Personality of Princess Diana
“I am going to write my script from now on”
Princess Diana, most often addressed as the “Princess of Wales,” or “Diana, Princess of Wales” was born as The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer. Diana, in her short life, was in her own way able to dominate the last two decades of the twentieth century. She has been described by many, as the most famous, and the most photographed person of her time. Princess Diana was until recent times, one of the most prominent personalities in the history of The British Royal Family, and is still admired all around the world. Although she lived a short life; it was a full life. The Princess was able to leave a legacy that no one has surpassed to this day. She was the wife of an English Prince, a mother, a style icon, a humanitarian and above all, loved by many throughout the world. Consequently, she became referred to as “The People’s Princess”.
Princess Diana had one of the most fascinating personalities the world has ever seen. Her personality evolved from a lifetime of experiences, including love, fame, joy, tragedy, and even death. It can be said that Diana left this world with a magical spirit that would never exist again.
Upon her death, at her funeral service, to honour Diana’s memory The Queen gave the order for the Union flag to be lowered. She was the first person in history, other than a monarch, that the Union flag was flown at half-mast for. It was a moment that showed just how important and influential she was.
Here is the crucial question: who was Princess Diana? To answer this question, one needs to get into her character and delve into the events that took place. Since she is inevitably one of the most famous figures of all-time, there are a lot of factors and controversies to consider. While these controversies may not necessarily be true, they also hold the key to uncovering the type of person she was. She is still talked about to this day by people who were alive during her lifetime and those who were not.
Her personality does not end with death. This is because she continues to live through history, and in the hearts of those who cherish her memories. Was she happy or sad? Was she kind or cruel? Was she real or just another actress on the walk of fame? These are great questions, but her personality extends deeper than this. If indeed, there is no end to this legendary personality, so let us start from the beginning.
Various psychologists and methods have characterised this complex woman into several personality types, but overriding all of these, she is an INFP (introversion, intuition, feeling, perception). This is one of the 16 personality types identified by the Myers-Briggs Personality test. Often described as mediator or idealist personality. INFP is a special personality type known for its creative, open-minded, and calm behaviours. People who possess an INFP personality tend to relate to other people compassionately, sympathetically, and gently. Diana was a real and strong idealist who was dominated by the “F-feelings” aspect of her personality. This can be observed in her charity works.
Even as a child, Diana was known for her compassion, although she did lack self-confidence. One significant factor that modified her personality was her parent’s divorce. She seemed to blame herself for their divorce, which is the usual assumption for children in that circumstance. This had a significant impact on her behaviours and personality. According to her father, she had a sympathetic face, “the sort that you can’t help but trust.”
Years before she became a celebrity, she had demonstrated her caring character as she worked as a nanny, and also as a playground assistant. This confirmed that she had a remarkable ability with children.
As a mediator, her passion for music, dancing, and the dream to be a ballerina cannot be questioned. Mediators always look for an avenue to bury their inner loneliness and seek a creative outlet for self-expression. Mediators prefer professions that require creativity as they strive to express their inner feelings and fears through fictional characters, metaphors and symbols.
Diana was shy as a child and adolescent, although, she still found easy ways to express herself through her dedication to music as a pianist. She also loved tap dancing, skiing, swimming, and tennis. She found she was able to connect with people through these activities.
In her adult life, her sympathetic demeanour inspired her to always visit people in need: the neglected, abused, ill, and dying. This service to humanity, she did from the kindness of her heart and not to gain fame. She visited these hospitals and places of care regularly, and stayed with the patients for hours. She talked to them, and held their hands, as she believed in the power of showing compassion through touch. To her, being there for people was her calling. When asked about her visits to hospitals, she responded that “I knew what my job was: it was to go out and meet the people and love them.”
Here is a selection of statements by Diana, which really encapsulate her compassion for others:
“Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life—a kind of destiny. Whoever is in distress can call on me. I will come running wherever they are.”
“I want to walk into a room, be it a hospital for the dying or a hospital for the sick children, and feel that I am needed. I want to do, not just to be.”
“Some of them will live, and some will die, but they all need to be loved while they are here. I try to be there for them.”
She did not allow herself to be swept away by her status as the Princess of Wales, and the future Queen. She chose to be a servant to humanity. She possessed expensive, beautiful things and was perceived as a princess living a fairy-tale life. This happens quite often in the lives of INFPs. INFPs often feel misunderstood, and Diana was not an exception. She was famous for saying that no one could understand her. Her loving personality was always helping to build and maintain strong relations with her family and friends.
Her compassion was not only to outsiders; she cared for her family too. Even though she was separated from her mother for many years, she still loved and cared for her. She also extended her love to her children, and made a concerted effort to ensure that they had a normal life not caged by the effect of royalty. As a mother, she had said, “I want my boys to have an understanding of people’s emotions, their insecurities, people’s distress, and their hopes and dreams.” According to her, she stayed so long in her marriage, because of her sons. She stated that, “Any sane person would have left long ago. But I cannot. I have my sons.” To her, real human nature is not premised on disability, death, disease, poverty, privilege, rank, title, or status, but on love, communication, connection, compassion and being there for others when they need you.
She played her role as a dignitary perfectly well while she gave herself to humanitarian services. She saw her title as a chance to create awareness for various neglected issues and causes. To her, “it is vital that the monarchy keeps in touch with people. It is what I try and do”. She was greatly celebrated for the genuineness of her humanitarian work. She earned herself the titles “People’s Princess” and “Queen of Hearts”.
Like other mediators, Diana was lonely and insecure, and isolated in her world. This is often a result of the fact that INPFs feel rejected and discouraged because other people do not share their idealism. In Diana’s case, she often reflected on her imagined shortcomings, evaluated her past and current disappointments, and thought endlessly about her actual and imaginary, threats and enemies. Her emotions left her in tears, and a state of despair and loneliness. When mediators ignore their own intuition, and lack the power to evaluate, they see their own world like a vacuum, where they exist alone.
From the period where she entered royalty until her death, Princess Diana was engrossed in fulfilling her ever-expanding profile, even as she struggled endlessly in search for her own identity.
Consequently, this unstable temperament had an effect on her personality. This was exhibited in her behaviours like self-mutilation, depression, boredom, a chronic feeling of loneliness, intense mood swings, and unstable self-image.
Her compassion was reciprocated during her death as people of all ages and backgrounds mourned her, and celebrated her short, but fulfilled life. Even in death, her traits of humility, courage, kindness, generosity, compassion, and warmth, are still remembered to this day.
The beginning of her life
“Family is the most important thing in the world”
At approximately 7:45 pm, 1st July 1961, the Spencer family of Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk, were blessed with an amazing gift of life, weighing 7lb 12oz. A gift that was to blossom into a blessing for England and the world at large. The Spencer family was an aristocratic English family with connections to the British Royal Family. One of which, was renting the monarchy property, Park House, from Queen Elizabeth II. Their gift was a baby girl. Although delighted, the family had been looking forward to a male child to carry on the family line. Their demand for a baby boy rose after the death of their infant boy John Spencer, about a year before Diana was born.
There was a lot of debate to decide her name. After deliberating for a week, the name Diana was chosen. She was named Diana Spencer, in memory of her distant aunt, the Duchess of Bedford; Diana Russell.
The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer was the fourth among of five children of, Edward John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (1924-1992) and, Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp (1936-2004). Diana Frances Spencer was baptised in St. Mary Magdalene Parish, Sandringham, on 30th August 1961. Approximately three years later, the family was blessed with Charles Spencer. Diana grew up in Park House, on the Sandringham Estate with her three siblings, Charles now the 9th Earl Spencer, Jane, now Baroness Jane Fellowes and, Sarah, now Lady Sarah McCorquodale.
Diana had a fortunate upbringing with her siblings. For many decades, there had been a close connection between the Spencer family and the British Royal Family. Her paternal great-grandfather, the 6th Earl Spencer served both Edward VII and George V as their Lord Chamberlain. Also, all of her four great-aunts from the Spencer family became members of the Queen Mother’s household. Her grandmothers Ruth Roche, the 4th Baroness Fermoy, Countess Spencer and, Cynthia Spencer had served Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, as ladies-in-waiting. Her maternal grandmother, Ruth Roche, was also a confidante to the Queen Mother. Her father too, was close to the British Royal Family; he served King George VI and young Queen Elizabeth II as a royal attendant/equerry from 1950 to 1952, and 1952 to 1954 respectively. On 1st June 1954, the Queen herself was an official visitor at Westminster Abbey for the marriage ceremony of John and Frances Spencer.
Sadly, her idyllic life came to an end when she was just six years old. John and Frances separated as contentious fights linked to a tumultuous relationship involving domestic abuse and cheating erupted. According to Diana’s brother, Charles, their parent’s marriage started to fail as they struggled to conceive an heir. Lady Althorp was supposedly sent to Harley Street clinics in London to ascertain the source of the “problem.” This, he stated, was one threat to the Spencer’s marriage. He also described the experience as “humiliating” and possibly the cause of their separation.
After the separation, the fight for the custody of the children started between her mother and her father. Princess Diana stayed with her mother in London until her father won her custody with help from his former mother- in-law, Lady Fermoy. This occurred some months later, following the December 1967 Christmas holiday, disallowing Diana to return to her mother. Her mother later remarried in 1969 to Peter Shand Kydd. Her father also remarried in 1977 to Raine McCorquodale, Countess of Dartmouth. Young Diana and her stepmother, Raine, had an incredibly poor relationship as Diana resented her and called her a bully.
Diana experienced a turbulent and dysfunctional childhood, and her relationship with her mother was complicated. Combined with her exposure to royalty, this reality had an early influence on who she was, and who she would eventually become, directly or indirectly.
Diana maintained the title The Honourable Diana until she was bestowed the title “Lady Diana” when her father became an Earl in 1975, after the death of her grandfather. She was thereafter unofficially nicknamed, Lady D, a name some close friends and relatives still addressed her as even after becoming Princess of Wales. The whole family then later moved from Park House to Althorp in Northamptonshire.
Her mother later played a significant role in her life; a part that will be discussed in the latter part of Diana’s life.
Career and education
” I don’t go by the rule book… I lead from the heart, not the head”
Following her initial education at home by her governess, Gertrude Allen, Diana started her formal training at Silfield Private School in Gayton, Norfolk at the age of nine. Then in 1968 she transferred to Riddlesworth Hall School, Norfolk, an all-girls boarding school. In 1973, she continued her education at West Heath Girls’ School situated in Sevenoaks, Kent. As at that time, her sisters were also students at the school.
Diana failed her O-Level examinations twice, as she was struggling to excel in her studies. Even though she may have struggled academically, she excelled in other areas. Notably, she was honoured with a West Heath Medal for her excellent community spirit, demonstrating her early love for service to humanity. However, in 1977, when she was sixteen, she ceased her education at West Heath.
In her youth, Diana could be categorised as a shy and reserved person. However, as an experienced pianist, she displayed a passion for music. In addition, Diana also excelled in swimming and diving, and tap and ballet dancing. She was studying ballet to achieve her dream of becoming a professional ballerina with the Royal Ballet. However, her dream was cut short as she grew too tall to become a ballerina. Diana stood at 5 feet and 10 inches.
Lady Diana attended the Institut Alpin Videmanette, a finishing school in Switzerland, for one term and then returned to London to stay with her mother. In London, she enrolled and participated in an advanced cooking course and also took several low-paid jobs. She worked as a dance instructor, and as a party hostess. Due to her love for children, she also worked as a nanny for a London-based American Family, and later as a pre-school assistant at the Young England School in Pimlico. On her 18th birthday in July 1979, her mother bestowed her a Coleherne Court apartment in Earl’s Court. She lived there with her three housemates until 25th February 1981.
Diana’s personality has been described in many ways based on various different perspectives and sources. In his own words, Ken Wharfe, her police bodyguard for years, categorised her as, very well-spoken and has a decent composure, despite her not having a degree or higher education diploma. She loved classical music, a common interest they both had. It has been documented, she had a love for opera too, even though she admitted, not really understanding it.
No education from higher institutions
” I like to be a free spirit. Some don’t like that, but that’s the way I am”
Diana seemed to have been a mediocre student, not once but twice, she failed her O-Levels. However, her former official biography on the website of the Royal Family, states that she displayed a “particular talent for music (as an accomplished pianist), dancing and domestic science.”
The finishing school in Switzerland was the last formal schooling of Princess Diana. She never attended a university and her high school education came to an end when she was sixteen. School graduation was something of a social formality, and her schooling in Switzerland, was not particularly academic, but comprised of sewing and French.
It is an indication of the times and conventions of the nobility, that a woman of a particular social status, was indeed deemed appropriate to study etiquette, rather than academic subjects.
Although Diana was not formally educated at a higher level institution, her musical and dance talents, and natural kindness were definitely essential to making her a cherished member of the Royal Family.
“If you find someone you love in your life, then hang on to that love”
This time of her life is hugely significant as it is where she entered the public eye. Months before the proposal, Charles and Diana went on several dates in London. The chemistry between them could be assumed to be freely flowing, especially when we consider the fact, they had known each other years before.
The ceremony was a traditional wedding service of the Church of England. It was presided over by the Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Alan Webster; and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, guided the ceremony. The participants featured various representatives of several royal houses, republican heads of state, and representatives of the houses of the bride and groom. After the wedding, the newly-weds stood on the Buckingham Palace balcony for a traditional appearance. On that day, the United Kingdom had a national holiday celebrating the ceremony. The service included many formal elements, including the use of State carriages and the Household Cavalry Regiment.
The ceremony was often referred to as a “fairytale wedding” and the “union of the century.” An approximate global TV audience of 750 million viewers watched it. The Commonwealth arranged activities to celebrate the ceremony and there were many street parties throughout the UK to mark the occasion.
Her marital life all started with bliss, a glowing fire of love that seemed unquenchable, and blossomed like it would stand the test of time.
However, the joys in the union did not pass the test of time as the Princess was unhappy through a long period in the marriage. Initially, she was able to keep her troubles away from the public eye, especially the press. Although the people close to her were aware of her troubles. She would often breakdown in tears or even become paranoid at times. Her children and mother were predominantly the source of optimism and support to her. The couple split in 1992, and after 15 years of marriage, they divorced in 1996.
Early Connection to Prince Charles
“Life is just a journey”
Diana had a close connection to the Royal Family during her early years and she had first met with the Prince when she was a child. Diana and Charles played with his younger brothers, Prince Edward and Prince Andrew when living at Park House, Sandringham. It was believed that Diana was rather fond of the royal, and it was said that she had Charles’s picture above her bed at boarding school. She once told a friend, “I’d like to be a dance performer – or Princess of Wales.”
Courtship with Prince Charles
“I wear my heart on my sleeve”
Around 1977, there were rumours and stories that Prince Charles was dating Diana’s older sister Sarah, and that the relationship had turned sour when Sarah declared in public that she was not in love with him. At this time, Diana officially met with the Prince at a country weekend shooting party, at the Spencer family home, Althorp, where he was invited as Sarah’s guest. At this time, Diana was a final year boarding student at West Heath. She was very excited about meeting the Prince, so much so, that she was not able to concentrate and prepare for her O-Level examination the following week. This, combined with her low academic charisma, led to her failure of the examination. Later on, Sarah was credited for introducing the royal couple. Sarah was reported to have said, “I introduced them.” The royal couple also credited this meeting as the bedrock of their relationship.
In the summer of 1980, at the age of 31, Charles had taken a great interest in Diana, aged 19, as a potential wife. They spent time together as friends, and as their friendship blossomed he invited her to attend several events, and at this point, they began to date.
During this time in 1980, they were guests at a country weekend. After this, the Prince invited her to Cowes on the Royal Yacht Britannia, for a sailing weekend, wherein their relationship began to develop further. After the Royal Yacht weekend, in the November of 1980, Lady Diana was invited to the royal house at Balmoral Castle, the Scottish residence of the Royal Family. Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and the Queen Mother received Diana well at Balmoral. Lady Diana was warmly welcomed, and she described it as a lovely weekend. Following this occasion, a press release by a tabloid newspaper on 8th September 1980, boosted people’s suspicions of a relationship between the Prince and Diana. This was the start of her media spotlight.
The Prince, in his interview in 1981, stated that he became attracted to her when she was 16 years old, and he saw that she was an amusing, attractive and joyous lady. He said, “I mean, great fun, and bouncy and full of life and everything.”
From the beginning of their relationship, the future Princess had shown that she was very much in love with the Prince, though she stated that she had doubts about his love for her. Charles was 13 years older than Diana, their initial friendship started in 1977 and developed quickly.
“Only do what your heart tells you”
At this time, Diana, was living in an apartment in London and working as a nanny and a school assistant. Diana and Charles had been seeing each other for six months and meeting together for dates in London. At the nursery of Windsor Castle on 3rd February 1981, he proposed to her. Diana accepted the proposal a week later, but for the next few weeks, the engagement was kept secret. Diana subsequently claimed that they had only met a few times before the declaration of their engagement.
On 24th February 1981, their relationship became official and was announced by the royal house. They also gave an exclusive interview where Diana wore a “cobalt blue skirt suit” by the British fashion label, Cojana. A series of photographs were taken by the Earl of Snowdon and were published to mark the occasion. Clayton Howard did the makeup for Diana, and John Frieda styled her hair for the official portrait.
After the announcement of the wedding, Diana ended her work as a nanny and school assistant and moved to live at Lawrence House, the residence of the Queen Mother. She stayed there for some time before moving to Buckingham Palace, prior to the wedding.
Charles was very popular with the press and always gained a lot of attention. Consequently, the announcement of their engagement marked the start of Diana’s role as a public figure. Their relationship got a lot of attention; a reserved prince and a shy lady. Her shy behaviour got her the nickname, Shy Di.
Diana was very much in love with the Prince but she was not so sure that the love was reciprocated. In one of her documentaries, she recalled an interview that took place on the day their engagement was officially announced. She referred to the interview as “ghastly.” According to her, when they were asked if they were in love, the Prince gave an answer that traumatised her and left her worried about their relationship. He said “whatever love means.”
Various celebrations were set aside to celebrate the union. Two nights before the wedding, there was a gala ball at Buckingham Palace, followed by a supper for 90 people hosted by the Queen, and a dance reception for 1,500 people. The members of staff of the royal household were among the invited. The night before the wedding a total of 150 people were invited for dinner with the Queen. Among the guest list were various heads of states and governments from all over the world.
” I don’t want expensive gifts; I don’t want to be bought. I have everything I want. I just want someone to be there for me to make me feel safe and secure”
Prince Charles declared his love for Lady Diana with a large 18-carat white gold ring topped with a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire diamonds. The ring, which was reported to have been inspired by the brooch Prince Albert presented to Queen Victoria in 1840, as a wedding gift, and Lady Diana’s mother’s engagement ring. The ring was valued at approximately £28,000 ($36,000). As the ring was not categorised as a royal jewel at this time, House of Gerrard featured it in their catalogue which made some people believe that the ring was chosen from the catalogue by the Princess herself.
The ring remains a priceless jewel of the royal house and Prince William, Diana’s first son, used it to propose to his wife, Kate Middleton. Jewellers all over the world have been inspired by this iconic ring and have replicated it for their own collections.
Diana and the Prince’s Wedding Procession
On 29th July 1981, just weeks after Diana’s 20th birthday, the heir to the British throne, the Prince of Wales, tied the nuptial knot to his Princess, Lady Diana Spencer. The wedding was held at St. Paul’s Cathedral, London and was attended by dignitaries from around the world. The cathedral was chosen by Diana over Westminster Abbey, the royal house’s traditional wedding venue because St. Paul’s Cathedral can accommodate more people and also allow for longer processions. In addition to the dignitaries, the event was graced by a number of church leaders who offered prayers at the occasion.
The wedding was held in the presence of a congregation of about 3000 guests and hundreds of thousands of people lined the route leading to the Cathedral from Buckingham Palace. The Clarence House parade was watched by two million spectators, with 4,000 police and 2,200 military officers to control the crowds. Security was increased with the addition of strategically positioned sharpshooters and expanded safety checks at airports. The expense of the wedding was calculated at a total of $48 million. Taking into account inflation, today it would have cost in the region of $110 million
The wedding was broadcasted globally to over 750 million viewers from 74 nations and was labelled the “Wedding of the Century.”
At 10:22 BST, eight cars carried the Queen and the royal family to the cathedral. The Prince of Wales was in the gold-encrusted vehicle, which was later used to drive the couple back to Buckingham Palace after the wedding. Lady Diana, along with her father, John Spencer, arrived in the Glass Coach. From the Cathedral, they were escorted by six Mounted Metropolitan Police officers. She arrived at the 11:20 BST ceremony, nearly on schedule. The planned carriage was too compact to accommodate them both safely, because of the size of her incredible dress.
As the bride made her three-and-a-half-minute walk up the aisle, the orchestra performed “Trumpet Voluntary” by Jeremiah Clarke. The ritual was a traditional wedding service of the Church of England, led by the Most Reverend Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury; and the Very Reverend, Alan Webster, Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Diana mistakenly altered the order of the names of Charles during her vows, instead of “Charles Phillip Arthur George”, she said “Philip Charles Arthur George” She did not commit to “obey him,” as in the conventional vows. This term was omitted at the request of the couple, which at the time, created quite a controversy. Charles made a mistake, too. Instead of “my worldly goods,” he said he would offer “thy goods” to her. All these mix-ups during the exchange of vows didn’t prevent the Archbishop of Canterbury from declaring that the marriage was indeed a fairytale wedding. He called it “the stuff of which fairytales are made.”
In keeping with custom, the wedding rings were made of Welsh gold from the Clogau St. David’s mine in Bontddu. The tradition of creating the Royal Family’s wedding rings from Welsh gold dates back to 1923. Diana immediately inherited the title of Princess of Wales after marriage.
Three choirs, three orchestras and a fanfare ensemble performed at the service. These were the Bach Choir, the Choir of St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Choir of the Chapel Royal, the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, the Philharmonia Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra and the Fanfare Ensemble from the Royal Military School. Barry Rose, the choirmaster at St. Paul’s Cathedral, directed the choirs. The organist of the cathedral, Christopher Dearnley; and his sub-organist John Scott; played the organ. The orchestras were conducted by Sir David Willcocks, director of the Royal College of Music; Richard Popplewell, organist at Chapel Royal; and Sir Colin Davis, musical director at the Royal Opera House. The music featured on the programme included: the “Prince of Denmark March,” “I Vow to Thee My Country,” “Pomp and Circumstance No.4” and the British National Anthem (“God Save the Queen”). Kiri Te Kanawa, New Zealand soprano, sang “Let The Bright Seraphim” from G. F. Handel’s “Samson”. The hymn, “Christ Is Made The Sure Foundation” by Purcell, was also sang at the ceremony.
Clothes, Shoes and Bouquet
Diana’s wedding dress was constructed of ivory silk taffeta and antique lace, and embellished with 10,000 mother of pearl sequins and pearls. The dress was designed by husband and wife team, David and Elizabeth Emanuel. It was thought to have cost £9,000, which is equivalent to £34,750 in 2019. The dress was designed in accordance with Diana’s wishes, she requested to have the longest train in royal wedding history and it measured 25 foot (7.6m). The bride wore her family’s 18th-century heirloom diamond tiara securing an ivory silk tulle veil, and her hair was styled into a short crop by the hairdresser Kevin Shanley.
To follow the wedding tradition of “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” the antique lace on the dress was made with a fabric spun at a British silk farm (old), the Spencer family tiara and her mother’s earrings (borrowed), and a blue bow sewn into the waistband of the dress (blue).
Houbigant Parfum, the oldest French fragrance company, was the official parfumeur to the royal wedding. Diana selected the floral perfume Quelques Fleurs, with notes of tuberose, jasmine and rose. She was claimed to have spilled perfume inadvertently over a section of her dress, that she covered with her hand during the ceremony.
The bride also had a pair of low-heeled shoes made with lace and satin, intricately decorated with 100 seed pearls and 500 sequins and with suede sole arches. The shoe was designed with a romantic feature of the letters C and D and a heart design in between, painted under the sole. They were designed by Clive Shilton, a celebrity shoemaker, and it was reported that Diana did not wish to appear taller than Charles, since they both stood at 5 foot 10 inches. For the wedding, Barbara Daly did the bride’s makeup.
Following the Queen’s instructions, chief florist, David Longman made two matching bouquets for the bride, featuring tradescantia gardenia, stephanotis, odontoglossum orchid, lily of the valley, Earl Mountbatten roses, freesia, veronica, myrtle and ivy.
Charles wore his Royal Navy commander’s full-service coat. He also wore stars of the orders of the Garter, Thistle and Bath, the Queen’s silver jubilee medal, the royal cipher of the Prince in gold on epaulettes on both shoulders, and a full dress sword tasselled in gold.
The royal couple had seven bridal attendants. Lord Nicholas Windsor, eleven years old, son of the Duke and Duchess of Kent; and Edward Van Cutsem, eight years old, godsons of the Prince of Wales, were page boys. The bridesmaids were seventeen year old Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, daughter of the Earl of Snowdon and Princess Margaret; thirteen year old India Hicks, the granddaughter of the Earl Mountbatten of Burma and the daughter of David and Lady Pamela Hicks; six year old Catherine Cameron, the daughter of Donald and Lady Cecil Cameron and the granddaughter of the Marquess of Lothian; eleven year old Sarah-Jane Gaselee, daughter of Nick Gaselee and his wife; and five year old Clementine Hambro, daughter of Rupert Hambro and the Hon. Mrs Hambro and granddaughter of Lord and Lady Soames and great-granddaughter of Winston Churchill. Princes Andrew and Edward were the Prince of Wales’s support, which is the equivalent of the “best man” for a royal wedding.
Among the other guests were acquaintances of the couple. Diana invited the staff from the nursery school which she had worked at, to the wedding. The Prince of Wales welcomed entertainers Spike Milligan and Harry Secombe to the event.
The newly-weds and 120 guests attended the wedding breakfast after the service which was hosted at Buckingham Palace. At 13:10 BST at Buckingham Palace, Diana and Charles made the traditional appearance and delighted the audience when they kissed on the balcony, inaugurating the tradition of kissing the bride on the balcony. During the night, fireworks were seen over Hyde Park, and 100 beacons were illuminated around the country celebrating the royal wedding.
It was reported, that there were 27 cakes for the wedding, however the official cake was created by David Avery, head baker of the Royal Naval Cooking School in Chatham, Kent. In case one was damaged, they produced two similar cakes, over fourteen weeks. The five-tier fruit cake stood at five feet tall, weighing 225 pounds, and was decorated with the Prince of Wales’s coat of arms and the Spencer family crest. An additional wedding cake for the couple was produced by Belgian Pastry Chef, SG Sender, who was regarded as “cakemaker to the kings.” Chef Nicholas Lodge created another wedding cake; Chef Nicholas had previously made the Queen Mother her 80th birthday cake. He also was commissioned to create Prince Harry’s christening cake. In 2018, Julien’s Auctions, auctioned off one piece of the couple’s wedding cake which was estimated to sell between $800–$1,200.
The wedding service was received enthusiastically by the public, symbolising, “the continuity of the monarchy” for the British people, according to the New York Times. Several celebrations and parties were organised by the people in numerous locations throughout the UK to commemorate the event. In many countries, the wedding was broadcasted on TV and radio, and news channels reported the event in numerous languages. The Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, John Betjeman wrote a poem in recognition of the new royal couple.
They received many wedding gifts from foreign officials including an engraved glass Steuben bowl and a hand-crafted porcelain centrepiece by Boehm from the US, an antique furniture collection and a watercolour of loons by R. Bateman for Prince Charles, along with a large gold, diamond and platinum brooch from Canada, for Diana. The Edinburgh District Council donated $92,500 to the Thistle Foundation, a charity for those with long term health conditions and disabilities. The Greater Manchester Council offered a limited number of disadvantaged young people engineering apprenticeships. The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London, presented the couple with cloth, silk and cotton gloves. Many of these presents were on display at St. James’s Palace between 5th August and 4th October 1981.
Prince Andrew and Prince Edward fixed a “just married” sign to the landau. The newly-weds were driven across Westminster Bridge to catch the train to Romsey in Hampshire, from Waterloo station to start their honeymoon. The couple boarded the British Royal Train +975025 Caroline from Waterloo station. They spent three days at Broadlands, where the parents of Prince Charles wedded in 1947, then flew to Gibraltar where they embarked on a 12-day Mediterranean cruise on the Royal Yacht Britannia, visiting Tunisia, Sardinia, Greece and Egypt. To conclude their honeymoon, they travelled to Scotland, where the majority of the royal family had congregated at Balmoral Castle, and spent time on the estate in a hunting lodge. It was at this time the newly married royal couple organised an informal press conference with the understanding that afterwards, the press would leave them in peace.
“I live for my sons. I would be lost without them”
The royal couple chose Kensington Palace and Highgrove House, close to Tetbury, as their residences. The Princess’s first pregnancy was formally announced on 5th November 1981. In January 1982, twelve weeks into the pregnancy, Diana slipped down a staircase at Sandringham and the royal gynaecologist Sir George Pinker was summoned from London to attend to her. He found that the foetus was unaffected though she herself, had suffered severe bruising. Later, Diana admitted that she had purposely thrown herself down the stairs because she felt “so inadequate.” Pictures of a pregnant Diana in a bikini were reported in the newspapers in February 1982, while on holiday. The Queen later released a statement and named it “the blackest day in the history of British journalism.”
On 21st June 1982, in the Lindo Wing at St Mary’s Hospital, London, Princess Diana broke tradition to become the first member of the royal family to deliver a baby in a hospital. She gave birth to a baby boy, the royal couple’s first son, and second heir to the British throne. They named him William.
September 15th 1984, the Prince and Princess of Wales welcomed to the world, their second son. He was named Henry Charles Albert David but was to be known as Prince Harry. Princess Diana described Harry’s pregnancy as the period that she and the Prince, were at their closest in their relationship. She had kept the baby’s gender to herself and did not inform anybody that it was a boy; not even her husband. In present times, this has caused raised eyebrows as rumours circulated, that this secret was because the pregnancy was with someone else (James Hewitt) and not the Prince.
However, this rumour has been quashed because the Princess and James Hewitt started their relationship after Harry was born.
The Princess of Wales was an exemplary mother to her royal children. Diana offered her sons broader perspectives than royal mothers usually did. She seldom listened to the Prince or the royal family, especially when it came to the children, she was often intransigent. She picked their first names, fired a royal nanny and chose one herself, selected their schools and clothes, organised their trips and took them to school as much as her schedule allowed. The Princess was so devoted, she also arranged her civic duties around the timetables of her children.
Raising her children was a duty Diana never took for granted. She wanted to hug and kiss them every morning, take them to school and also be there to collect them when school was over. She was always present for her children whenever she could be; she was closer to them than their father was. She once told Ken Wharfe, her protective officer, who was a strong male role model for the children, “You are even closer to them than their father.” On many accounts, the children were the main reason the marriage survived so long.
As a mother
“I will fight for my children on any level so they can reach their potential as human beings and in their public duties”
Even critics can testify to her motherly love and compassionate character. She displayed a great love and affection for her children and everybody that crossed her path, irrespective of age, ethnicity or gender.
She did not support the traditional upbringing of royal children. Diana believed that this type of traditional upbringing would shield the children from the reality and beauty of life. She believed it was too mechanical and lacked the required physical and emotional touch for a well-rounded childhood. She also believed that this type of upbringing was what moulded Prince Charles, her husband, into the cold and unemotional man that he was. Occasionally she made the decision to take the children with her whenever she visited underprivileged people for charity or official duties. She did this, because she believed that, the boys needed to see life as it truly existed, so that they could develop and understand people’s emotions and show compassion for others.
Diana was very particular about how she wanted to raise her children and who she wanted to care for them. This led to relieving Barbara Barnes of her job as the royal nanny for the boys; she was replaced with Olga Power, at Diana’s request. The issue Diana had with Barbara was that she was too set in her ways with the traditional way of raising royal children and she wouldn’t even compromise with Diana on this matter. She wanted her sons to have a proper, loving and stable family. She was always conscious that her royal duties did not impact on her time with the boys and she took every opportunity to shower them with love and affection.
As previously mentioned, Diana chose the first names of both her sons, William and Henry (although known as Harry), even though Prince Charles wanted Arthur and Albert respectively. These names, were incorporated into their full names. She also breastfed her children which was against the norms in the royal house. In November 1985, the Princess described her role as a mother and wife, as her most important role, and she was going to put everything into it.
She was always unhappy to be apart from her children, so much so, that even in the face of media criticism, she decided to take William, who was still a nine month old infant, on her first big Australia and New Zealand tours, a move that was highly documented. She saw herself as incredibly lucky for having her two beautiful sons, and always ensured to plan her schedule around them so that she could spend as much time with them as possible. It can be concluded that in the history of the royal family, her children, received the most of love, time and compassion from their mother and were not just left only to the care of nannies.
To ensure that they had a normal upbringing, her first son, Prince William was the first royal to obtain his full education through a public school system. She broke a lot of royal protocols to ensure that her children were well brought up and in the way that she wished for. An example was, she always hugged her sons, wrapping her arms around them. Harry said, “these hugs made her a special mother.”
To this day, her sons have grown up to be kind and show love, to be compassionate towards others and to follow her in her footsteps.
Marital issues and separation
“There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded”
This is the rocky part that lies inside the external beauty of the royal couple’s life. Prince Charles had always been fond of Camilla Parker Bowles, whom it was said, he preferred to the Princess. She was his ex-lover that he continued to have affairs with, supposedly before and after the marriage. Allegedly, Camilla was the main source of sadness to Princess Diana, and she had not really tried to hide it.
The staff members of the royal household, have always known about the secret affairs of both the Prince and the Princess. Charles’s infidelity, as accounted by Diana, was what led her to have her own extra-marital love affairs. She would often complain to Ken Wharfe, her protection officer, that she had done her best to maintain the interest of the Prince, but to no avail. He seemed to be no longer interested in her, and it was becoming acutely apparent.
On one occasion in 1989, Diana had attended the birthday party of Camilla’s sister, Annabel Elliot, in an attempt to challenge Camilla about the relationship she was having with her husband. At the party, she noticed that both Camilla and Charles had been out of sight for some time, so insisted that Ken went in search of them. The Prince and Camilla were found together, away from the rest of the guests, and apparently talking and flirting. Knowing this broke her heart and she felt highly disrespected that the Prince could do her such a dishonour at a public gathering. She would later break down several times and became emotionally unstable. Diana had on occasion, mentioned having mental health issues and suicidal thoughts to her protection officer. During an interview, years after the occasion, she showed marks on her body that suggested that she occasionally self-harmed. The events at the party were what finally confirmed her suspicions of Charles and Camilla’s affair.
Prior to this event, she had faced other issues concerning her marriage. Barry Mannakee, was appointed as bodyguard to Diana but then transferred from this role, due to what was described as an “inappropriate” relationship with Diana. She later denied these allegations in a conversation with her then bodyguard, Ken Wharfe.
It is worth mentioning that after her early protection officer was transferred, Chief Inspector Graham Smith took over but wasn’t able to continue his duties after he was diagnosed with throat cancer, something that would later lead to his death. Ken Wharfe, who was formerly the protection officer for the two princes, occasionally covered for Smith at times when he underwent treatments. Smith was finally relieved of his duties, and Wharfe was chosen for the role. Since then, Wharfe spent many years as her personal protection officer, to whom she confided in.
It was also rumoured that she had sexual affairs with Wharfe. However, he denied these rumours years later in his book, “Diana: Closely Guarded Secret.” In the book, Wharfe touched on an event that occurred when Diana and the princes had been to visit her mother, Frances.
It is worth noting that Frances had always been in favour of saving Diana’s marriage as she herself, knew the negative impacts of a broken family. Frances believed that she should try to save her marriage, if not for her, for the sake of her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry. The two children also loved their grandmother and always felt at ease and happy whenever they visited her.
During the trip to visit Frances, Wharfe accompanied Diana and her sons, but no other royal staff members were present, as Diana preferred to do the household chores herself such as the dishes, iron clothes and live a normal family life at times like these. During the stay, Diana offered to iron Wharfe’s shirt, initially he was reluctant to accept the offer, but she insisted. Whilst they stood talking and laughing in the kitchen together as Diana, only wearing a towel, ironed the shirt, William came in, full of mischief and joked that Diana had a crush on Wharfe. Suddenly, William tugged the towel off his mother right in front of Wharfe to reveal her naked body. She slowly picked up the towel to cover herself, and burst out laughing.
Five years into the marriage, the couple’s thirteen year age difference and incompatibility became apparent. Charles revived his friendship with his ex-lover Camilla Parker Bowles, and later Diana started an affair with Major James Hewitt, a former Household Cavalry Officer in the British Army. The media even suggested that Hewitt, not Charles, was Harry’s father, based on Hewitt and Harry’s supposed physical resemblance but Hewitt and others disputed this, due to the fact that Harry was born two years before the relationship started between Hewitt and Diana.
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh held a meeting between Charles and Diana with the hope of negotiating a reconciliation, but it was unsuccessful. Philip wrote to Diana, voicing his discontent with both her and Charles’s extra-marital affairs; he urged her to analyse their actions from the viewpoint of the other. Diana was sensitive in nature, whereas the Duke was direct and she found the letters painful to bear. However, she understood his motives and appreciated his concern. Some observers, including Diana’s close friend Simone Simmons, claimed that the Princess and her former father-in-law, Prince Philip, had a tension-filled relationship; whereas, other analysts said the letter did not include any evidence of animosity.
Leaked tapes of telephone conversations released during 1992 and 1993, cast a negative light over the Prince and the Princess of Wales. Tape recordings and a transcript were released to the public in August 1992 of conversations between The Princess and James Gilbey, a former car dealer turned marketing executive. This was commonly referred to as “Squidgygate” by the press, and following this were the leaked “Camillagate” recordings, personal conversations between the Prince and Camilla. Prime Minister John Major revealed to the House of Commons in December 1992, the couple’s “amicable separation.”
Also during this time, Diana employed voice coach Peter Settelen, to help her improve her public speaking voice. In a videotape filmed by Settelen in 1992, Diana confirmed that she had been “deeply in love with someone who worked in this environment” from 1984 through to 1986. It was suspected that she was referring to her former protection officer, Barry Mannakee, as mentioned earlier. In the video, Diana said that Mannakee had been “chucked out” from his job as her bodyguard, on suspicion that the two were having an affair. English journalist and author, Penny Junor, implied in her 1998 book, that the Princess was in a romantic relationship with Mannakee. However, friends of Diana rejected the claim as ridiculous.
Although, in later released tapes, Diana claimed she had feelings for that “someone” stating, “I was quite happy to give up all this [and] just go off and live with him.” While she confirmed that she had no romantic involvement with him, she described him as “the greatest friend [she’s] ever had.” She also talked sadly of her husband claiming, “[He] made me feel so inadequate in every possible way, that each time I came up for air he pushed me down again.” Charles’s aunt, Princess Margaret, burned “highly personal” letters that Diana sent to the Queen Mother in 1993. Biographer William Shawcross found Margaret’s conduct “understandable” since she was “protecting her mother and other members of the family” but “regrettable from a historical point of view.”
While she blamed her marriage woes on Camilla Parker Bowles, Diana started to suspect that her spouse had perhaps been engaged in other affairs. In October 1993, the Princess wrote a letter to her butler, Paul Burrell, stating that she thought her husband was falling in love with Tiggy Legge-Bourke, his personal assistant and former nanny of his boys. She also believed that he wanted her dead so that he could marry Tiggy. The Prince had employed Legge-Bourke as a young companion for his sons whilst in his custody, and the Princess was resentful of Legge-Bourke and her friendship with the young princes.
On 29th June 1994, Prince Charles sought public understanding via a televised interview with Jonathan Dimbleby. In the interview, he claimed that only after his marriage to the Princess had “irretrievably broken down” had he rekindled his friendship with Camilla.
The press also reported that Diana had made more than 300 phone calls to married art dealer Oliver Hoare, during this same year. These calls were found to have originated from both her apartment in Kensington Palace and the phone box just outside the property. But the Princess denied any romantic connection with Hoare, whom she identified as a friend, and claimed, “a young boy” was the source of Hoare’s nuisance calls. Being such a prominent figure in the public eye brought about many conspiracies, including, the press linking her to rugby union player Will Carling; and private equity investor, Theodore J. Forstmann, but these allegations have never been verified or proved.
Although it was reported Diana had numerous affairs, she blamed these actions on the infidelity of her husband. She also stated that she had tried all possible ways to save her marriage, but none had helped.
“People think that at the end of the day a man is the only answer. Actually, a fulfilling job is better for me”
This was eventually inevitable. It was a decision she had been waiting for to happen, especially as she was already separated from the Prince, and their marital problems had existed for years.
Journalist Martin Bashir interviewed Diana for Panorama, the BBC’s current affairs show. On 20th November 1995, the interview was broadcasted. The Princess talked about the extra-marital relations of her own, and those of Charles. Referring to the relationship Charles had with Camilla, she said, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.” She also shared her doubt regarding the suitability of her husband for kingship. Authors Sarah Bradford, Sally Bedell Smith, and Tina Brown supported Diana’s admission in the interview that she had suffered from bulimia, depression, and had engaged in self-mutilation several times. She confirmed having mental health problems, including that she had “hurt [her] arms and legs.” The combination of disorders that Diana claimed she was suffering from, culminated in some of her biographers opining she had a borderline personality disorder.
The interview appeared to be a tipping point and a catalyst for the divorce. Buckingham Palace reported on 20th December that the Queen had submitted letters to the Prince and Princess of Wales urging them to file for a divorce. This request was supported by the Prime Minister and senior Privy Counsellors, which after two weeks of talks, according to the BBC, was decided. Charles officially committed to the divorce shortly afterwards in a written agreement. After discussions with the Prince and representatives of the Queen, the Princess declared their agreement in February 1996, frustrating Buckingham Palace by making her own announcement of the divorce and its conditions. The couple settled on the conditions of their divorce in July 1996. This came shortly after the Princess’s allegation that Tiggy Legge-Bourke, the Prince’s personal assistant, had been carrying the Prince’s child but had aborted the pregnancy. After this incidence, Legge-Bourke directed her attorney, Peter Carter-Ruck, to seek an apology. Shortly before the news emerged, Diana’s private secretary Patrick Jephson quit, subsequently claiming that the Princess had “exulted in accusing Legge-Bourke of having had an abortion.”
On 28th August 1996, the divorce was finalised. Diana accepted a £17 million lump sum payment, as well as £400,000 per year. The pair entered a confidentiality agreement forbidding them from disclosing the divorce specifics or details of their marital life. Days before, letters patent were filed stating general rules to govern royal titles following divorce. Diana lost the “Her Royal Highness” title and it was replaced with “Diana, Princess of Wales.” As the mother of a prince planned to ascend to the throne in the future, she continued to be deemed a part of the royal family and was given the same status she received throughout her marriage.
Allegedly, the Queen intended to allow Diana to continue to use her Royal Highness title following the divorce, but Charles had insisted on withdrawing it. It was claimed that Prince William had told his mother, “Don’t worry, Mummy, I’ll give it back to you one day when I’m King.” Approximately a year earlier, according to author, 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’s said to have replied: “My title is a lot older than yours, Philip.”
Appearances in public
“I knew what my job was; it was to go out and meet the people and love them”
Princess Diana is one of the most photographed figures of all time. This was both as a result of necessity and also as a result of her lifestyle too – the camera loved her. It is important to note that she did not necessarily seek to be noticed, as often being labelled as shy, and there had been times where she tried to avoid the paparazzi completely, one such case was what was believed to lead to her death.
Diana made her first formal public appearance in March 1981, at a fundraiser at Goldsmiths’ Hall, shortly after her engagement to Prince Charles. Later that year, in October, the Prince and Princess toured Wales together and the following month, Diana witnessed Parliament’s State Opening for the first time. Her first solo engagement was 18th November 1981 to turn on the Christmas lights on Regent Street. She first attended the Trooping the Colour in June 1982, subsequently appearing on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
In September 1982, the Princess made her debut overseas tour to attend the state funeral of Grace, Princess of Monaco. Diana also accompanied the Prince of Wales to the Netherlands in 1982, and granted a Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown by Queen Beatrix. In 1983, she joined the Prince on a trip with Prince William, across Australia and New Zealand, where they met members of the Māori community. Their June and July 1983 tour to Canada, included a trip to Edmonton to begin the 1983 Summer Universiade, and a stop in Newfoundland to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the island’s acquisition of the Crown.
In February 1984, she flew to Norway on her own to attend a performance arranged by the London City Ballet, of which Diana was a patron. The Prince and Princess of Wales toured Italy in April 1985, and were joined later by Princes William and Harry. They met with Alessandro Pertini, the President, and were honoured with a private interview with Pope John Paul II. They toured the United States in November 1985, meeting with President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan at the White House. In 1986, Charles and Diana embarked on a tour of Japan, Indonesia, Spain and Canada. Followed by a six day tour of the Arab Gulf States, visiting Oman, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia where she met King Fahd and Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said.
The Prince and Princess of Wales visited Thailand in 1988, then toured Australia to mark the bicentenary celebrations. The following year, Diana spent a few days on her own visiting New York. She created quite an impression on the public after a tour of Harlem Medical Center where she unexpectedly hugged a seven year old infant with AIDS, capturing the essence of her compassionate personality. She had her second voyage to the Arab Gulf States in March 1989, where she toured Kuwait and the UAE.
The royal couple visited both Nigeria and Cameroon in March 1990, where Cameroon’s President arranged an official dinner in Yaoundé, to welcome them. During this year they also visited Hungary and Japan.
The Princess of Wales, in her attempt to play an inspiring role during the Gulf War, toured Germany in December 1990 to speak with the soldiers’ families. She then flew to Germany for a visit to RAF Bruggen in January 1991, and later wrote an inspiring letter which was published in Soldier, Navy News and RAF News. In 1991, the Royal couple visited Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario where they presented a replica of their royal charter to the university.
The Princess toured Pakistan on a solo trip in September 1991 and then continued on, to meet with Charles in Brazil. During the Brazilian tour, Diana visited groups and organisations which aimed to tackle hunger and homelessness among children on the streets. Her last journeys with Charles were to India and South Korea, in 1992. Here, she visited the hospice of Mother Teresa, in Kolkata, India. Later that year, the two women met again and formed a personal relationship. It was also during the Indian tour, that the Princess made the news headlines with the pictures of her alone, in front of the Taj Mahal.
She announced in December 1993 that she would retire from public life, however in November 1994, she said she wanted to “make a partial return.” She wanted to be involved in playing an essential role in the 125th Anniversary celebrations of the British Red Cross, due to her position as vice president. The Queen also officially invited her to attend D-Day anniversary celebrations. The Princess visited Japan in February 1995, formally meeting with Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, then continued on to the Tokyo National Children’s Hospital. Diana attended the Venice Biennale art festival in June 1995, and also visited Moscow where she received the International Leonardo Award. The Princess made a four day journey to Argentina in November 1995, in order to attend a charity event, and toured several other countries including Belgium, Nepal, Switzerland and Zimbabwe.
During her almost four year separation from Charles, she participated as a senior member of the royal family at significant national occasions, including the commemorations of the 50th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day and Victory over Japan Day in 1995. The 36th and final celebration of the Princess’s birthday was at the Tate Gallery, which was also a commemorative function for the 100th anniversary of the museum.
Charity works of the princess
“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you”
Diana was well known for her charitable works and it was apparent that she didn’t carry out her humanitarian services for the sake of fame, she was purely dedicated to helping people in need. Her charitable work has been her legacy, which Prince William and Prince Harry have continued in honour of their mother.
Princess Diana’s Charitable Work Endeavours
The Princess of Wales was passionate about her charitable work and felt it was important to be covered by the media to create awareness. The Queen had once warned and advised against her campaigns for AIDS, yet, she continued, as she believed she could raise awareness and change attitudes toward the condition.
Diana was well known for two significant contributions to humanitarianism in particular, though she was president or patron for more than 100 charities during her lifetime.
However, her involvement with landmines and her service on behalf of people living with AIDS was prominently featured in the media, hence, her contributions in these two fields of humanitarianism, are the most well-known.
At the time, information and awareness about AIDS was limited, and many referred to it as the illness of prostitutes and the gay community. Supposedly, this was one of the reasons the Queen was opposed to her participation with this cause. She believed that with her involvement, people could start to understand the disease, how it spreads and how to protect themselves against it.
While contributing financially, Diana’s most significant asset to AIDS charitable work may have been her public image. There was scarce information on how AIDS was transmitted in 1987, and many assumed that AIDS was infectious through casual interaction such as a hand shake. However, Diana was the first British royal figure to be photographed, embracing a patient with HIV/AIDS, and several researchers applauded her for reducing the stigma connected with AIDS.
Diana was appointed a patron of the National Aids Trust, which aims to teach, encourage education, and eradicate the stigma attached to AIDS.
The Princess of Wales received international support and recognition on 15th January 1997, when the world viewed photographs and video footage of the Princess visiting landmine fields wearing a flak jacket and ballistic helmet. Diana’s work on the landmine campaigns was incredibly successful and resulted in a ban on the use of anti-personnel landmines.
Her endeavours on this campaign caused political uproar, but she was adamant something must be done. The landmines were harmful and dangerous, and caused injury and death to innocent lives, she felt strongly about this and that she must take action. In response to the clash with the government, she said, “I am humanitarian, not a politician.”
Centrepoint is an organisation which helps young homeless people get off the streets. They provide temporary shelter, referrals to professional services, assistance in obtaining an education, job placement, and advice. Princess Diana was a long-term supporter of this cause, but it is Prince William, who is now promoting this group by donating his time and resources to carry on her legacy.
English National Ballet
Princess Diana was a great supporter of the arts and was recognised for her kindness as a patron of the English National Ballet.
The Leprosy Mission
Consistent with the symbolic sympathy of Princess Diana for all children who were sick and injured, Diana became a patron of The Leprosy Project, an association devoted to offering medication, care, and other support resources to those impacted by the disorder. Her work here was very much appreciated, especially when video clips of her having physical contact with those affected were released, demonstrating that the condition could not be transmitted via casual contact.
The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust
The Royal Marsden Hospital is a facility in England renowned for the care of childhood cancers. The Royal Marsden became a member of the NHS (National Health Service) in 2004, a position that assisted the hospital in gaining greater financial stability. Diana was appointed the president of the hospital in 1989.
Great Ormond Street Hospital
In England, parents of children with severe and complex illnesses and disabilities regard the physicians and nurses at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children as miracle workers. This facility has become recognised for its ground breaking operations, overcoming some of the most complex and challenging conditions in children. She was a supportive patron of this health institution.
Humanitarian Legacy of Diana
“Every one of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves”
Looking back over Diana’s life, it is possible to identify trends across her campaigns. She was characterised as caring and was often seen reaching out to those who were isolated and with little support. She was often remembered for being an advocate for people with severe health conditions. There had been a case where she kissed a man (on the cheek) with HIV, and for this, earned a lot of respect and helped to change the public attitude towards HIV/AIDS.
Apart from the support of the English National Ballet, which was actually inspired by her appreciation of the arts, many of her causes and charitable efforts were centred around children, in particular. She was praised with taking multiple issues to the mainstream culture, including the concerns and misguided societal isolation of patients with HIV/AIDS. Her reputation continues through her children, all of whom have perpetuated her charitable heritage. Within days of Diana’s death, The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was established which aimed to provide grants in Diana’s name for the services she was active in and held with fondness.
Death of the legend and resulting conspiracies
“When you are happy you can forgive a great deal”
On 31st August 1997, Princess Diana and her then partner Dodi Fayed, along with their driver, Henri Paul, were killed in a car accident in Paris, France. Fayed was the son of the Egyptian billionaire and business mogul, Mohamed Al-Fayed. Also travelling in the car was Trevor Rees-Jones, a member of the Fayed family personal protection team.
On Sunday, a few minutes past midnight, Diana and Fayed left the Hôtel Ritz Paris, and entered the Mercedes Benz that was waiting for them, perhaps to fly to the private Parisian estate that belonged to Fayed.
Although the stated speed limit was 30 mph, at approximately 70 mph, Paul approached the entrance of the Pont de l’Alma tunnel. As Paul lost control of the car, it swerved across the highway before crashing into a pillar.
Fayed and Paul were confirmed dead at the scene, Rees-Jones remained conscious although injured, and Diana was rushed to Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital, still alive at this time. Early reports claimed Diana had a concussion, a broken arm, a leg injury and had also suffered massive chest injuries. After several attempts, doctors failed to resuscitate her, her internal injuries were too extensive. On the morning of 31st August 1997 at 4:53, the world’s most famous woman of her time, Princess Diana, passed away from internal bleeding.
Ken Wharfe would later blame this partly on the incompetency of her new security; the so-called SAS trained bodyguards of Fayed. This in particular was a source of pain to him, often mentioning how the events that lead to the tragedy could have been averted, had Rees-Jones been more prepared and confident in his role of protection officer.
Diana actually died of a very minor injury, which was very rare
Dr Richard Shepherd, the UK’s top forensic pathologist, reported in 2019 that Diana had died from a small tear in a vein in one of her lungs. The injury was small – but in the wrong place. “Her specific injury is so rare that in my entire career I don’t believe I’ve seen another,” Shepherd wrote in his book Unnatural Causes, excerpted from The Daily Mail.
Shepherd believed that one small change could have prevented the death of Diana: a seatbelt. “Had she been restrained, she would probably have appeared in public two days later with a black eye, perhaps a bit breathless from the fractured ribs and with a broken arm in a sling.”
The only survivor of the accident was Trevor Rees-Jones – he had been wearing a seatbelt.
Questions about how the crash really happened
“I like to be a free spirit. Some don’t like that, but that’s the way I am”
What caused Henri Paul, the Ritz Hotel’s acting security chief and a licensed driver, to lose control of the car so dramatically? It was said that Paul had been drinking and this caused him to lose control of the car. According to a statement issued on the Monday after the accident, by French officials, Paul’s blood contained alcohol three times over the blood-alcohol level that is legal in France and therefore, suspected of drinking and carelessly driving.
There was another factor involved in the accident, according to eyewitnesses. Hoping to photograph the Princess and Fayed together, paparazzi chased their black Mercedes on motorcycles.
The conspiracy theories around the accident continue to this day. The hypotheses hold the same premise, in different ways: It was not an accident. For example, Dodi Fayed’s father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, claimed Diana was pregnant with the child of his son (this was later disproved by forensics).
Another hypothesis indicates Diana was scared of such an event that would lead to her death. In 2003, at her lowest and most suspicious, Diana’s long serving butler, Paul Burrell, revealed a letter that Diana had written shortly after her divorce from Charles in 1996.
“I am sitting here at my desk today in October, longing for someone to hug me and encourage me to keep strong and hold my head high.” She continued, “This particular phase in my life is the most dangerous – my husband is planning ‘an accident’ in my car, brake failure and serious head injury in order to make the path clear for him to marry Tiggy.” Later, at an inquest, it was claimed Burrell could have forged the letter.
Diana, the world’s most famous individual at the time, lived her life with relentless paparazzi attention. Maybe it’s no wonder that clear evidence of her demise has been captured — but it’s surprising too.
Some of the paparazzi that arrived at the scene rushed to assist the unfortunate victims of the vehicle accident. Stephane Darmon, one of the paparazzi motorcycle riders, was one of the first witnesses to the scene. His photographer, Romuald Rat arrived, dismounted his bike and opened the door of the Mercedes. Darmon was said to be “shocked when so many of the photographers started taking photos rather than helping.”
In the direct wake of the crash, police detained and interrogated seven French photographers. According to the New York Times, manslaughter allegations were raised against nine photographers who pursued the Mercedes and took pictures during the collision, but were not found guilty. Three photographers were, though, found guilty of privacy infringement and each charged one euro in 2006.
Queen Elizabeth ii waited for five days before addressing the death of Diana in public
After Diana’s death, the Queen fell under close scrutiny. Queen Elizabeth chose to stay in Balmoral, Scotland with William and Harry and planned to return to Buckingham Palace just before the funeral. But the Queen, and the royal family, were blamed for being aloof in not instantly approaching the country in mourning.
The Queen finally addressed the country on 5th September 1997, in her first public broadcast following the 1991 Gulf War.
“We have all felt those emotions in these last few days. So what I say to you now, as your Queen and as a grandmother, I say from my heart.” She continued, “First I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her – for her energy and commitment to others, especially for her dedication to her two boys.”
The funeral for Diana was remarkable
Many notable moments happened that day. One was the public assault against the Queen by Earl Spencer, Diana’s brother. He mentioned how unfair it was for the Queen to have stripped Diana of her title because of the divorce. Earl Spencer made some striking comments about the royal family, indirectly criticising them for how they treated Diana. He attacked the media too, mentioning that Diana “talked endlessly of getting away from England, mainly because of the treatment that she had received at the hand of the newspapers.” He described his sister to the congregation as the “very essence of compassion, of duty, of style, of beauty.”
The funeral of Diana was held on 6th September 1997. While 750 million saw Diana get married on screen, an estimated 2.5 billion across the world witnessed her funeral procession, making it one of the largest ever broadcast events in history.
One of the most poignant images of the day was the young William and Harry, marching beside the coffin of their mother as she was moved from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Cathedral. Placed on the coffin was a letter from Prince Harry, addressed to “Mummy.”
“My mother had just died, and I had to walk a long way behind her coffin, surrounded by thousands of people watching me. While millions more did on television,” Harry told Newsweek in a cover story in 2017. “I don’t think any child should be asked to do that, in any circumstances. I don’t think it would happen today.”
Prince William concurred. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, that walk,” he expressed in a 2017 BBC series named “Diana, 7 Days.”
Among the performers present, Elton John performed his popular 1973 track “Candle in the Wind” with the lyrics reworked in tribute to Diana instead of the original lyrics for Marilyn Monroe (who also experienced vast media intrusions), amending the opening line to “Goodbye, England’s Rose”. The 1997 “Candle in the Wind” edition continues to be an all-time best-selling chart track.
Diana was buried later the same day at Althorp, on a small island in the lake at the ancestral Spencer residence. Her passing profoundly saddened many people.
If on 31st August 1997, you were old enough to form memories, then the chances are you remember where you were, when you heard of Princess Diana’s death. It was a time that the world stopped, and a time that many of Diana’s fans and well-wishers clearly recall.
The legacies of the Queen of hearts
In 23 years, the perception of the royal family has changed greatly. How much of this can we affiliate to Diana’s heritage? It is undoubtedly the influence of Princess Diana that modernised the royal family.
The British public had a decidedly different attitude towards the royal family in September 1997. At that time, their collective confusion and subsequent outrage at the inaccessibility of the royal family during the tragedy and their perceived coldness towards Diana, who had been stripped of her HRH title after her divorce from Prince Charles, caused a large proportion of the population to question the very essence of the monarchy.
Diana revitalised the British Empire in existential beauty, and she transformed it forever, even in death. Today, her influence continues in everything from the increasingly open approach to the public by the Windsor’s, to the charitable work by William, his wife Catherine, Harry, and his wife Meghan. The “Diana Effect” remains alive and active almost twenty years since her death; she remains a driving force for contemporary British royalty today.
Earning the Queen’s respect
The Queen gave her remarkable televised speech in September 1997, in which she lauded Diana, calling her “exceptional and talented.” One royal watchman with strong connections to the family who pleaded for confidentiality said, “At that moment, it was apparent that the Queen understood exactly how much effect Diana had on the monarchy. She realised she had to take a leaf from Diana’s book and interact with people on an emotional level she hadn’t done before if she wanted to recover the goodwill of her subjects.”
This lesson was assimilated quite early on by both William and Harry. Rather than leading a cosseted royal life, carrying out public appearances and cutting ribbons; as their mother did, they wanted to make a difference in the community. These examples were demonstrated to them when they were children; Princess Diana would schedule her civic duties to make sure there was enough time for the children, the royal duties should not necessarily come first. Instead of biding his time as second in line for the throne, William worked in the RAF as a search and rescue pilot for almost eight years before taking on his royal duties, which he continues to carry out to this day with Kate by his side. Prince Harry, served in the British Army for ten years and completed two tours in Afghanistan. Following this, he created The Invictus Games in the UK and subsequently also held in the United States, for wounded military personnel. “His commitment to military families is extraordinary,” said Dr Jill Biden, former second lady of the United States. “It’s very clear he’s passionate about carrying on his mother’s legacy of helping a variety of people in need.”
William and Harry both speak about their mother passionately as their inspiration and role model for their charitable work. At only twelve years old when Diana died, Harry spoke of “the gaping hole” in his life caused by the loss of his mother; he told People magazine: “All I want to do is make my mother proud.” Combined with his work in the military, and with the creation of his charity Sentebale, which supports vulnerable children in Africa, in Diana’s honour, there is no question that she would have been proud of him.
Princess Diana’s children after her death
Prince William and Prince Harry, aged 15 and 12, were on holiday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland at the time of the accident. As expected, they were profoundly saddened by the loss of their mother.
Queen Elizabeth II had protected her grandsons from the subsequent news show, according to Prince William.
“At the time, you know, my grandmother wanted to protect her two grandsons, and my father as well. Our grandmother deliberately removed the newspapers, and things like that, so there was nothing in the house at all. So we didn’t know what was going on,” William said in a 2017 BBC documentary.
The brothers have recently started to open up on how they were impacted by the tragic (and extremely public) incident.
“I really regret not ever talking about it,” said Prince Harry at a 2016 mental health support function. “It is ok to suffer, but as long as you can talk about it. It is not a weakness. Weakness is having a problem and not recognising it and not solving the problem.” Harry has since become a spokesperson and advocate of mental health awareness.
The legacy of Diana through her children
“William and Harry are so precious, so very precious”
Nowhere is Diana’s influence more keenly felt than William, Harry, Kate and now also Meghan joining hands to pursue their charity campaign, Heads Together. The organisation is a public awareness initiative involving a collaboration with many UK-based organisations to de-stigmatise mental wellbeing. “There’s something very moving that Diana’s sons would take on the issue of mental health, knowing their mother struggled with depression during various parts of her life,” said one close friend of Diana. “She would be so pleased.”
While her sons still nobly bear her Crown, nowhere is the “Diana Effect” more apparent than in Kate’s position as a media star of this century, with some very significant differences. While Diana coped with marital problems, it was different for Kate as she has the royal family in her corner. She’s been offered plenty of guidance on every aspect of public life, including viewing video footage of Diana and she has her husband’s full support. “William and Kate are very much a team,” designer India Hicks said. “They have handled everything together brilliantly.”
“Diana took her role, and handled it with style and grace under enormous difficulty,” Donna Karan said. “She was a mentor to women around the world.” All these years later it would appear she still is, especially to her daughter-in-law.
Kate and William agreed to raise Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis away from London in their family house, Anmer Hall, Norfolk, a decision that reflects Diana’s willingness to give “her boys” a “normal life.” Like William, George attends a nursery with local children, and a family friend hopes Charlotte will follow her big brother and join him at Westacre Montessori School when the time arrives. The friend also said, “Diana would be in complete agreement on the way Kate and William want to raise their children.”
Diana’s Influence on Kate
By default, she became a fashion icon in the same way as her late mother-in-law, after Kate slipped on Diana’s sapphire engagement ring. “Diana used clothes to communicate with the world,” said Elizabeth Emmanuel, who designed Diana’s wedding dress along with her husband, David. “Whenever she travelled anywhere, she was very careful to select clothes that paid homage to the country, but she also had a sense of humour and fun about herself. She’d wear a custom made gown with earrings from the high street.”
Like Diana, Kate, who also has a taste for affordable fashion, has definitely perfected the art of diplomatic dressing, rocking glamorous gowns and finely tailored suits and coats in colours and patterns that recognise and complement the occasion. “She is a very smart young woman who understands what works on her,” Diane von Furstenberg said. “She has the world on her, and she carries it all with great poise.”
At crucial times, Kate sometimes evokes thoughts of her late mother-in-law through her styling choices. The Jenny Packham polka dot dress that Kate wore to present Prince George to the press was a touching tribute to Diana as she wore a similar style when William was born, designed by Catherine Walker. When she opts to wear a special tiara, she chooses the Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara, the same Diana wore on many occasions. “Kate is aware of people’s tendency to compare her to Diana,” said a member of the Middleton family. “She never wants people to think she is in any way trying to compete with her memory. Kate realises what a great role model Diana was in so many areas.” That’s why it’s particularly sad that Diana and Kate never met. “They would have gotten on very well,” a royal source said.
Diana, Princess of Wales, was on the brink of a new phase in her life as an ambassador to Britain when she died – a position she had discussed with the then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. She’d definitely helped mould the shape of the nation in exciting new ways. Unfortunately, we may never know what actions she might have taken. Still, due to Diana’s legacy of devotion and kindness she left her boys, the kingdom is already set to live, and prosper, far into the next generation.
She was famous for being elaborately dressed and glamorously gracing events, but she also had more to offer. She was actively engaged in many charitable activities, where she played a vital role in creating awareness and offering support. Princess Diana was a fashion icon, popular but kind and emotional. She had her strengths and weaknesses, which she didn’t hide in a lot of cases. She was a major frontier that showed the world that the British Royal Family could connect more to the people, as she was more open. Her name is deeply inscribed in foundations that tackle major health issues like cancer, HIV/AIDS and mental health. Even over two decades after the tragic event of her the death, she continues to live on in the hearts of her admirers and supporters. She had been posthumously honoured and eternalised by several homages, tributes and by history itself. She is truly an eternal figure in history.
Princess Diana Mottos and Quotes:
1. I am going to write my script from now on
2. They do not understand me
3. Nobody understands me
4. I think the biggest disease the world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved. I know that I can give love for a minute, for half an hour, for a day, for a month, but I can give. I am very happy to do that. I want to do that.
5. People think that at the end of the day a man is the only answer. Actually, a fulfilling job is better for me.
6. Hugs can do great amounts of good – especially for children.
7. The greatest problem in the world today is intolerance. Everyone is so intolerant of each other.
8. Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.
9. I live for my sons. I would be lost without them.
10. I don’t want expensive gifts; I don’t want to be bought. I have everything I want. I just want someone to be there for me to make me feel safe and secure.
11. They say it is better to be poor and happy than rich and miserable, but how about a compromise like moderately rich and just moody?
12. I knew what my job was; it was to go out and meet the people and love them.
13. Any sane person would have left long ago. But I cannot. I have my sons.
14. Being a princess isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
15. HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug: Heaven knows they need it.
16. I don’t even know how to use a parking meter, let alone a phone box.
17. I wear my heart on my sleeve.
18. I’m as thick as a plank.
19. There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.
20. Anywhere I see suffering, that is where I want to be, doing what I can.
21. So many people supported me through my public life, and I will never forget them
22. I like to be a free spirit. Some don’t like that, but that’s the way I am.
23. The kindness and affection from the public have carried me through some of the most difficult periods, and always your love and affection have eased the journey.
24. Every one of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves.
25. I don’t go by the rule book… I lead from the heart, not the head.
26. I’d like to be a queen in people’s hearts, but I don’t see myself being Queen of this country.
27. If men had to have babies, they would only ever have one each.
28. You can’t comfort the afflicted with afflicting the comfortable.
29. The biggest disease this day and age is that of people feeling unloved.
30. I want to walk into a room, be it a hospital for the dying or a hospital for the sick children, and feel that I am needed. I want to do, not just to be.
31. If you find someone you love in your life, then hang on to that love.
32. Family is the most important thing in the world.
33. When you are happy, you can forgive a great deal.
34. I’m aware that people I have loved and have died and are in the spirit world looking after me.
35. I think like any marriage, especially when you’ve had divorced parents like myself; you want to try even harder to make it work.
36. What must it be like for a little boy to read that daddy never loved mummy?
37. I want my boys to have an understanding of people’s emotions, their insecurities, people’s distress, and their hopes and dreams.
38. I will fight for my children on any level so they can reach their potential as human beings and in their public duties.
39. Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society. It is a goal and an essential part of my life – a kind of destiny. Whoever is in distress can call on me. I will come running wherever they are.
40. It’s vital that the monarchy keeps in touch with the people. It’s what I try and do.