book, which also revealed the Princess's allegedly suicidal unhappiness, caused a media storm. During 1992 and 1993, leaked tapes of telephone conversations negatively reflected on both the royal antagonists. Tape recordings of the Princess and James Gilbey were made available by The Sun newspaper's hotline in August 1992 and transcripts of the intimate conversations were published by the newspaper the same month. 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 the tabloids. In December 1992, Prime Minister John Major announced the couple's "amicable separation" to the House of Commons, and the full Camillagate transcript was published a month later in the newspapers, in January 1993.
In 1993, the Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) published photographs of the Princess that were taken by gym owner Bryce Taylor. The photos showed her exercising in the gym LA Fitness wearing "a leotard and cycling shorts". The Princess's lawyers immediately filed a criminal complaint that sought "a permanent ban on the sale and publication of the photographs" around the world. However, some newspapers outside the UK published the pictures. The courts granted an injunction against Taylor and MGN that prohibited "further publication of the pictures". MGN later issued an apology after facing much criticism from the public. It is said that MGN gave the Princess £1 million as a payment for her legal costs and donated £200,000 to her charities. Taylor apologised as well and paid Diana £300,000, although it was alleged that a member of the Royal Family had helped him financially.
Diana's aunt-in-law, Princess Margaret, burned "highly personal" letters that Diana wrote to the Queen Mother in 1993 because she considered them "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".
Diana blamed Camilla Parker Bowles for her marital troubles because of Camilla's previous relationship with the Prince, and at some point she began to believe that he had other affairs. In October 1993, the Princess wrote to a friend that she believed her husband was now in love with his personal assistant (and his sons' former nanny) Tiggy Legge-Bourke and wanted to marry her. Legge-Bourke had been hired by the Prince as a young companion for his sons while they were in his care, and the Princess was resentful of Legge-Bourke and her relationship with the young princes. On 3 December 1993, the Princess of Wales announced her withdrawal from public life.
In the meantime, rumours had begun to surface about the Princess of Wales's relationship with Hewitt, who was the family's former riding instructor. These rumours would be brought into the open by the publication in 1994 of a book by Anna Pasternak titled Princess in Love, which was filmed under the same title in a movie directed by David Greene in 1996. The Princess of Wales was portrayed by Julie Cox and James Hewitt was portrayed by Christopher Villiers.
Prince Charles sought public understanding via a televised interview with Jonathan Dimbleby on 29 June 1994. In the interview, 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". Authors Tina Brown, Sally Bedell Smith and Sarah Bradford are some of the many writers who fully supported Diana's own admission in her 1995 BBC Panorama interview that she had suffered from depression, "rampant bulimia" and had engaged numerous times in the act of self mutilation; the show's transcript records Diana confirming many of her problems to interviewer Martin Bashir, including that she had "hurt (her) arms and legs". The combination of illnesses from which Diana herself said that she suffered resulted in some of her biographers opining that she had borderline personality disorder.
Journalist Martin Bashir interviewed Diana for the BBC current affairs show Panorama. The interview was broadcast on 20 November 1995. In reference to 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'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."
On 20 December 1995, Buckingham Palace publicly announced that the Queen had sent letters to the Prince and Princess of Wales, advising them to divorce. The Queen's move was backed by the Prime Minister and by senior Privy Counsellors, and, according to the BBC, was decided after two weeks of talks. Prince Charles formally agreed to the divorce in a written statement soon after. In February 1996, the Princess announced her agreement after negotiations with the Prince and representatives of the Queen, irritating Buckingham Palace by issuing her own announcement of the divorce agreement and its terms. In July 1996, the couple agreed on the terms of their divorce.
This followed shortly after the Princess's accusation that the Prince's personal assistant Tiggy Legge-Bourke had aborted the Prince's child, after which Legge-Bourke instructed her attorney Peter Carter-Ruck to demand an apology. Diana's secretary Patrick Jephson resigned shortly before the story broke, later writing that the Princess had "exulted in accusing Legge-Bourke of having had an abortion".
The divorce was finalised on 28 August 1996. Diana received a lump sum settlement of £17 million as well as £400,000 per year. The couple signed a confidentiality agreement that prohibited them from discussing the details of the divorce or of their married life.
Days before the decree absolute of divorce, letters patent were issued with general rules to regulate royal titles after divorce. Diana lost the style Her Royal Highness because she was no longer married to the Prince of Wales and instead was styled Diana, Princess of Wales. The Queen reportedly wanted to let Diana continue to use the style after her divorce, but Charles had insisted on removing it. As the mother of the prince expected to one day ascend to the throne, she was accorded the same precedence she enjoyed during her marriage. 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." 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." 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. They were reportedly not on speaking terms with each other by the time of Diana's death.
Buckingham Palace stated that the Princess of Wales was still a member of the Royal Family, because 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 Royal Family and the other was not."
In October 1981, the Prince and Princess visited Wales. Diana attended the State Opening of Parliament for the first time on 4 November 1981. Her first solo engagement was a visit to Regent Street on 18 November 1981 to switch on the Christmas lights. She attended the Trooping the Colour for the first time in June 1982, making her appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace afterwards. The Princess made her inaugural overseas tour in September 1982, to attend the state funeral of Grace, Princess of Monaco. Also in 1982, Diana accompanied the Prince of Wales to the Netherlands and was created a Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands. In 1983, she accompanied the Prince on a tour of Australia and New Zealand with Prince William, where they met with representatives of the Māori people. Their visit to Canada in June and July 1983 included a trip to Edmonton to open the 1983 Summer Universiade and a stop in Newfoundland to commemorate the 400th anniversary of that island's acquisition by the Crown.
In February 1984, Diana was the patron of London City Ballet when she travelled to Norway on her own to attend a performance organised by the company. In April 1985, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Italy, and were later joined by Princes William and Harry. They met with President Alessandro Pertini. Their visit to the Holy See included a private audience with Pope John Paul II. In November 1985, the couple visited the United States, meeting President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan at the White House. Diana had a busy year in 1986. She embarked with the Prince of Wales on a tour of Japan, Indonesia, Spain, and Canada. In Canada they visited Expo 86. In 1988, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Thailand and toured Australia for the bicentenary celebrations. In February 1989, she spent a few days in New York as a solo visit. 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.
In March 1990, she and the Prince of Wales toured Nigeria and Cameroon. The President of Cameroon hosted an official dinner to welcome them in Yaoundé. Highlights of the tour included visits by the Princess of Wales to hospitals and projects focusing on women's development. In May 1990, they visited Hungary for four days. It was the first visit by members of the Royal Family to "a former Warsaw Pact country". They attended a dinner hosted by interim President Árpád Göncz and viewed a fashion display at the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest. Peto Institute was among the places that were visited by the Princess, and she presented its director with an honorary OBE. In November 1990, the royal couple went to Japan to attend the enthronement of Emperor Akihito.
In her desire to play an encouraging role during the Gulf War, the Princess of Wales visited Germany in December 1990 to meet with the families of soldiers. She subsequently travelled to Germany in January 1991 to visit RAF Bruggen, and later wrote an encouraging letter which was published in Soldier, Navy News and RAF News. In 1991, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where they presented the university with a replica of their royal charter. In September 1991, the Princess visited Pakistan on a solo trip, and went to Brazil with Charles. During the Brazilian tour, Diana paid visits to organisations that battled homelessness among street children. Her final trips with Charles were to India and South Korea in 1992. She visited Mother Teresa's hospice in Kolkata, India, in 1992, and the two women developed a personal relationship.
Between 1992 and 1993, Peter Settelen, a voice coach, was hired to help her develop her public speaking voice.
Although in December 1993 she had announced that she would withdraw from public life, she stated in November 1994 that she wished to "make a partial return". In her capacity as the vice-president of British Red Cross, she was interested in playing an important part for its 125th anniversary celebrations. Later, the Queen formally invited her to attend the anniversary celebrations of D-Day. In February 1995, the Princess visited Japan. She paid a formal visit to Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko. In June 1995, Diana went to Venice to visit the Venice Biennale art festival and also visited Moscow where she received the International Leonardo Prize. In November 1995, the Princess undertook a four-day trip to Argentina in order to attend a charity event. The Princess visited many other countries, including Belgium, Nepal, Switzerland, and Zimbabwe, alongside numerous others. During her separation from Charles which lasted for almost four years, she participated in major national occasions as a senior member of the Royal Family, notably including "the commemorations of the 50th anniversaries of Victory in Europe Day and Victory over Japan Day" in 1995. The Princess's 36th and final birthday celebration was held at Tate Gallery which was also a commemorative event for the gallery's 100th anniversary.
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." 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. From the mid-1980s, she became increasingly associated with numerous charities. She carried out 191 official engagements in 1988 and 397 in 1991. The Princess developed an intense interest in serious illnesses and health-related matters outside the purview of traditional royal involvement, including AIDS and leprosy. In recognition of her effect as a philanthropist, Stephen Lee, director of the UK Institute of Charity Fundraising Managers, said "Her overall effect on charity is probably more significant than any other person's in the 20th century."
In addition to health-related matters, Diana's extensive charity work included campaigning for animal protection and her fight against the use of landmines. 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 to 1996, she was a patron of Headway, a brain injury association. She was patron of Natural History Museum and president of Royal Academy of Music. From 1984 to 1996, she was president of Barnardo's, a charity founded by Dr. Thomas John Barnardo in 1866 to care for vulnerable children and young people. In 1988, she became patron of the British Red Cross and supported its organisations in other countries such as Australia and Canada. She made several lengthy visits each week to Royal Brompton Hospital, where she worked to comfort seriously ill or dying patients. In 1992, she became the first patron of Chester Childbirth Appeal, a charity that she had supported since 1984. The charity, which is named after one of Diana's royal titles, could raise over £1 million with her help.
Her patronages also included Landmine Survivors Network, Help the Aged, the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, the British Lung Foundation, Eureka! (joint patron with Prince Charles), the National Children's Orchestra, British Red Cross Youth, the Guinness Trust, Meningitis Trust, Dove House, the Malcolm Sargent Cancer Fund for Children, the Royal School for the Blind, Welsh National Opera, the Variety Club of New Zealand, Birthright, the British Deaf Association, All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Anglo-European College of Chiropractic, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, British Sports Association for the Disabled, British Youth Opera, Chickenshed, Commonwealth Society for the Deaf, Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, Garden Festival of Wales, Gloucestershire County Cricket Club, Honourable Society of the Middle Temple, London City Ballet, London Symphony Chorus, London Symphony Orchestra, Parkinson's Disease Society, Pre-School Playgroups Association, Swansea Festival of Music and the Arts, Welsh Bowling Association, Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors, as well as president or patron of other charities.
In June 1995, the Princess travelled to Moscow. She paid a visit to a children's hospital that she had previously supported by providing them with medical equipment. In Moscow, she received the International Leonardo Prize, which is given to "the most distinguished patrons and people in the arts, medicine, and sports". In December 1995, Diana received the United Cerebral Palsy Humanitarian of the Year Award in New York City for her philanthropic efforts. In October 1996, for her works on the elderly, the Princess was awarded a gold medal at a health care conference organised by the Pio Manzù Centre in Rimini, Italy.
The day after her divorce, she announced her resignation from over 100 charities to spend more time with only six: Centrepoint, English National Ballet, Great Ormond Street Hospital, The Leprosy Mission, National AIDS Trust, and the Royal Marsden Hospital. She continued her work with the British Red Cross Anti-Personnel Land Mines Campaign, but was no longer listed as patron.
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. In June 1997, her dresses and suits were sold at Christie's auction houses in London and New York, and the proceeds that were earned from these events were donated to charities. Her final official engagement was a visit to Northwick Park Hospital, London, on 21 July 1997.
The Princess began her work with AIDS victims in the 1980s. In 1989, she opened Landmark Aids Centre in South London. She was not averse to making physical contact with AIDS patients, though it was still unknown whether the disease could be spread that way. Diana was the first British royal figure to contact AIDS patients. In 1987, she held hands with an AIDS patient in one of her early efforts to de-stigmatise the condition. Diana noted: "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." To Diana's disappointment, the Queen did not support this type of charity work, suggesting she get involved in "something more pleasant". In October 1990, Diana opened Grandma's House, a home for young AIDS victims in Washington, D.C. She was also a patron of the National AIDS Trust. In 1991, she famously hugged one victim during a visit to the AIDS ward of the Middlesex Hospital, which she had opened in 1987. As the patron of Turning Point, a health and social care organisation, Diana visited its project in London for people with HIV/AIDS in 1992. She later established and led fundraising campaigns for AIDS research.
In March 1997, Diana visited South Africa, where she met with President Nelson Mandela. On 2 November 2002, Mandela announced that the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund would be teaming up with the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to help victims of AIDS. They had planned the combination of the two charities a few months before her death. "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. Diana had used her celebrity status to "fight stigma attached to people living with HIV/AIDS", Mandela said.
Diana was the patron of HALO Trust, an organisation that removes debris left behind by war, in particular landmines. In January 1997, pictures of Diana touring an Angolan minefield in a ballistic helmet and flak jacket were seen worldwide. During her campaign, she was accused of meddling in politics and called a 'loose cannon'. Despite the criticism, HALO states that Diana's efforts resulted in raising international awareness about landmines and the subsequent sufferings caused by them. In June 1997, she gave a speech at a landmines conference held at the Royal Geographical Society, and travelled to Washington, D.C. to help promote the American Red Cross landmines campaign. 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.
Her work on the landmines issue has been described as influential in the signing 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.
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". She urged countries which produce and stockpile the largest numbers of landmines (United States, China, India, North Korea, Pakistan, and Russia) to sign the treaty. A few months after Diana's death in 1997, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines won the Nobel Peace Prize.
For her first solo official trip, Diana visited The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, a cancer treatment hospital in London. She later chose this charity to be among the organisations that benefited from the auction of her clothes in New York. 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." Diana became president of the hospital on 27 June 1989. The Wolfson Children's Cancer Unit was opened by Diana on 25 February 1993. In June 1996, she travelled to Chicago in her capacity as president of the Royal Marsden Hospital in order to attend a fundraising event and raised more than £1 million for cancer research. In September 1996, after being asked by Katharine Graham, the Princess went to Washington and appeared at a White House breakfast in respect of the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research. She also attended an annual fund-raiser for breast cancer research organised by The Washington Post at the same center.
Children with Leukaemia (currently Children with Cancer UK) was opened by the Princess of Wales in memory of two young cancer victims in 1988. In November 1987, a few days after the death of Jean O'Gorman from cancer, Diana met her family. The deaths of Jean and her brother had an impact on the Princess, and she assisted their family to establish the charity. It was opened by her on 12 January 1988 at Mill Hill Secondary School, and she supported it until her death in 1997.
In November 1989, the Princess visited a leprosy hospital in Indonesia. Following her visit, she became patron of the Leprosy Mission, an organisation dedicated to providing medicine, treatment, and other support services to those who are afflicted with the disease. She remained the patron of this charity until her death in 1997, and visited several of its hospitals around the world, especially in India, Nepal, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. She famously touched those affected by the disease when many people believed it could be contracted through casual contact. "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," she commented. The Diana Princess of Wales Health Education and Media Centre in Noida, India, was opened in her honour in November 1999, funded by the Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund to give social support to the people affected by leprosy and disability.
Diana was a long-standing and active supporter of Centrepoint, a charity which provides accommodation and support to homeless people, and became patron in 1992. She supported organisations that battle poverty and homelessness. The Princess was a supporter of young homeless people and spoke out on behalf of them by saying that "they deserve a decent start in life". "We, as a part of society, must ensure that young people – who are our future – are given the chance they deserve," she said. Diana used to take young William and Harry for private visits to Centrepoint services. "The young people at Centrepoint were always really touched by her visits and by her genuine feelings for them," said one of the charity's staff members. Prince William is currently the patron of this charity.
Diana was a staunch and longtime supporter of charities and organisations that focused on social and mental issues, including Relate and Turning Point. Relate was relaunched in 1987 as a renewed version to its predecessor, the National Marriage Guidance Council. Diana became its patron in 1989. Turning Point, a health and social care organisation, was founded in 1964 to help and support those affected by drug and alcohol misuse and mental health problems. She became the charity's patron in 1987 and visited the charity on a regular basis, meeting the sufferers at its centres or institutions including Rampton and Broadmoor. In 1990 during a speech for Turning Point 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." Despite the protocol problems of travelling to a Muslim country, she made a trip to Pakistan later that year in order to visit a rehabilitation centre in Lahore as a sign of "her commitment to working against drug abuse".
After her 1996 divorce, Diana retained the double apartment on the north side of Kensington Palace that she had shared with the Prince of Wales since the first year of their marriage, and the apartment remained her home until her death the following year. She also moved her offices to Kensington Palace but was permitted "to use the state apartments at St James's Palace". Furthermore, she continued to have access to the jewellery that she had received during her marriage, and Diana was allowed to use the air transport of the British royal family and government. In a book published in 2003, Paul Burrell claimed that the Princess's private letters revealed that her brother, Charles Spencer, had refused to allow her to live at Althorp, despite her request.
Diana dated the British-Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, who was called "the love of her life" by many of her closest friends after her death, and she is said to have described him as "Mr Wonderful". In May 1996, Diana visited Lahore upon invitation of Imran Khan, a relative of Hasnat Khan, and visited the latter's family in secret. 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. She is said to have spoken of her distress when "he" ended their relationship. However, according to Khan's testimonial at the inquest for her death, it was Diana who ended their relationship in the summer of 1997. Diana's butler, Paul Burrell, also said that the relationship was ended by the Princess in July 1997.
Within a month, Diana began seeing Dodi Fayed, the son of her summer host, Mohamed Al-Fayed. Diana had considered taking her sons that summer on a holiday to the Hamptons on Long Island, New York, but security officials had prevented it. After deciding against a trip to Thailand, she accepted Fayed's invitation to join his family in the south of France, where his compound and large security detail would not cause concern to the Royal Protection squad. Mohamed Al-Fayed bought the Jonikal, a 60-metre multimillion-pound yacht on which to entertain Diana and her sons.
On 31 August 1997, Diana was fatally injured in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris. The accident also resulted in the deaths of her companion Dodi Fayed and the driver, Henri Paul, who was the acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris; Trevor Rees-Jones (Diana's bodyguard) survived the crash. The televised funeral, on 6 September, was watched by a British television audience that peaked at 32.10 million, which was one of the United Kingdom's highest viewing figures ever. Millions more watched the event around the world.
The initial French judicial investigation concluded that the accident was caused by Paul's drunken loss of control of the vehicle. In February 1998, Mohamed Al-Fayed, owner of the Paris Ritz where Paul had worked, publicly maintained that the crash had been planned, accusing MI6 and the Duke of Edinburgh. An inquest in London starting in 2004 and continued in 2007–08 attributed the accident to grossly negligent driving by Paul and to the pursuing paparazzi. On 7 April 2008, the jury returned a verdict of "unlawful killing". The day following the final verdict of the inquest, Al-Fayed announced he would end his 10-year campaign to establish that it was murder rather than an accident, stating that he did so for the sake of the Princess's children.
The sudden and unexpected death of an extraordinarily popular royal figure brought statements from senior figures worldwide and many tributes by members of the public. People left public offerings of flowers, candles, cards, and personal messages outside Kensington Palace for many months. Her coffin, draped with the royal flag, was brought to London from Paris by Prince Charles and Diana's two sisters on 31 August 1997. After being taken to a private mortuary it was placed in the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace.
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. Her sons walked in the funeral procession behind her coffin, along with her ex-husband the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh, Diana's brother Lord Spencer, and representatives of some of her charities. 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." 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 been performed live). Released as a single in 1997, the global proceeds from the song have gone to Diana's charities.
The burial took place 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, which she had chosen some weeks before. A set of rosary beads that she had received from Mother Teresa was placed in her hands. Mother Teresa had died the same week as Diana. Diana's grave is on an island (52.283082°N 1.000278°W / 52.283082; -1.000278) within the grounds of Althorp Park, the Spencer family home for centuries.
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 laying 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.
Following Diana's death, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was granted intellectual property rights over her image. In 1998, the fund sued the Franklin Mint, accusing it of illegally selling Diana dolls, plates, and jewellery after having been refused a license to do so. 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, was required to pay the Franklin Mint's legal costs of £3 million which, combined with other fees, caused the Memorial Fund to freeze its grants to charities. In 2003, the Franklin Mint counter-sued. In November 2004, the case was settled out of court with the 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 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.
On 13 July 2006, Italian magazine Chi published photographs showing Diana amid the wreckage of the car crash, despite an unofficial blackout on such photographs being published. The editor of Chi defended his decision by saying he published the photographs simply because they had not been previously seen, and he felt the images were not disrespectful to the memory of Diana.
The Concert for Diana at Wembley Stadium was held on 1 July 2007. 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 proceeds that were earned from this event were donated to Diana's charities. On 31 August 2007, a memorial service for Diana took place in the Guards Chapel. Guests included members of the royal family and their relatives, members of the Spencer family, members of Diana's wedding party, Diana's close friends and aides, representatives from many of her charities, British politicians Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, and John Major, and friends from the entertainment world such as David Frost, Elton John, and Cliff Richard.
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 across the lap of an unidentified man.
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.
In January 2017, a series of letters written by Diana and other members of the Royal Family to a Buckingham Palace steward were sold as a part of a collection titled "the private letters between a trusted butler and the royal family". The six letters that were written by Diana mainly included information about her young sons' daily life and raised £15,100.
"Diana: Her Fashion Story", an exhibition of gowns and suits worn by the Princess, was announced to be opened at Kensington Palace in February 2017 as a tribute to mark her 20th death anniversary, with her favorite dresses created by numerous fashion designers, including Catherine Walker and Victor Edelstein, being displayed. The exhibition opened on 24 February displaying a collection of 25 dresses, and is set to remain open until 2018.
Other tributes planned for the anniversary include exhibitions at Althorp hosted by the Princess's brother, Earl Spencer, a series of commemorating events organised by the Diana Memorial Award, as well as restyling Kensington Gardens and creating a new section called "The White Garden" in order to symbolise Diana's life and style.
Among the members of the Royal Family throughout history, Diana remains one of the most popular and still continues to influence the principles of the Royal Family and its young generation. 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". She was noted for her compassion, style, charisma, and high-profile charity work, as well as her difficult marriage to the Prince of Wales. Her former private secretary mentioned her as an organised and hardworking person, and pointed out that the Princess's husband was not able to "reconcile with his wife's extraordinary popularity", a viewpoint supported by author Tina Brown. He also stated that she was a tough boss who was "equally quick to appreciate hard work", but could also be defiant "if she felt she had been the victim of injustice". Paul Burrell, who worked as a butler for the Princess, remembered her as a "deep thinker" capable of "introspective analysis". She was often described as a devoted mother to her children, who are influenced by her personality and manner of life. In the early years, Diana was often noted for her shy nature, as well as her shrewdness, funny character, and smartness. Those who had communicated with her closely describe her as a person who was led by her heart. The Princess was also said to have a strong character, due to the fact that she entered the Royal Family as an inexperienced young girl with little education but could handle their expectations and also overcome the difficulties and sufferings of her marital life.
Diana was widely known for her encounters with sick and dying patients, the poor and unwanted whom she used to comfort, an action that earned her more popularity. She was mindful of people's thoughts and feelings, and later revealed her wish of becoming a beloved figure among the people by saying in her 1995 interview that "[She would] like to be a queen of people's hearts, in people's hearts". According to the biographer Tina Brown, she could charm the people with a single glance. She also points out that Diana's fame had spread around the world, even affecting Tony Blair who reportedly had said that Diana had shown the nation "a new way to be British". During her life the Princess could build a relationship with ordinary people, which was shown in the messages sent by different individuals around the world as a tribute after her death. Diana is often credited for bringing the types of charity works carried by the Royal Family to a wider range and a more modern style, as well as affecting some of the household's traditional manners. Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post wrote in his article that "Diana imbued her role as royal princess with vitality, activism and, above all, glamour". Alicia Carroll of The New York Times described Diana as "a breath of fresh air" who was the main factor that made the Royal Family known in the United States. Despite all the marital issues and scandals, Diana continued to enjoy a high level of popularity in the polls while her husband was suffering from low levels of public approval. Her peak popularity rate in the United Kingdom between 1981 and 2012 was 47%.
Diana had become what Prime Minister Tony Blair called the "People's Princess," an iconic national figure. Her accidental death brought an unprecedented spasm of grief and mourning, and subsequently a crisis arose in the Royal Household. Andrew Marr said that by her death she "revived the culture of public sentiment". Her brother, the Earl Spencer, captured her role:
"Diana was the very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty. All over the world she was a symbol of selfless humanity. All over the world, a standard bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden, a very British girl who transcended nationality. Someone with a natural nobility who was classless and who proved in the last year that she needed no royal title to continue to generate her particular brand of magic".
In 1997, the Princess was one of the runners-up for Time Man of the Year. In 1999, Time magazine named Diana one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century. In 2002, Diana was ranked third on the BBC's poll of the 100 Greatest Britons, outranking the Queen and other British monarchs. In 2006, the Japanese public ranked Diana twelfth in The Top 100 Historical Persons in Japan.
Despite being regarded as an iconic figure and a popular member of the Royal Family, Diana was subject to criticism during her life. Patrick Jephson, her private secretary of eight years, wrote in an article in The Daily Telegraph that "[Diana] had an extra quality that frustrated her critics during her lifetime and has done little to soften their disdain since her death". Some have said that it was Diana who let the journalists and paparazzi into her life as she knew that they were the source of her power, thus she had "overburdened herself with public duties" and destroyed the border between private and public life. Diana was famously criticised by philosophy professor Anthony O'Hear, who in his notes argued that she was unable to fulfill her duties, her reckless behaviour was damaging the monarchy, and she was "self-indulgent" in her philanthropic efforts. Following his remarks, the Princess was defended by the charity organisations that were supported by her, and Peter Luff who called O'Hear's comments "distasteful and inappropriate". Further criticism surfaced as she was accused of using her public profile to benefit herself, which in return "demeaned her royal office". Diana's unique type of charity work, which sometimes included physical contact with people affected by serious diseases, in some cases, had a negative reflection in the media.
Sally Bedell Smith characterised Diana as unpredictable, egocentric, and possessive. Smith also argued that in her desire to do charity works she was "motivated by personal considerations, rather than by an ambitious urge to take on a societal problem". Eugene Robinson, however, said that "[Diana] was serious about the causes she espoused". According to Sarah Bradford, Diana looked down on the House of Windsor whom she reportedly viewed "as jumped-up foreign princelings" and called them "the Germans". She believed that Diana was a "victim of her own poor judgment" as she lost a social privilege by doing the Panorama interview. Some observers characterised her as a manipulative person. It was also alleged by some people that the Princess and her former father-in-law, Prince Philip, had a relationship filled with tension. Other observers, however, said that their letters provided no indication of friction between them. Author Anne Applebaum believed that Diana in fact has not put any impact on public opinions posthumously; an idea supported by Jonathan Freedland of The Guardian who also noted in his article that Diana's memory and influence started to fade away in the years after her death, while Peter Conrad, another Guardian contributor, argued that even in "a decade after her death, she is still not silent", and Allan Massie of The Telegraph described the Princess as "the celebrity of celebrities" whose sentiments "continue to shape our society".
Diana was a fashion icon whose style was emulated by women around the world. Iain Hollingshead of The Telegraph wrote: "[Diana] had an ability to sell clothes just by looking at them." An early example of the effect occurred during her courtship with Charles in 1980 when sales of Hunter Wellington boots skyrocketed after she was pictured wearing a pair on the Balmoral estate. According to designers and people who worked with Diana, she used fashion and style to endorse her charitable causes, express herself and communicate. The Princess continued to remain a prominent figure for her fashion style, and is still considered an inspiration for stylists, celebrities, and young women, famously including the singer Rihanna who is influenced by her and during an interview by Glamour in 2013 said "[Diana] killed it. Every look was right. She was gangsta with her clothes. She had these crazy hats. She got oversize jackets. I loved everything she wore!".
The Princess chose her dressing style based on both the Royal Family's demands and popular modern styles in Britain, and developed her personal trend of fashion. While on diplomatic trips, her numerous clothes and attire were chosen to match the destination countries' costumes, and while off-duty she used to wear loose jackets and jumpers. "She was always very thoughtful about how her clothes would be interpreted, it was something that really mattered to her," stated Anna Harvey, a former editor of Vogue and the Princess's fashion mentor. David Sassoon, one of the designers who worked with Diana, believed that she had "broken the rules" with trying new styles. Diana chose not to practice some of the royal methods for clothing including putting aside the tradition of wearing gloves as she believed it would prevent direct connection with the people she met, such as those affected by serious diseases like AIDS patients. She used to wear certain types of ensembles and clothes at charity events which would also match the mentality of the people she would meet, for instance wearing colourful dresses and "jangling jewels" so she could easily play with children at hospitals. According to Donatella Versace who had closely worked with the Princess alongside her brother, Diana's interest and sense of curiosity in fashion grew significantly after her separation from Charles. Versace also points out that "[she doesn't] think that anyone, before or after her, has done for fashion what Diana did."
Catherine Walker was among Diana's favorite designers with whom she worked to create her "royal uniform". For her foreign tours and state visits, Walker and her husband used to do research and were determined to design clothes that would not outshine the Princess, a viewpoint supported by Taki Theodoracopulos who believes that Diana did not want "to let her clothes wear her." Eleri Lynn, curator of the exhibition Diana: Her Fashion Story, also believes that "[Diana] didn't want to be known as a clothes horse," and mentions that "the style [Catherine and Diana] created together was a very slender, fluid silhouette which did away with the frills and ruffles of the early '80s and created a sleek silhouette that really flattered the princess’s frame and became a timeless look for her. A royal uniform if you like."
Diana made her debut as a Sloane Ranger in 1979 with a gown by Regamus. Throughout 1980s and 1990s, the Princess wore outfits designed by Catherine Walker, Victor Edelstein, Gianni Versace, Giorgio Armani, Christina Stambolian, Jasper Conran, David and Elizabeth Emanuel, Hachi, John Galliano, Ralph Lauren, Christian Lacroix, Bruce Oldfield, Jacques Azagury, David Sassoon, Murray Arbeid, Jimmy Choo, and numerous other fashion designers. She also wore ensembles by fashion companies such as Versace, Armani, Chanel, Dior and Clarks. Among her iconic outfits are a décolleté by David and Elizabeth Emanuel worn by a newly engaged Diana at a charity event, a cocktail dress by Christina Stambolian, commonly known as the "Revenge Dress", which she wore after Charles's admission of adultery, an evening gown by Victor Edelstein that she wore to a reception at White House and later became known as the "Travolta dress", and a Catherine Walker pearl-encrusted gown and jacket dubbed as the "Elvis Dress", which she wore for the first time on an official visit to Hong Kong.
In early 1980s, Diana preferred to wear dresses with floral collars, pie-crust blouses, and pearls. These items rapidly became fashion trends. Copies of her Vogue-featured pink chiffon blouse by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, which appeared on the magazine's cover on her engagement announcement day, were sold in millions. Her habit of wearing wide-shouldered gowns and lavish fabrics earned her the nickname "Dynasty Di". In the years after her marriage and subsequently her divorce, Diana grew more confident in her choices, and her style underwent a change, with her new choices consisting of blazers, one-shoulder and off-shoulder dresses, two-tone themed suits, military-styled suits, and nude-colored outfits. White shirt and jeans, plaid dresses, jumpsuits and sheath dresses were among the other fashion trends that she tried. After her separation and subsequent divorce, Diana began to take influence from other celebrities in her dressing manners including Cindy Crawford, Madonna, Elizabeth Taylor, as well as many others. Following her death many of her dresses were auctioned and sold to different individuals and museums, and each time they raised a significant amount of money.
The Princess's influential short hairstyle was created by Sam McKnight after a Vogue shoot in 1990, which, in McKnight and Donatella Versace's opinion, showed her liberty. The Princess reportedly did her own make up and would always have a hairstylist by her side before an event, on which she told McKnight: "It's not for me, Sam. It is for the people I visit or who come to see me. They don't want me in off-duty mode, they want a princess. Let’s give them what they want."
The Princess was named to the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame in 1989. In 2004, People cited her as one of the all-time most beautiful women. In 2012, Time magazine included Diana on its All-TIME 100 Fashion Icons list.
In 2016, fashion designer Sharmadean Reid designed a collection of clothes for ASOS.com inspired by Diana's style. "Di's incredible relationship with accessible sportswear through to luxury fashion forms the cornerstone of the collection and feels more modern than ever," Reid said about the Princess in a press release.
Following the opening of an exhibition of Diana's clothes and dresses at Kensington Palace in 2017, Catherine Bennett of The Guardian stated that such exhibitions are among the suitable ways to commemorate public figures whose fashion styles were noted due to their achievements, while for Diana "the nature of [her] legacy is vulnerable." The exhibition managers, however, said that like many other princesses, "looking lovely in different clothes was pretty much her life's work" which also brings interest in her clothing.
Immediately after her death, many sites around the world became briefly ad hoc memorials to Diana where the public left flowers and other tributes. The largest was outside the gates of Kensington Palace, where people continue to leave flowers and tributes. Permanent memorials include:The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Gardens in Regent Centre Gardens KirkintillochThe Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park, London, opened by Elizabeth IIThe Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens, LondonThe Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk, a circular path between Kensington Gardens, Green Park, Hyde Park, and St. James's Park, LondonThe Diana Memorial Award, established in 1999 and later relaunched in 2007 by Gordon BrownThe Princess Diana Memorial Austria is the first memorial dedicated to Diana, Princess of Wales, in a German-speaking country. It is placed in the garden of Schloss Cobenzl in Vienna. It was raised by reporter Ewald Wurzinger.
The Flame of Liberty was erected in 1989 on the Place de l'Alma in Paris above the entrance to the tunnel in which the fatal crash later occurred. It has become an unofficial memorial to Diana. In addition, there are two memorials inside Harrods department store, commissioned by Dodi Fayed's father, who owned the store 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.
Rosa 'Princess of Wales', a white blend rose cultivar, is named in honour of Diana. She received it as a tribute for her 10-year cooperation with the British Lung Foundation. It was bred by Harkness in the United Kingdom and introduced in 1997. The nostalgic floribunda is also known as 'Hardinkum'. It has a double bloom form, and a mild to strong fragrance. The rose is said to be one of Diana's favourites. After her death, the proceeds from selling the roses in 1998–99 were donated to the British Lung Foundation. In 2002, it was granted the Award of Garden Merit by the Royal Horticultural Society. Rosa 'Diana, Princess of Wales', a pink blend garden rose, was first introduced in 1998 at the British Embassy in the United States. The classical hybrid tea rose was bred by Keith W. Zary of Jackson & Perkins and is also known under the names 'Elegant Lady' and 'Jacshaq'. It has a classic bloom form with ivory petals, and a mild, sweet fragrance. "15% of the retail price" for buying each of the roses was donated to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. It was also not sold in the United Kingdom in order to prevent from creating a competition with Rosa 'Princess of Wales'.
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)". Several other countries issued commemorative stamps that year, including Great Britain, Somalia, and Congo. HayPost also issued a postage stamp commemorating Diana in Armenia at the same year.
In February 2013, OCAD University in Toronto announced that its new 25,000 square foot arts centre would be named the Princess of Wales Visual Arts Centre. Princess Diana Drive was named in her memory in Trenton, New Jersey. Diana's granddaughter, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana (born 2015), and her niece, Charlotte Diana (born 2012), are named after her.
In 2017, Diana's sons commissioned a statue of their mother for Kensington Palace to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her death. In an official statement released by Kensington Palace, William and Harry said "Our mother touched so many lives. We hope the statue will help all those who visit Kensington Palace to reflect on her life and her legacy." The money will be raised through public donations, and a small committee consisting of close friends and advisers, including Diana's sister Lady Sarah McCorquodale, are said to be working on the project.
Before and after her death, Diana has been depicted in contemporary art. 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. In December 1992, ABC aired Charles and Diana: Unhappily Ever After, a TV movie about marital discord between Diana and Charles. In the 1990s, British magazine Private Eye called her "Cheryl" and Prince Charles "Brian". 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) related to Diana's bulimia, while others included affectionate texts such as Love Was on Your Side and Diana's Dress with puffy sleeves. Another text praised her selflessness – The things you did to help other people, showing Diana in protective clothing walking through a minefield in Angola – while another referenced the conspiracy theories. Of her drawings, Emin maintained "They're quite sentimental ... and there's nothing cynical about it whatsoever."
In 2005, Martín Sastre premiered during the Venice 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 at an Uruguayan slum using a Diana impersonator from São Paulo, the film was selected by the Italian Art Critics Association as one of the Venice Biennial's best works.
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, Diana crash and Diana pram, which incorporates the quotation "I vow to thee my country". Vine asserted her own abiding attraction to "the beauty and the tragedy of Diana's life".
The 2007 docudrama Diana: Last Days of a Princess details the final two months of her life. She is portrayed by Irish actress Genevieve O'Reilly. On an October 2007 episode of The Chaser's War on Everything, Andrew Hansen mocked Diana in his "Eulogy Song", which immediately created considerable controversy in the Australian media.
In 2017, Prince William and Prince Harry commissioned two documentaries to mark the 20th anniversary of her death. The first of the two, Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy, was broadcast on ITV and HBO on 24 July 2017. This film focuses on Diana's legacy and humanitarian efforts for causes such as AIDS, landmines, homelessness and cancer. The second documentary, Diana, 7 Days, aired on 27 August on BBC and focused on Diana's death and the subsequent outpouring of grief. The two documentaries feature interviews with Prince William and Prince Harry, as well as people close to the princess.
Actresses who have portrayed Diana include Serena Scott Thomas (in Diana: Her True Story), Julie Cox (in Princess in Love), Amy Seccombe (in Diana: A Tribute to the People's Princess), Genevieve O'Reilly (in Diana: Last Days of a Princess), Nathalie Brocker (in The Murder of Princess Diana), and Naomi Watts (in Diana).1 July 1961 – 9 June 1975: The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer9 June 1975 – 29 July 1981: Lady Diana Frances Spencer29 July 1981 – 28 August 1996: Her Royal Highness The Princess of Walesin Scotland: 29 July 1981 – 28 August 1996: Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Rothesay28 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 she never held. 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.Orders 1981: Member of the Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth IIForeign honours 1982: Supreme Class of the Order of the Virtues (or Order of al-Kamal) 18 November 1982: Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown, bestowed by Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands
The Princess of Wales held the following military appointments: Australia: Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Survey Corps Canada: Colonel-in-Chief of the Princess of Wales Own Regiment: Colonel-in-Chief of the West Nova Scotia Regiment United Kingdom: Colonel-in-Chief of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment: Colonel-in-Chief of the Light Dragoons: Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Hampshire Regiment: Colonel-in-Chief of the 13th/18th Royal Hussars (Queen Mary's Own): Honorary Air Commodore, RAF Wittering
She gave up these appointments following her divorce.
Diana 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. The Spencers claimed descent from a cadet branch of the powerful medieval Despenser family, but its validity is questioned. Her great-grandmother was Margaret Baring, a member of the German-British Baring family of bankers and the daughter of Edward Baring, 1st Baron Revelstoke. Diana's distant noble ancestors included John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough and Prince of Mindelheim and his wife Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. Diana and Charles were distantly related, as they were both descended from the House of Tudor through Henry VII of England. She was also descended from the House of Stuart through Charles II of England by Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond, and Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Grafton, and his brother James II of England by Henrietta FitzJames.
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. 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". Genealogist William Addams Reitwiesner assumed she was Armenian. 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.