Princess Diana, one of the most beloved figures of our time, was born Diana Frances Spencer on July 1, 1961, as the youngest daughter of Edward Spencer, Viscount Althorp and his wife Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp at Sandringham estate. Although during her courtship with Prince Charles she was often heralded as a mere kindergarten teacher, in truth one of her godmothers was a niece of the Queen Mother and she as also descended from King Charles I. After her parents divorced, her father obtained custody of both Diana and her brother. She became Lady Diana Spencer after her grandfather’s death in 1975 and her father ascended to become 8th Earl Spencer.
Her education was conducted at Riddlesworth Hall as well as West Heath Girls’ School, although she reportedly was a below-average student. After turning 16 she attended a finishing school in Switzerland while at the same time her sister, Lady Sarah, was dating the man who would become Diana’s future husband, Prince Charles. While Diana did not excel in academics she made up for it by doing quite well in sports as well as music.
Diana herself did not begin to date Prince Charles until she was 19 years old. At this time she worked at a kindergarten as an assistant. The Prince had been under pressure for some time to marry, well into his thirties at this time and he needed a Protestant fiancée of aristocratic background who could meet the demanding expectations of his family and the royal family’s advisors without question. Diana and Prince Charles’ engagement was announced by Buckingham Palace on February 24, 1981, and they were married on July 29, 1981, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.
The marriage between the Prince and Diana was somewhat of a historical affair since this would be the first time an heir to the throne had married an Englishwoman since 1659. After marrying Prince Charles, Diana’s title moved from Lady Diana to Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales.
The first child of the Prince and Princess was born on June 21, 1982; Prince William while his younger brother, Prince Henry (or Prince Harry) followed on September 15, 1984.
Throughout her adult life, Princess Diana worked ceaselessly in various works of charity, including a strong involvement in AIDS-related issues as well as campaigning against landmines. While Princess Diana was well known for her dedication to charitable works; unfortunately, her marriage also became the subject of much attention and speculation, particularly after it began falling apart after the mid-1980s. Speculation revolved around affairs of both the Princess and Princess, at least one of which was confirmed by the Princess of Wales in the television interview.
On December 9, 1992, the Prince and Princess were separated with a divorce becoming finalized on August 28, 1996. After her divorce, Diana ceased to be known as Her Royal Highness and became known as simply, Diana, Princess of Wales. In the years following the divorce, Diana continued her charity work, often traveling around the globe to speak out against landmines and other issues she felt passionate about.
Diana was killed in an auto accident in a Paris tunnel on August 31, 1997, along with her then boyfriend, Dodi Al-Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul. An immediate frenzy followed the news of her death; which has been frequently blamed on the fact that reporters were following the vehicle in which she was riding, at a high rate of speed in the hopes of snapping her photo. Numerous inquiries have since been raised regarding her death and to this day some dispute whether the tragic accident that took her life was an accident at all.