Tragic Life of Princess Diana of Wales

Diana Baby Picture

Love Story of the Decade

The wedding of Lady Diana and the Prince of Wales seemed to be the love story of the 1980’s. Everyone loved Diana throughout her short life and even through her difficulties. The seemingly story book wedding certainly did not have a story book ending. Diana, the youngest daughter of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp of English descent (and later became the 8th Earl Spencer) and Frances Spenser, Vicountess Althorp (formerly the Honorable Frances Burke Roche, and later Frances Shand Kydd) was of English and Irish descent. She was born on July 1, 1961, at Park House near Sandringham, Norfolk. Her full name at birth was Diana Frances Spencer and she was the fourth child.

She is of royal descent. On her Father’s side she was a descendant of King Charles II through four illegitimate sons: Henry Fitzoy, 1st Duke of Frafton, Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond and Lennox, Charles Beauclerk, 1st Duke of St. Albans, and James Crofts-Scott, 1st Duke of Monmouth and leader of the famous Monmouth Rebellion in 1685. She also descended from King James II of England through an illegitimate daughter, Henrietta Fitz James. On her mother’s side, Diana was Irish and Scottish and descended of American heiress, Frances Work, her mother’s grandmother and namesake. The Spencer’s had been close to the British Royal Family for centuries continually rising in royal favor.

Diana and brothe Charles Earl Spenser

Diana's Childhood

Unfortunately when Diana was six her parents split up and divorced which seem to leave Diana emotionally scarred. There was a messy custody battle; the children were pawns in the fight which was won by her father. Diana later talked of hearing her mother’s footsteps on the gravel as she left their home. They lived in a beautiful large private estate with ten bedrooms

Diana was primarily raised by her father and when he became the 8th Earl of Spencer he moved the family to Althorpe near Northampton where she spent her childhood years. Diana’s father paid a lot of attention to proper etiquette and good behavior when raising his children. Her father did remarry Reine, Countess of Dartmouth, and daughter of the famous romantic novelist, Barbara Cartland; however, Reine apparently did not get along well with Diana or any of the children except her own daughter. Lady Raine was pleased to be the lady of the castle, and she completely refurbished the house. A few of the most expensive paintings were sold, new furniture and wall decorations were ordered. That was not Diana's home any more! Diana’s mother moved to the Island of Seil on the west coast of Scotland.

Diana as a Teenager

Diana’s education was first at boarding school, Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk. Diana was very shy and had difficulty fitting in with the other students. She loved to read but wasn’t really interested in her studies. She didn’t do particularly well scholastically, but did well in sports, especially swimming. She aspired to become a ballet dancer, but at 5’8” she was thought to be too tall. Two years later Diana was transferred to the WestHeathBoarding School in Kent for 5 years.

Her father paid £4000 per term and hoped that this respected school would take any ballet ideas out of her head. Again it took a long time before Diana felt comfortable amongst her fellow pupils. She did so poorly on her exams that college was not a possibility. Diana did not want to return to her hold home with Lady Raine ruled the household and with all the changes that had been made. Lady Raine did not get along with any of the four children and she apparently controlled Diana’s father. Diana was broken by the coldness and superior strength of her step-mother.

Diana moved to London to her mother’s flat before the age of 17; then shortly thereafter an apartment for £50,000 was purchased for her 18th birthday. She lived with 3 flatmates until 1981. She took an advanced cooking course as suggested by her mother, but didn’t become an adroit cook. Diana had a variety of jobs in a relatively short time which included, work as a dance instructor for youth until a skiing accident caused her to miss 3 months of work, then as a preschool play instructor, next she did some cleaning for her sister Sarah and several friends, and also worked as a hostess at parties

Prince Charles and Diana's Wedding

The Younger Years

Prince Charles was linked to a rather large number of women in his younger years, including Sarah, Diana’s older sister and Camilla Shand until he was in his early thirties where he was under increasing pressure to marry. Under the Royal Marriage Act 1772, his marriage required the formal consent of his mother the Queen Elizabeth. Also, under the Act of Settlement 1701, royals must marry in the Church of England or forfeit their succession to the throne. Diana aristocratic descent, Church of England faith, presumed virginity and native Englishness made her a suitable bride for Prince Charles.

Charles had known Diana for several years but they didn’t date until they met during a country weekend of polo playing. They kept their relationship a secret for a brief time and their engagement became official in February, 1981 after Diana selected a £30,000 ring consisting of 14 diamonds surrounded by a sapphire, which was similar to her mother’s ring. At 20 years old she married Charles in St. Paul’s Cathedral 29 Jul 1981. The wedding was viewed by millions of people on global television. She was the first British citizen to marry an heir to the throne in almost 300 years.

Beautiful Princess Not Forgotten

Diana's Community Work

Diana began making public appearances despite her shyness almost immediately after the wedding. Prince William was born in 1982 and Harry was born in 1984. Diana struggled with bulimia after Williams birth. She was regarded as a devoted mother and she made most of the decisions concerning the boys. She dismissed the royal family nanny and hired one of her own. She chose the first names of the boys, chose their outings, picked their schools and she took them back and forth to school when time permitted.

Diana was always involved in numerous types of charity work. She particularly became interested in serious illnesses and health matters, including AIDS and leprosy. Furthermore; she worked with the homeless, youth, drug addicts and the elderly. She was President of Great Omond Street Hospital for Children. In January 1997, pictures of the Princess touring an Angolan minefield in a ballistic helmet which was seen worldwide.

During the final year of her life she was very visibly supporting the Intentional Campaign to Ban Landmines, a campaign that win on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 after her death. Diana was famous for her openness as she held the hand of with a patient who was HIV positive in 1987, when many believed the virus could be caught by touch. She treated every one as equals, bonding easily with others and was loved by all.

Divorce and Diana's Tragic Ending

Early in their marriage they were publicly affectionate, but by 1986, there coolness noticeable by the public and they spent more time apart. By the early 1990’s Charles and Diana’s marriage had fallen apart. Rumors abounded concerning Charles’s relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles. This affair was exposed in May, 1992 when tapes of telephone transcripts were leaked. In the meantime, rumors began to surface that Diana had a relationship with Major James Hewitt, her former riding instructor.

In 1992, Prime Minister John Major announced the couples “amiable separation”. In December, 1993, Diana announced her withdrawal from public life. In October, 1995, the Queen asked Charles and Diana for an early divorce as a result of Diana’s Panormam interview where she discussed Charles’s infidelities. The divorce became final on 28 August 1996. Diana received a lump settlement of £17 million along with a clause forbidding her from discussing the details. Once divorced, she again became Diana, Princess of Wales. Buckingham Palace made this announcement but stated she was still a member of the Royal Family as the mother of the two boys in line to the throne.

After her divorce, Diana retained her double apartment on the north side of Kensington Palace where she lived until her death. She dated Hasnat Khan, a respected heart surgeon, which they kept secret, as he was from a traditional Pakistani family who expected him to marry from a related Muslim clan. She started dating Dodi Al-Fayed, son of her host for the summer of 1997, Mohamed Al-Fayed. She had planned to taker her sons to the Hamptons, in NY, but security officials prevented it.

She then decided against a planned trip to Thailand and accepted the invitation to vacation in south of France where the Al-Fayed had a large security detail and a multi-million dollar yacht. On August 30, 1997, she and Dodie left the Ritz Hotel in Paris being pursued by paparazzi and crashed in a tunnel in Paris where she and Dodie both died.

Elton John's Memorial Song for the Princess


In summary, late on September 6, 1997 Diana’s funeral was seen by millions as she was buried on the Spenser Family Estate. She left behind a world of mourners, as it seems so many people were able to relate to her on some level and admire her for the many accomplishments in her short, tragic life. Maybe her love story is the one she had with the commoner.

© 2010 Pamela Oglesby

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Comments 70 comments

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 6 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

It's amazing that such a seemingly charmed life should end up like it did.... sad story, but a great hub!!!!!

Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV


Great hub I've always admired Diana but I never knew she had a wicked stepmother, Lady Raine sounds horrid to all of those children. It's a wonder Diana turned into such a kind and beautiful Lady.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Carolina and Tom, It does seem like her life should have been charmed but it really wasn't. I always admired her also and I was surprised when I learned of the wicked step mother but it was documented in several places, so I believe it is true.

Bail Up ! profile image

Bail Up ! 6 years ago

Indeed a great lady Princess Di. I was one of those glued to the set when the first news came out about the crash and her death. She certainly was one classy lady what a shame her life was cut so short. Interesting read.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Bail Up, I think so many of us were interested in her. Prince Charles always seemed like a stuffed shirt and she was smiling, vibrant, wanting to help people and you are going to like someone like that. Thanks for your comment.

Putz Ballard profile image

Putz Ballard 6 years ago

Pamela, great hub and information I did not know. Such a sad ending for such a beautiful woman.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Robert, Thanks for your comment and I agree.

SheriSapp profile image

SheriSapp 6 years ago from West Virginia

I vividly remember when she died. I was pregnant at the time, and overly emotional so I did cry some. I was never terribly interested in Di or the royals in general. It was truly heartwrenching to know she left behind two relatively young children. I will never forget the envelope on her casket that said simply "Mummy". SO SAD!!

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AARON99 6 years ago

Excellent hub but a traggic story! She was just next to GOD to poor people. She could live for some more time, but again it was destiny. Well done. Enjoy.

katiem2 profile image

katiem2 6 years ago from I'm outta here

Pam, What a wonderful Hub, I love her and never grow tired of hearing the good things about her. It so sad that just when she gained her freedom she was left with such a wee bit of time. Thanks for bringing this up in such a lovely way. Peace :)

lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 6 years ago from USA

Pamela, this was beautiful and I remember it so well. She was loved and she was a wonderful Mother. Thanks for reminding us again of her life. Linda

RevLady profile image

RevLady 6 years ago from Lantana, Florida

When I think of Princess Di, girlish dreams and adult nightmares comes to mind.

Nice summary!

Forever His,

Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Great hub with all the information of the greatest Lady the Royal family every had. That Charles must be blind. Apparently they argue like anything, yelling and throwing things. Definitely Lady and Gentleman. But it served him right and her - old whatsit.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

I was out for the morning so I must thank you all in a group for your wonderful comments. I enjoyed writing this tragic story as I had respect for her as I watched her care about those that were ill or ill treated. Thanks.

breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 6 years ago

What a terrific hub about a very tragic life.If only she had never married Charles, she might be here today.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Pop, Thanks for your comment and you are right she might still be here if she hadn't married Charles.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

This hub was very educational to me. Princess Di was an icon to be looked upon by everyone, She inspired so many yet how many knew how hard her life really was. Great article.

anglnwu profile image

anglnwu 6 years ago

Lovely lady with a heart for community service. Thanks for the interesting details and even now, years after her demise, her legacy lives on. Great job, Pam.

rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

I was really hoping someone would write on Diana for HubMob (this is not in English or Scottish HM RSS though). What a huge project this must have been. A great read about a beautiful person with a tragic end.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Angifwu & rncrayne, tbank you for the comments.

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

beautiful hub like Lady Di and this hub contains many nformation, tragic indeed, I liher her a lot, who wouldn't be, Thank you Pam, Maita

a2z50 profile image

a2z50 6 years ago

Wonderful Hub , great content ! Who could not like this kind lady ? In a way she did complete her purpose in life even though her life was so shortened. And what could she have accomplished if she lived longer. And what a proud mom she certainly is.

Thank You!


As Always Also Rprcarz50

Roberta 6 years ago

Tragic story about such a beautiful princess. Had no idea about her childhood. Just proves that all the money in the world does not bring happiness.

JannyC profile image

JannyC 6 years ago

My Mother and Sister adored her. I was young and really did not understand the concept of it all back then. She was a great person and it is sad to of lost her so soon but she was maybe was too precious and people were not treasuring her like they should of so God took her home.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Miata, a2z50, Roberta and Janny, Thank you so much for your comments. She was certainly an interesting lady and maybe she did fulfill her purpose is some way with her community spirit.

ladyjane1 profile image

ladyjane1 6 years ago from Texas

Oh I so remember watching Diana's wedding on television. I was 18 and pregnant with my first born son. The wedding was like a fairytale and I followed her life closely and still feel that she got the short end of the stick when it comes to Charles who I think was even lucky she looked in his direction. Oh dont get me started on him. Anyway, her ending was tragic no one saw that coming and the funeral with her sons walking behind her carriage was so sad that I cried buckets that day. Such a well written hub Pamela. Great job.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Ladyjane, Thank you so much for your comment. I remember watching her wedding, wondering if she wasn't scared because she looked so young and beautiful. I cried at her funeral also. I always liked her and I thought Charles was anything but interesting as a man to have a relationship with of any type.

nancy_30 profile image

nancy_30 6 years ago from Georgia

Thank you for this very informational hub. I learned a lot from it. It's such a sad story.

Ann Nonymous profile image

Ann Nonymous 6 years ago from Virginia

She was a beautiful woman who led an amazing life that unfortunately ended in tredegy. My mom tells me how she was in a large crowd once and was honored by getting to see Lady Di's head!!!!

Thanks for this tribute to her, Pamela!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Nancy & Ann, Thank yo so much for your comments.

habee profile image

habee 6 years ago from Georgia

This was so sad. I watched the wedding on TV, and it was like a fairy tale. Terrible ending for such a beautiful person.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Habee, Yes, I agree. Thanks for your comment.

Support Med. profile image

Support Med. 6 years ago from Michigan

Definitely a lady with a heart of gold and filled with love. I think she just wanted to be regular people rather than royalty. She is and will always be missed. This hub is well written and informative. Good hub.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Support Med, I am glad you enjoyed the hub and I agree with you. I think she would have preferred a normal lift versus royalty. Thank you for your comment.

Sage Williams profile image

Sage Williams 6 years ago

Pam - I don't know how I managed to miss this hub. Princess Diana was one of my favorites. Just reading your hub took me back over all of her hard work and triumphs of her life.

Such a beautiful soul she was. You did an amazing job on this hub. Your research is phenomenal.

Great Job! Rated Up


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Sage, Thank you so much for the comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub.

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Mam, Can I request something, I am a great fan of Lady Di, and thank you for this wonderful hub, would you like to include a youtube capsule -- a song for her at her funeral by Elton John -- If it is not ok, I still appreciate your efforts here, I rated this up, Maita

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Miata, I think that is a wonderful idea. Elton John sang so beautifully and I am glad you thought of that idea. Thank you.

wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 6 years ago from New York, NY

what a beautiful tribute to Diana . .the world certainly lost a true gem when she passed. Great Hub .. really enjoyed it!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Thank you for your comments.

prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

Thank you Pam, Maita

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Miate, Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

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cosette 6 years ago

i loved Diana. she was indeed the people's princess. thank you for writing about her.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Cosette, I am glad you enjoyed the hub. I always admired Diana also. Thanks for your comment.

katyzzz profile image

katyzzz 6 years ago from Sydney, Australia

It certainly was a sad end for a beautiful but disturbed soul, a randy bunch these Royals aren't they, no morals even or especially way back.

Lovely hub as always, Pamela.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Katyzzz, It sure was a sad ending. Thanks for your comment.

easylearningweb profile image

easylearningweb 6 years ago

Thank you for this hub. I admired Diana so much and enjoyed reading more about her life. This was a wonderful tribute to her. Wonderful hub.


Easy Learning

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Easylearning, Thanks so much for your comments.

Habby profile image

Habby 6 years ago from College Station, Texas

Pamela99, I'm not sure how I didn't see this hub when I first began to follow you, but trust me when I say I read the whole thing.

I was a young child and definitely in a "princess" phase when I got up early in the morning to watch Charles and Diana's wedding. It was so beautiful, mythical, and enchanting. My grandparents were also from England, so there may have been a unique connection for me with the whole thing.

Thank you for writing a helpful history of her life. I learned MANY new things!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States Author

Habby, Thank you so much for your comments. I watched every bit of her wedding also.

GmaGoldie profile image

GmaGoldie 5 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

Love Diana - learned allot. She was a beautiful lady inside and out.

Have you seen the latest tabloid - a secret daughter and she looks just like Diana! It is real or photoshop? Time will only tell.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States Author

GmaGoldie, Thank you for your comments. I doubt the story of a secret daughter but you are right - time will tell.

liby 4 years ago

I am is school still and I am doing this debate on how should come back to the 21st century i have chosen Diana I i thought I knew her but i really didn't I really. I want to be like Diana in many way's but in some i don't.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

liby, I guess this hub has given you some new information. While I think Princess Diana was a wonderful person, she did have her problems. Aim for those qualities that you admire and understand that she is only human. She made mistakes just like we all do. Thank you for your comments.

Maduhi 4 years ago

Thanks for the information hubis ...after all these years Diana is still the real princess of our one ever borns like her..i like evry bit of her.and of camille, she would get for what she have u dii

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Maduhi, Yes, Diana will always be our favorite princess. Thank you for your comments.

ishwaryaa22 profile image

ishwaryaa22 4 years ago from Chennai, India

An engaging hub! I am a big fan of late Princess Diana. She died 15 years ago but her legacy continues to live on for many more years to come! She was the only real-life fairy-tale princess that the world ever had and there is none like her! May her soul rest in peace always.

Thanks for SHARING. Beautiful & Interesting. Voted up

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

ishwaryaa22, I always admired the Princess, which is why I wrote the hub. I agree with your views on her life. Thank you for your comments.

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brenda1183 4 years ago

very fine page, thank you for your work. I wasn't all that interested in Diana during her lifetime, the shenanigans of the Royals were like part of the background wallpaper. But recently I started reading Eleanor Herman's "Sex With Kings", a history of royal mistresses, thinking it would be just a light gossipy unimportant book -- and got quite a different take on the Princess Diana story. Herman treated Camilla as just another royal mistress, typical of the line-up, and Charles as being pretty much in the line-up also, having the prerogative of keeping mistress as well as wife right from the get-go.

That was when I realized what a tragedy Diana's life had been. She was only 19 years old. She thought she had been chosen for love, but really she was chosen because she was a virgin. As Herman pointed out in her book, in 1980 virgins were hard to come by. And the royals have some pretty old fashined ideas of keeping the bloodline pure, as if a wife was a pedigreed dog or horse.

Pamela, you have the only page, found on a google search, that speaks of the tragic life of Diana, not just the tragic death. best wishes

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Brenda, I did not realize I had the only page about Diana's tragic life. The book sounds very interesting and also very tragic for the young virgins. Thank you so much for your comments.

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brenda1183 4 years ago

The royal princesses would be producing the heirs to the throne, and an "unpolluted" line of succession is what was wanted. So princesses were required to be virgins at marriage. This is an antiquated idea of genetics but was still popular among dog breeders right up to modern times, they might get rid of an otherwise faultless pedigreed bitch who had an encounter with a neighborhood mongrel dog.

The royal mistresses, historically, were not necessarily virgins as they would be producing bastards, not heirs to the throne.

The tragedy of Diana is that she was a modern woman caught in a time warp of traditional beliefs and ways. She refused to tolerate another woman in her marriage, probably unlike some of her elders and betters. She took on the royal family and lost. She was more of a heavyweight than what I gave her credit for at the time.

The many reports of hysterical acting out, of bulimia etc, were perhaps not signs of innate psychological instability but rather a response to an intolerable situation in which she was overwhelmed by superior forces. The royals were absolutely not going to give up those precious heirs -- or the royal mistresses either.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Brenda, Thanks for all the additional information and I think you are probably correct. I think her life was so difficult and I will always wonder about her death. Thanks for adding this information to the article.

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brenda1183 4 years ago

I enjoyed our exchange, Pamela. You are a very approachable person and it was helpful for me to write down some of the ideas about Diana that were floating around in my head after reading the history of royal mistresses and their high place at court.

Diana is not the first modern woman to marry a prince only to find he was really a toad, and she won't be the last, but surely she is the most sympathetic. Queen of Hearts, indeed!

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

Brenda, I have enjoyed your ideas and all the things you shared that I did not know. I'm sure she won't be the last woman to marry a toad! Indeed! Thanks for all of your comments.

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sarosh kumar 4 years ago

Lady Diana is my all time favorite. I loved reading this beautiful article of princess Diana. Her death is a tragic loss tot he whole world

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States Author

sarosh kumar, I feel the same way. She was a beautiful lady. Thank you for your comments.

grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 7 months ago from Philippines

I feel so sad for Diana. I hope the marriage of William to Katharine lasts for the long-term and stay in love. It would be everything his mother ever wanted for him. Wonderful article, Pamela.

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Pamela99 6 months ago from United States Author

I agree. I hope their marriage lasts also. Thank you for your comments.

Anita Hasch profile image

Anita Hasch 3 months ago from Port Elizabeth

Super hub. Lady Diana was admired by everybody. The tragic loss of her life was felt across the world.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 months ago from United States Author

I agree. Thank you so much for your comment.

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