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Princess Di - her life and death in videos

Updated on November 3, 2014
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An introduction - hardly necessary!

Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Frances; née Spencer; 1 July 1961 - 31 August 1997) was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, eldest son and heir apparent of Elizabeth II. Her two sons, Princes William and Harry, are second and third, respectively, in line to the thrones of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and 12 other Commonwealth Realms.

Diana was born into an aristocratic background with true royal Stuart ancestry.On her mother's side, Diana was Irish, Scottish, and American. Her great-grandmother was the famous New York heiress Frances Work.On her father's side, Diana was a direct descendant of Charles II through four illegitimate sons.

Diana, a life worth living

Princess Di Charity Work

Young Diana

Teenage Diana

Early Life

Diana Frances Spencer was the youngest daughter of Edward Spencer, Viscount Althorp, and his first wife, Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp (formerly the Honourable Frances Burke Roche) at Park House on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. She was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, by Rt. Rev. Percy Herbert (rector of the church and former Bishop of Norwich and Blackburn); her godparents included John Floyd (the chairman of Christie's).

During her parents' acrimonious divorce over Lady Althorp's adultery with wallpaper heir Peter Shand Kydd, Diana's mother took her and Diana's brother to live in an apartment in London's Knightsbridge, where Diana attended a local day school. That Christmas, the Spencer children went to celebrate with their father and he subsequently refused to allow them to return to the capital and their mother. Lady Althorp sued for custody of her children, but Lord Althorp's rank, aided by Lady Althorp's mother's testimony against her daughter during the trial, meant that custody of Diana and her brother was awarded to their father. On the death of her paternal grandfather, Albert Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer in 1975, Diana's father became the 8th Earl Spencer, at which time she became Lady Diana Spencer and moved from her childhood home at Park House to her family's sixteenth-century ancestral home of Althorp.

A year later, Lord Spencer married Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the only daughter of the highly eccentric romantic novelist Barbara Cartland, after being named as the "other party" in the Earl and Countess of Dartmouth's divorce. During this time Diana travelled up and down the country, living between her parents homes - with her father at the Spencer seat in Northamptonshire, and with her mother, who had moved north west of Glasgow in Scotland. Diana, like her siblings, did not get along with her new stepmother, sending her hate mail, allegedly throwing her down a flight of stairs and having a very public argument with her at her brothers wedding in 1989. According to some accounts, Diana threw her stepmother's possessions out of the windows of Althorp in black bin liners after her father's funeral in 1992. The women reached a truce, even a friendship, towards the end of the princess's life.

Princess Di and Her Boys

Marriage ....

Prince Charles's love life had always been the subject of press speculation, and he was linked to numerous glamorous and aristocratic women. In his early thirties, he was under increasing pressure to marry. Legally, the only requirement was that he could not marry a Roman Catholic; a member of the Church of England was preferred. His great-uncle Lord Mountbatten of Burma, who was assassinated by an IRA bomb in 1979, had advised him to marry a virginal young woman who would look up to him. In order to gain the approval of his family and their advisors, any potential bride was expected to have a royal or aristocratic background, as well as be Protestant and, preferably, a virgin. Diana seemed to meet all of these qualifications. They married at St Paul's Cathedral on the 29 July 1981, watched by a global audience of almost one billion.

In the mid-1980s, the marriage of Diana and Charles fell apart, an event at first suppressed but then sensationalised by the world media, drawing in Camilla Parker Bowles, who was confronted by Diana at a society party and was also, allegedly, on the receiving end of late-night telephone death threats orchestrated by the princess. Both the Prince and Princess of Wales allegedly spoke to the press through friends, each blaming the other for the marriage's demise. In her famous television interview with Martin Bashir on Panorama, Diana admitted to an extra-marital affair with James Hewitt. Other men rumoured to have been her lovers, both before and after her divorce, included her bodyguard, Barry Mannakee, property developer Christopher Whalley, banker Philip Waterhouse, King Juan Carlos of Spain, Islamic art expert Oliver Hoare, heart surgeon Dr. Hasnat Khan, singer Bryan Adams, John F. Kennedy, Jr., rugby captain Will Carling, Harrods heir Dodi Fayed. The true nature of her relationships with these men seems to have varied from platonic friendship to romance.

Diana's Wedding

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In The Name of Love

..and Divorce

The Prince and Princess of Wales were separated on 9 December 1992, by which time her relations with the rest of the Royal Family, excepting the Duchess of York, had also reached rock bottom. Their divorce was finalised on 28 August 1996. Diana received a lump sum settlement of around £17,000,000 along with a legal order preventing her from discussing the details. The Princess relinquished the style Her Royal Highness and instead was styled as Diana, Princess of Wales. However, since her death, Buckingham Palace has maintained that Diana was still, at the time, officially a member of the Royal Family, since she was the mother of the second- and third-in-line to the throne. This has since been confirmed by the Deputy Coroner of the Queen's Household, Baroness Butler-Sloss, who after a pre-hearing on 8 January 2007 ruled that: "I am satisfied that at her death, Diana Princess of Wales continued to be considered as a member of the Royal Household." (That opinion appeared to be overthrown, however, when three judges on appeal in February 2007 ruled that Baroness Butler-Sloss should not sit as a Coroner of the Royal Household but as an assistant of the Knightsbridge Coroner, and should conduct the inquest in public and with a jury.) After the divorce, Diana retained her apartment on an upper floor of Kensington Palace, which remained her home until her death. She also began a programme of redecoration, and gave her remaining, loyal staff members a pay rise.

After her divorce Diana , free of the royal restriction on political involvement, began to align herself in causes which had political overtones, especially those on the left, although always on a humanitarian rather than directly political level. She pursued her own interests in philanthropy, music, fashion and travel - although she still required royal consent to take her children on holiday or represent the UK abroad. Without a holiday or weekend home, Diana spent most of her time in London, often without her sons, who were with Prince Charles or at boarding school. She assuaged her loneliness with visits to the gym and cinema, private charity work, incognito midnight walks through Central London and by compulsively watching her favourite soap operas (EastEnders and Brookside) with a 'TV dinner' in the isolation of her apartment.

Bombshell Panorama Interview

Charity Work

Starting in the mid- to late 1980s, the Princess of Wales became well known for her support of charity projects. This stemmed naturally from her role as Princess of Wales - she was expected to engage in hospital visitations where she comforted the sick and in so doing, assume the patronage of various charitable organizations - and from an interest in certain illnesses and health-related matters. Owing to Public Relations efforts in which she agreed to appear as a figurehead, Diana used her influential status to positively assist the campaign against landmines, a cause which won the Nobel Prize in 1997 in tribute, and with helping to decrease discrimination against victims of AIDS. Her work often drew an analogy with that of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

In April 1987, the Princess of Wales was one of the first high-profile celebrities to be photographed touching a person infected with HIV.

Diana also made clandestine visits to show kindness to the sick. According to nurses, she would turn up unannounced (for example, at the Mildmay Hospice in London) with specific instructions that her visit was to be concealed from the media.

The last journey

Elton John sings at the funeral

More reading on Princess Diana

Comments

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    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 

      24 months ago from Philippines

      How sad that she didn't get the life she deserved, but she got the love of the people. The videos are beautiful. well done.

    • Billrrrr profile image

      Bill Russo 

      5 years ago from Cape Cod

      A tragic, frail person exposed under the mircroscope of worldwide publicity. No one ever looks good when viewed so closely.

    • profile image

      lotus-frangipani 

      7 years ago

      I LOVE DIANA

    working

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