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Her Childhood and Family
The late Princess Diana has a unique and humble, yet shocking biography; she led a fascinating life right from her birth to her death. The full names of Princess Di, Princess Diana, Lady Diana or The princess of Wales as was famously called were Diana Frances Spencer. The late princess Diana was born around 7 in the morning, on 1/7/1961 in Sandringham, Norfolk, England. She was baptized at St Mary Magdalene church in Sandringham, Norfolk. The baptism was presided over by the Rt. Rev. Percy Herbert.
Her family was a humble one. The father of the late Princess Diana was called Earl Spencer. The mother was known as Mrs. Shand Kydd. Her parents, former lord and lady have since died. Right from her beginning, Princess Diana’s family was privileged to be very close to the royal family.
Earl Spenser was an officer in the Royal Scots Greys, attending to the sovereign King George VI and later Queen Elizabeth II. Her parents’ wedding was the year’s social event in 1954. The chief guest for this wedding at Westminster Abbey was Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles’s mother .
Princess Diana’s father inherited the title, Earl Spencer, consequently making her Lady Diana Spencer in 1975. She was a shy girl in her growing up. Her hobbies included fashion, dancing, helping children, shopping and listening to music. The late Diana was the third born in a family of four. That is, a younger brother and two sisters who were older than her. Her eldest sister was Jane and the other, Sarah. Their brother was called Charles.
The princess grew up in the estate of the Queen, in Sandringham and later in Northamptonshire. Diana studied at Riddles worth Hall and West Heath School. Here, Lady Diana was good in sporting activities, especially swimming, but failed in her academics. She completed her studies in Switzerland. Her first job was at a central London kindergarten immediately after completion of her education. Before she worked as a kindergarten teacher, Diana volunteered as a nanny and a cook in London .
Her problems commenced right after birth. Her parents were not happy when she was not born a boy as per their wishes. Then, at the tender age of 6, in 1969, Princess Diana’s parents divorced, marking the beginning of her misery. The issue affected the princess emotionally and only her strong character made her pull through the hardships. The misery intensified with the parents’ disputes over the children’s custody. After a long struggle in the law courts, all the four children were finally left under their father’s custody.
She got so stressed that she made several suicidal attempts. Throughout her life, Princess Diana faced much criticism from her parents, her husband and the press. The burden was made lighter when she was sent to a boarding institution, West Heath Public School in Kent. Here, she concentrated more on her studies than on her family, though she eventually failed in her final examination.
Her Engagement and Wedding
The humble Diana was to later be the talk of the century after she walked down the aisle with her prince in a colorful wedding. Princess Diana and Prince Charles started dating and later got engaged in 1980 and 1981 respectively. At that time, the whole world was awed by their blooming romance. In the first weekend of February 1980, the princess spent at Sandringham, with the royal family only.
This was an exciting experience for the late Diana. In July 1980, a friend of Diana known as Philip invited her together with Prince Charles and several other guests to a barbecue in Petworth where his family lived. During the event, Prince Charles and Princess Diana sat next to each other and they chat about general life issues. After that, the prince called the princess for several dates. For instance, they went for fishing together on River Dee. This is where their love started and the rest is history.
On 6th February 1981, Prince Charles asked Diana whether she would marry him, at an outing at Windsor castle. The excited Diana accepted the proposal. The two made a public appearance as a couple on 9th March 1981 during a charity event in London. Consequently, Princess Diana lost her private life to the media who were always abreast with what the couple was doing.
Initially, everyone doubted the couple’s compatibility as the two did not have a lot in common. Their hobbies were diverse and their age gap was a big one. Prince Charles loved gardening and was reserved. On the other hand, the princess loved dancing, music and charity work. Moreover, the princess was 13 years younger than Princess Charles.Bottom of Form
On 29/7/1981, the world joined the couple in celebrating their beautiful wedding. Only three thousand, five hundred people were allowed to attend the wedding while about seven hundred and fifty million followed the proceedings on television. The wedding took place at St Paul’s cathedral, London. A renowned singer, Kiri, performed Handel’s song, Let the bright seraphim during the wedding. Their wedding was the wedding of the decade and everyone wished them well.
The entire world expected that the marriage of the prince and her princess would be a fairy tale; one that everyone would admire. Their marriage steps were thus followed keenly by the media. However, contrary to people’s expectations, the marriage was not a perfect one. Princess Diana was Prince Charles’ first wife. She earned herself the title, “Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Wales” immediately after her 1981 marriage to the Prince of Wales. Another example of a princess of Wales at that time was Alexandra of Denmark.
The couple was blessed with two handsome boys. The first son was called William Arthur and the other Henry Charles David. They were born on 21/6/1982 and 15/9/1984 respectively. Their second born was popularly referred as Prince Harry.
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The beginning of the troubles in her marriage was after the birth of their second born prince, Henry. The late Princess Diana got overwhelmed by the stressing and dynamic responsibilities of being a mother of two boys, a wife of a prince, a princess and handling the constant pressures of the media.
These overwhelming roles made her more depressed, sad and lonely. This consequently made her husband drift away from her, hence adding to her loneliness. The issues got intensified with time and eventually, the love birds had to separate.
The couple’s separation was a great shock to the entire continent. Everyone thought that their love was destined to flourish forever. In 1992, British Prime Minister John Major, announced the separation. Apart from her stressful roles and pressures, Princess Diana had been fighting a chronic disease and was evidently leading a lonely and sad life that caused her depression and bulimia.
She kept all the sadness and unhappiness to herself as she was not allowed to share with anyone. The public only got aware of this sad life during a press interview with Prince Charles. The prince publicly admitted to straying with Camilla Parker Bowles, who was his ex-girlfriend. The interview confirmed that the royal family was not as perfect as people thought; it also had defects, just like any normal family.
A Reliable source, a close friend of Prince Charles, revealed that prince Charles admitted to not love Diana at the time of her engagement though he would, with time. Moreover, the prince admitted that he married so that he could be relieved off the pressures to marry by the media and his family especially his uncle, Lord Mountbatten.
The qualifications that the royal family wanted were all favorable for Diana. That is his bride-to- be had to be a virgin, a protestant and not a widower or separated. Prince Charles’s former girlfriend, Camilla parker, became his second wife after he divorced Princess Diana. Weirdly, Camilla had selected Princess Diana to be Prince Charles’s bride.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana got separated on 9/12/1992 and finalized their divorce on 28/8/1996. As a result of the divorce, Princess Diana received $28 million and $600,000 annually. Moreover, she lost the title, “Her Royal Highness, the Princess of Wales” after her divorce in 1996. Although everyone called her, “Princess Diana” till the time of her death, she had already lost the title.
The prince and the princess blamed one another for the breakup of their marriage. After the breakup, both moved on, with Prince Charles dating his first girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles. The princess dated various other men, including James Gilbey and Dodi Fayed, among others. In 2004, the media broadcast episodes of confessions of the princess’s suicide attempts and her struggles in the marriage.
Although Princess Diana was not properly educated, she beat all odds to make achievements that she is world widely celebrated for. Her achievements made her be admired and loved by the entire world. Although she was deeply hurting within, her good character, right from her childhood made her a role model to the entire continent. She was generous and had a bubbly personality. Princess Diana Spencer was a philanthropist and a generous lady. She was warm, vibrant, cheerful and cared for the poor and everyone she met.
She was not only a princess to her prince but also a princess to the general society. It is due to this reason that she received various awards that made her be respected worldwide. For instance, the photo on appendix I below shows the princess smiling during a fundraising event in New York, where she was given the UCP humanitarian award.
The late princess was involved in various worthy causes that were of great human benefit. For instance, Diana was actively involved in the creation of awareness on the deadly disease, AIDS. She broke down the prejudices of HIV/AIDS. She was the first person to be photographed shaking hands with a victim of the deadly disease.
This tore down the prejudice that people should not shake hands with infected persons. In 2002, former South African President Nelson Mandela, during a press conference announced his plan to collaborate with the princess’s memorial fund to support orphans and families of victims of HIV/AIDS. The president during the conference, praised the princess as someone who had a heart for the world.
Moreover, during a lecture in December 2001, Bill Clinton said that the princess was enough prove that victims of HIV/AIDS should not be isolated but should be treated with kindness. She thus, changed people’s perception of the virus and encouraged the victims to live on. This saved very many lives. She also used to appear unceremoniously at the hospitals to visit the sick. For instance, she frequented the Mildmay hospice, London, under instructions that the media should not know of her visits.
In addition, she was also a source of motivation for the people who had depression issues. The late princess Di was a heroine due to her extemporary service to the community. She took advantage of her powers and famous nature to improve the lives of the needy. The needy were the less privileged in the society like the poor, the sick and victims of social injustices.
She was mostly concerned with victims of AIDS, substance abuse, orphans, and the homeless. The princess was also an activist for eating disorders. This was motivated by her personal experience with an eating disorder. She raised awareness on the same to make people live healthily, to keep fit.
In addition, Princess Diana was opposed to the massive land mines. She therefore campaigned against landmines. For instance, In January 1997, she visited Angola as a red cross volunteer. During this time, she talked to the landmines survivors in the hospitals and also took part in landmine awareness lectures. Here, the dangers of landmines to the society were discussed. Then, in August 1997, she visited Bosnia for the same purpose as of the Angola visit.
Moreover, as part of her philanthropy, Princess Diana went back to give support to her old boarding school where she attended her O level education. She offered financial and emotional support to the students and the teachers. This was as part of her appreciation to the school for molding her into whom she had become.
It is therefore, very evident that her memory will live on forever in the lives of the Britons. People continue to celebrate her life, more than a decade after her death. She will definitely be missed by those people who appreciated her charitable causes, in Britain and the rest of the world.
More than a decade after her demise, questions are still being raised as to the cause of the princess’s death. This is due to the circumstances that preceded her death. After her divorce, Princess Diana fell in love with someone. His name was Dodi Fayed. On Saturday, 30/8/1997, the two had a wonderful time during the weekend in Paris.
That night, they had dinner in the Ritz restaurant, which was owned by Dodi’s father. The media, as usual, followed the couple wherever they went and watched their every movement. Diana never liked this idea as it made her uncomfortable and nervous. She had undoubtedly become the most photographed person worldwide as the media used to follow her everywhere she went.
That night, the two tried all they could to hide from the press. They even used a rare exit from the hotel and used a different vehicle (Mercedes 280) from the one that the press knew, both as tactics to evade the press. However, the journalists couldn’t be kept away. One of the hotel’s security guards known as Henri Paul drove the car while their body guard, Trevor Rees-Jones occupied the seat at the front. The couple occupied the back seat.
This was some minutes past midnight. The journalists were all over the sides of the car with each of them trying to get perfect photos of the couple. The driver, in an attempt to overpower the press sped off but unfortunately lost control and crushed in a tunnel. The crush sounded like an explosion. The car rolled over for 360 degrees.
Henry and Dodi died on the spot. The body guard got severe injuries. Sadly, the princess lost her life at 3:57 am, Sunday, 31/ 8/1997, in the operation room in La Pitié-Salpêtriére hospital, due to a torn vein in her rib cage that caused severe internal bleeding .
The questions as to whom or what was responsible for her death still remain unanswered. This is because, some people say that the press overwhelmed the driver, others maintain that the driver was too drunk to drive, others suggest that the occupants of the vehicle did not stop the driver from over speeding while others blame it on the fact that they did not have seatbelts on.
On 6th Jan.2004 a special British inquest, that required that the police investigate the death of the princess, was launched. A separate one that investigated Dodi’s death was also started. The aim of these inquests was not to lay blame on anyone but to determine the facts of the mysterious death.
Princess Diana’s last progression reminded the world of several years ago when the world watched her carriage as it moved towards a seemingly bright future during her wedding. The heroine was laid to rest on 6/9/1997. She died at the age of 36, and height 1.8metres, in Paris, France. The big capital city of London was host to millions of mourners, on the Westminster Abbey Route.
A somber mood engulfed the city as mourners followed the proceedings of the ceremony. The hooves of horses and the alternating soothing sounds of a bell could be heard in the hush of the moment. Flowers carpeted the streets. As mourners got a view of the procession, wails could be heard.
People screamed Princess Diana’s names in despair and also how much they loved and will miss her. The traditional norms and values of silence during burials had therefore been broken as people’s hearts were now open to express how much grief they felt for the princess’s death.
Her burial received wide media coverage with mourners all over the world following keenly, every single bit of the burial. It was a sad burial as those who attended hugged and cried in celebration of a life well lived. Her life was celebrated in a modern and liberal manner .
Queen Elizabeth II, in her tribute noted that the princess is hard to forget, especially by those who knew or felt her. Only 2000 people were allowed inside the Westminster Abbey to bury her. However millions of mourners gathered in the streets. White lilies, which were her favorite, were spread on the top of her coffin. Moreover, Prince William placed on it, a bouquet of white tulips. Then, a card that accompanied a bouquet of white roses was also placed on the coffin by Prince Harry.
There were several close family members, among them Prince Charles, that accompanied the cortege. Alongside them were, 5 representatives from the a hundred and ten charities that Diana was part of. Some of these representatives were on wheelchairs while others were on crutches. Celebrities like Diana Ross among others were also present. Conclusion
In a nutshell, the princess’s life from 1/7/1961 to 31/8/1997 is heartbreaking and fascinating one. Although her life seemed like a perfect one, it was not without flaws and defects. She however emerged a courageous woman who tried to make the world a better place not only for her but also for the rest of the citizens.
She suffered greatly during her life. This was in her childhood, health, marriage, and social wellbeing. Her marriage was loveless and full of rejection from the prince and the rest of the sovereign family. This contributed to her divorce.
However, her good character and strong will, right from her childhood made her a role model to the entire continent. Her life and marriage may have ended but her memories live on forever in the hearts of those whom she helped. Her death was a great loss to people who had trusted her to help them financially and emotionally. Until her demise, Diana’s occupation was a children’s activist. Due to her cheerful personality, she pulled through all the life’s hurts.
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- Ibid., 3
- The Life of Diana, Princess of Wales. Web.
- Ibid., 3
- Ibid., 4
- Morton, Andrew. Diana: Her True Story. 1992: 1-272. Gale Virtual Reference. Web.
- Ibid., 4
- Engagement: Princess Diana’s Engagement. 1998. Web.
- Ibid., 4
- Rosenberg, Jennifer. “Diana, Princess of Wales.” The New York Times 2007. Web.
- Princess Diana. Web.
- Mayer, Catherine. “Why Princess Diana Mattered: How Diana Transformed Britain.” Time Specials Thursday 16 Aug. 2007. Print.Top of FoBottom of Form
- Trussell, Jeff. “Angel Hero: Princess Diana.” 2006. Web.
- “Princess Diana Dies in Paris Crash.” BBC News 1997. Web.
- “Accident: Princess Diana’s Accident.” 1998. Web.
- Chua-Eoan, Howard., Wulf, Steve., Kluger, Jeffrey., Redman, Christopher and Van Biema, David. “Diana 1961-1997: Death of a Princess.” Time Magazine 1997 .print.
- Lowe, Brendan. “Why Princess Diana Mattered.” Time Specials 2007. Print.
- Gray, Paul. “Farewell, Diana.” Time Magazine. Web.
- Elliott, Michael. “Why Princess Diana Mattered.” Time Specials Thursday, 2007. Print.