Diana, Princess of Wales
Spencer (Diana Frances Mountbatten-Windsor, née Spencer) (1 July
1997) was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales. From her marriage
to her divorce in 1996 she was styled Her Royal Highness The Princess
her divorce in 1996, Diana ceased to be a Royal Highness and The
Princess of Wales
and instead was styled Diana, Princess of Wales. She was
often called Princess Diana by the media and the public, but this was
both during and after her marriage, as she was only ever a Princess by
marriage, not by birth.'
An iconic presence on the world-stage, Diana, Princess of Wales
for her pioneering charity work. Yet her philanthropic endeavours were
overshadowed by her scandal-plagued marriage to Prince Charles. Her
accusations via friends and biographers of adultery, mental cruelty and
emotional distress visited upon her riveted the world for much of the
spawning books, magazine articles and television movies.
From the time of her engagement to the Prince of Wales in 1981 until
in a car accident in 1997, the Princess was arguably the most famous
the world, the pre-eminent female celebrity of her generation: a
an image of feminine beauty, admired and emulated for her high-profile
involvement in AIDS issues and the international campaign against
During her lifetime, she was often referred to as the most photographed
in the world. To her admirers, The Princess of Wales was a role model —
her death, there were even calls for her to be nominated for sainthood
her detractors saw her life as a cautionary tale of how an obsession
publicity can ultimately destroy an individual.
The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer was born as the youngest daughter
Edward Spencer, Viscount Althorp, and his first wife, Frances Spencer,
Viscountess Althorp (formerly the Honourable Frances Burke Roche) at
on the Sandringham estate. She was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene
Sandringham, by Rt. Rev. Percy Herbert (rector of the church and former
of Norwich and Blackburn);
her godparents included John Floyd (the chairman of Christie's) and
(a niece of the Queen Mother). Partially American in ancestry — a
great-grandmother was the American heiress Frances Work — she was also
descendant of King Charles I.
During her parents' acrimonious divorce over Lady Althorp's adultery
wallpaper heir Peter Shand Kydd, Diana's mother sued for custody of her
children, but Lord Althorp's rank, aided by Lady Althorp's mother's
against her daughter during the trial, meant custody of Diana and her
was awarded to their father. On the death of her paternal grandfather,
Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer, in 1975, Diana's father became the 8th Earl
and she acquired the courtesy title of The Lady Diana Spencer and moved
her childhood home at Park House to her family's sixteenth-century
of Althorp. A year later, Lord Spencer married Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the only daughter of the romance
Barbara Cartland, after being named as the "other party" in the Earl
and Countess of Dartmouth's
Diana was educated at Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk and at West Heath
School (later reorganized as the New School at West Heath, a special
boys and girls) in Sevenoaks, Kent, where she was regarded as an
below-average student, having failed all of her O-level examinations.
aged 16, she left West Heath and briefly attended Institut Alpin
finishing school in Rougemont, Switzerland (Diana's future husband was
dating her sister, Lady Sarah at that time). Diana was a talented
pianist, excelled in sports and reportedly longed to be a ballerina.
Family and Marriage
Diana's family, the Spencers, had been close to the British Royal
decades. Her maternal grandmother, Ruth, Lady Fermoy, was a longtime
and a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother.
The Prince's love life had always been the subject of press
speculation, and he
was linked to numerous women. Nearing his mid-thirties, he was under
pressure to marry. In order to gain the approval of his family and
advisors, including his great-uncle Lord Mountbatten of Burma, any
bride had to have an aristocratic background, could not have been
married, should be Protestant and, preferably, a virgin. Diana
fulfilled all of
Reportedly, the Prince's former girlfriend (and, eventually, his second
Camilla Parker Bowles helped him select the 19-year-old Lady Diana
Spencer as a
potential bride, who was working as an assistant at the Young England
kindergarten in Pimlico. Buckingham
engagement on 24 February 1981. Mrs. Parker Bowles had been dismissed
Mountbatten of Burma as a potential spouse for the heir to throne some
before, reportedly due to her age (16 months the Prince's senior), her
experience, and her lack of suitably aristocratic lineage.
The wedding took place at St Paul's
Wednesday 29 July 1981 before 3,500 invited guests (including Mrs.
Bowles and her husband, a godson of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother)
estimated 1 billion television viewers around the world. Diana was the
Englishwoman to marry an heir to the throne since 1659, when Lady Anne
married the Duke of York and Albany, the future King James II. Upon her
marriage, Diana became Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales and was ranked as the most senior
woman in the United
after the Queen and the Queen Mother.
The Prince and Princess of Wales
had two children, Prince William of Wales
on 21 June 1982 and Prince Henry of Wales (commonly called
Harry) on 15 September 1984.
After the birth of Prince William, the Princess of Wales
suffered from post-natal
depression. She had previously suffered from bulimia nervosa, which
and she made a number of suicide attempts. In one interview, released
death, she claimed that, while pregnant with Prince William, she threw
down a set of stairs and was discovered by her mother-in-law (that is,
Elizabeth II). It has been suggested she did not, in fact, intend to
life (or that the suicide attempts never even took place) and that she
merely making a 'cry for help'. In the same interview in which she told
suicide attempt while pregnant with Prince William, she said her
accused her of crying wolf when she threatened to kill herself. It has
been suggested that she suffered from borderline personality disorder.
In the mid 1980s her marriage fell apart, an event at first suppressed,
then sensationalised, by the world media. Both the Prince and Princess
the press through friends, accusing each other of blame for the
demise. Charles resumed his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles,
became involved with James Hewitt and possibly later with James Gilbey,
whom she was involved in the so-called Squidgygate affair.
She later confirmed (in a television interview with Martin Bashir) the
with her riding instructor, James Hewitt. (Theoretically, such an
constituted high treason by both parties.) Another alleged lover was a
bodyguard assigned to the Princess's security detail, although the
adamantly denied a sexual relationship with him. After her separation
Prince Charles, Diana was allegedly involved with married art dealer
Hoare, rugby player Will Carling as well as heart surgeon Hasnat Khan
finally becoming involved with Dodi Fayed.
The Prince and Princess of Wales
were separated on 9 December 1992; their divorce was finalised on 28
1996. The Princess lost the style Her Royal Highness and the title The
of Wales and instead was styled as Diana, Princess of Wales, However,
time, and to this day, Buckingham Palace maintains, since the Princess
mother of the second and third in line to the throne, she was
member of the Royal Family.
In 2004, the American TV network NBC broadcast tapes of Diana
marriage to the Prince of Wales, including her description of her
attempts. The tapes were in the possession of the Princess during her
however, after her death, her butler took possession, and after
wranglings, they were given to the Princess's voice coach, who had
filmed them. These tapes have not been broadcast in the United Kingdom.
Starting in the mid-to-late 1980s, the Princess of Wales
became well known for her
support of charity projects, and is credited with considerable
her campaigns against the use of landmines and helping the victims of
In April 1987, the Princess of Wales
was the first high-profile celebrity to be photographed knowingly
person infected with the HIV virus. Her contribution to changing the
opinion of AIDS sufferers was summarised in December 2001 by Bill
the 'Diana, Princess of Wales
Lecture on AIDS', when he said:
In 1987, when so many still
believed that AIDS could be contracted through casual contact, Princess
sat on the sickbed of a man with AIDS and held his hand. She showed the
that people with AIDS deserve no isolation, but compassion and
helped change world opinion, and gave hope to people with AIDS with an
of saved lives of people at risk.
Perhaps her most widely publicised charity appearance was her visit to Angola
January 1997, when, serving as an International Red Cross VIP
visited landmine survivors in hospitals, toured de-mining projects run
HALO Trust, and attended mine awareness education classes about the
mines immediately surrounding homes and villages.
The pictures of Diana touring a minefield, in a ballistic helmet and
jacket, were seen worldwide. (In fact, mine-clearance experts had
cleared the pre-planned walk that Diana took wearing the protective
In August that year, she visited Bosnia with the Landmine
Network. Her interest in landmines was focused on the injuries they
often to children, long after the conflict has finished.
She is widely acclaimed for her influence on the signing by the
the UK and other
Treaty in December 1997, after her death, which created an
international ban on
the use of anti-personnel landmines. Introducing the Second Reading of
Landmines Bill 1998 to the British House of Commons, the Foreign
Robin Cook, paid tribute to Diana's work on landmines:
All Honourable Members will be aware from their postbags of the immense
contribution made by Diana, Princess of Wales to bringing home to many
constituents the human costs of landmines. The best way in which to
appreciation of her work, and the work of NGOs that have campaigned
landmines, is to pass the Bill, and to pave the way towards a global
As of January 2005, Diana's legacy on landmines remained unfulfilled.
United Nations appealed to the nations which produced and stockpiled
largest numbers of landmines (China,
India, North Korea, Pakistan,
Russia and the United States) to sign the Ottawa Treaty
forbidding their production and
use, for which Diana had campaigned. Carol Bellamy, Executive Director
United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), said that landmines remained
deadly attraction for children, whose innate curiosity and need for
lure them directly into harm's way".
On 31 August 1997 Diana was involved in a car accident in the Pont de
road tunnel in Paris,
along with her friend and lover Dodi Fayed, and their driver Henri
Fayed's bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones is the only person who survived the
Late in the evening of Saturday 30 August, Diana and Fayed departed the
Ritz in Place Vendome, Paris, and sped
north bank of the Seine. Shortly
midnight on 31 August, their Mercedes-Benz S 280 entered the underpass
the Place de l'Alma, travelling at high speed and pursued by nine
photographers in various vehicles and a motorcycle courier.
At the entrance to the tunnel, their car struck a glancing blow to the
right-hand wall. It swerved to the left of the two-lane carriageway and
collided head-on with the thirteenth pillar supporting the roof, then
spun to a
As the casualties lay seriously injured in their wrecked car, the
continued to take pictures.
Dodi Fayed and Henri Paul were both declared dead at the scene of the
Trevor Rees-Jones was severely injured, but later recovered. Diana was
alive, from the wreckage, and after some delay due to attempts to
at the scene, she was taken by ambulance to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital,
arriving there shortly after 2:00 a.m.. Despite attempts to save her,
injuries were too extensive. Two hours later, at 4:00 that morning, the
pronounced her dead. At 5:30, her death was announced at a press
held by a hospital doctor, Jean-Pierre Chevènement (France's
Interior Minister) and Sir Michael Jay (Britain's
ambassador to France).
Later that morning,
Chevenement, together with Lionel Jospin, the French Prime Minister,
Chirac, the wife of the French President Jacques Chirac, and Bernard
French Health Minister, visited the hospital room where Diana's body
paid their last respects. After their visits, the Anglican Archdeacon
France, Father Martin Draper, said commendatory prayers from the Book
At around 2:00 p.m. the Prince of Wales and Diana's two sisters, Lady
McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, arrived in Paris to collect Diana's body. They
her body 90 minutes later.
Initial media reports stated Diana's car had collided with the pillar
at over 190 km/h
and that the
speedometer's needle had jammed at that position. It was later
car's actual speed on collision was about 95-110 km/h (60-70 mph), and that
speedometer had no needle as it was digital (which conflicts with the
available equipment and features of the W140 Mercedes-Benz S-Class,
a computer-controlled analogue speedometer, with no digital readout for
The car was certainly travelling much faster than the legal speed limit
of 50 km/h
and faster than was
prudent for the Alma
underpass. In 1999 a
French investigation concluded the Mercedes had come into contact with
vehicle (a white Fiat Uno) in the tunnel. The driver of that vehicle
come forward, and the vehicle itself has not been found.
The investigators concluded that the crash was an accident brought on
intoxicated driver attempting to elude pursuing paparazzi at high speed.
In November 2003, Christian Martinez and Fabrice Chassery, the
who took photos of the casualties after the crash, and Jacques
took photos as the couple left the Ritz Hotel, were cleared of
On 6 January 2004, seven years after her death, an inquest into the
Diana opened in London
held by Michael Burgess, the coroner of The Queen's Household.
Although the official investigation found Diana had died as a result of
accident, there are a significant number of conspiracy theories that
The French investigators' conclusion that Henri Paul was drunk was made
on the basis of an analysis of blood samples, which were stated to
alcohol level that (according to Jay's September 1997 report) was three
the legal limit. This initial analysis was challenged by a British
hired by the Fayeds; in response, French authorities carried out a
this time using the medically more conclusive fluid from the sclera
the eye), which confirmed the level of alcohol measured by blood and
showed Paul had been taking antidepressants.
The samples were also said to contain a level of carbon monoxide
high as to have prevented him from driving a car (or even from
maintain this strongly indicates the samples were tampered with. No
DNA test has been carried out on the samples, and Henri Paul's family
been allowed to commission independent tests on them.
The families of Dodi Fayed and Henri Paul have not accepted the French
investigators' findings. In the Scottish courts, Mohamed Al-Fayed
an order directing there be a public inquiry and is to appeal against
denial of his application. Fayed, for his part, stands by his belief
Princess and his son were killed in an elaborate conspiracy launched by
(MI6) on the orders of the "racist" Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. This
apparently based on the grounds that the Duke abhorred the idea of his
grandsons potentially having Muslim or half-Arab siblings.
Other motivations which have been advanced for murder include
intended to convert to Islam, and that she was pregnant with Dodi's
January 2004, the former coroner of The Queen's Household, Dr. John
said (in an interview with The Times) that he attended a post-mortem
examination of the Princess's body at Fulham mortuary, where he
examined her womb and found her not to be pregnant.
Later in 2004, US TV network CBS showed pictures of the crash scene
intact rear side and an intact centre section of the Mercedes,
including one of
an unbloodied Diana with no outward injuries, crouched on the rear
floor of the
vehicle with her back to the right passenger seat — the right rear car
completely opened. The release of these pictures caused uproar in the UK,
was widely felt that the privacy of the Princess was being infringed,
spurred another lawsuit by Mohammed Al-Fayed.
Rumours and conspiracies theories aside, it is clear that Diana, Dodi
were not wearing seat belts when the car crashed. Rees-Jones, the only
survivor, had his seat belt on. Also, the underpass at the Place de
known as an accident black spot; it is on a stretch of high-speed road
has limited visibility ahead in places; and there are square-shaped
the central reservation which could lead to collisions.
Funeral and public reaction
Diana's death was greeted with extraordinary public grief, and her
funeral at Westminster Abbey on 6
September drew an estimated 3
million mourners in London,
as well as worldwide television coverage.
More than one million bouquets were left at her London
Palace, while at
her family's estate of
Althorp the public was asked to stop bringing flowers, as the volume of
and flowers in the surrounding roads was causing a threat to public
The reaction of the Royal Family to the death of Diana caused
resentment and outcry. The Royal Family's rigid adherence to protocol
intepreted by the public as a lack of compassion: the refusal of Buckingham Palace to fly the Union Flag at
mast provoked angry headlines in newspapers. "Where is our Queen? Where
our Flag?" asked The Sun. The Queen, who returned to London from
Balmoral, agreed to a television
broadcast to the nation. At the urging of Downing
what was to be a recorded piece became a live broadcast, and the script
revised by Alastair Campbell to be more "human".
Mourners cast flowers at the funeral procession for almost the entire
its journey before and after the service, and vehicles even stopped on
opposite carriageway of the M1 as the cars passed on the route to
Abbey crowds cheered the dozens of celebrities who filed inside,
singer Sir Elton John (who performed a re-written version of his song
the Wind). The service was televised live throughout the world, and
loudspeakers were placed outside so the crowds could hear the
Tradition was defied when the guests applauded the speech by Diana's
Lord Spencer, who strongly criticised the press and indirectly
Royal Family for their treatment of her, although Lord Spencer himself
years earlier refused Diana permission to use a cottage at Althorp as a
sanctuary due to his fears about press intrusion into his family home.
In the midst of this "public outpouring of grief" many commentators
and members of the public found themselves nonplussed by what they
to be mawkish, sentimental and self-indulgent displays of insincere
The writer Francis Wheen recalls: On that Sunday afternoon I was
a neighbour, a ferociously conservative columnist on the Daily Mail: “I
bear much more of this. Fancy a drink in the pub?” Disgust was also
through what was perceived by many as a hypocritical turnaround on the
many sectors of the media, in particular the tabloid press, who had
shifted from the portrayal of Diana as a promiscuous, manipulative
bimbo to the
depiction of Diana as a saintly martyr.
When the satirical magazine Private Eye issued a mock editorial
consisting of a
retraction of previous negative statements made against Diana, the
found itself subjected to heavy criticism from the press and was
removed from the shelves of WH Smith and other newsagents. Defenders of
magazine argued that the parody had been directed towards the attitude
media, and not the death in itself; the episode was seen by many to be
indicative of a pervasive self-righteous and bullying mentality.
Diana, Princess of Wales
is buried at Althorp in Northamptonshire on an island in the middle of
called the Round Oval. A visitors' centre is open during summer months,
allowing visitors to see an exhibition about her and walk around the
During the four weeks following her funeral, the overall suicide rate
in England and Wales
rose by 17%, compared with
the average reported for that period in the four previous years.
suggest that this was caused by the "identification" effect, as the
greatest increase in suicides was by people most similar to Diana:
25 to 44, whose suicide rate increased by over 45%.
In the years after her death, interest in the life of Diana has
especially in the United
States of America. Numerous
collectables continue to produce Diana merchandise. Such items have
strong derision from certain quarters for their alleged kitsch value.
suggested making Diana a saint, stirring much controversy.
As a temporary memorial, the public co-opted the Flamme de Liberté
(Flame of Liberty), a monument near the
Alma Tunnel, and related to
the French donation of the Statue of Liberty
the United States.
The messages of condolence have since been removed, and its use as a
memorial has discontinued, though visitors visit and still leave
the site in her memory. The concrete wall at the edge of the tunnel is
used as an impromptu memorial for people to write their thoughts and
about Diana. A permanent memorial, the Diana, Princess of Wales
Fountain was opened in Hyde Park in London on 6 July 2004, but it has
plagued with problems and has been declared off-limits to the public at
twice for repairs.
In 1999, a
little more than a year after her death, the journalist Christopher
made a comment about her while on a cruise ship. He stated that Diana
in common with a minefield the following: relatively easy to lay but
difficult, expensive, and dangerous to get rid of." When there was a
backlash concerning his quip he said he thought, "it was funny."
Diana was ranked third in the (2002) Great Britons poll sponsored by
and voted for by the British public. In this poll, she was ranked just
Charles Darwin (4th), who changed the course of history through his
natural selection, William Shakespeare (5th), regarded by many as the
in the English language, and Isaac Newton (6th), widely held to be the
influential scientist in the history of humanity.
In 2003, Marvel Comics announced it was to publish a five-part series
Di Another Day (a reference to the James Bond film Die Another Day)
resurrected Diana, Princess of Wales
as a mutant with superpowers, as part of Peter Milligan's satirical
title. Amidst considerable (and predictable) outcry, the idea was
dropped. Heliograph Incorporated produced a roleplaying game, Diana:
Princess by Marcus L. Rowland about a fictionalised version of the
century as it might be seen a thousand years from now.
After her death, the actor Kevin Costner, who had been introduced to
by her former sister-in-law, Sarah, Duchess of York claimed he had been
negotiations with the divorced Princess to co-star in a sequel to the
film The Bodyguard, which starred Costner and Whitney Houston. Buckingham Palace dismissed Costner's
The Honourable Diana Spencer (1 July 1961–9 June 1975)
The Lady Diana Spencer (9 June 1975–29 July 1981)
Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales (29 July 1981–28 August 1996)
Diana, Princess of Wales (28 August 1996–31 August 1997)
The style "Princess Diana" was incorrect at all times of her life,
though often used by the public and the media. After her divorce she
be the Princess of Wales
was styled Diana, Princess of Wales
acting on precedent of divorced peeresses where the former title acts
Prior to her marriage, much research was done into Diana's lineage by
genealogists. It was much publicized that her ancestry included links
individuals such as Hollywood screen
Humphrey Bogart (who was her 7th cousin), and poet Edmund Spenser, the
of The Faerie Queen.
Actor Oliver Platt is more closely related; both he and Diana, Princess
descendants of Frances Work, a late 19th-century American heiress who
the wife of the Hon. James Burke Roche, later 3rd Baron Fermoy.
Diana death probe: two
Taken from the ‘SA Independent Online’ February 07 2006
London - Two laptops have been stolen from offices used by a former
chief who is heading a probe into the death of Princess Diana in a
crash in 1997, a
newspaper said on Tuesday.
The theft sparked fears that the equipment may contain material from
Paget, the investigation headed by former Metropolitan Police
John Stevens, the Daily Express said. However, a spokesperson for the
Metropolitan said the computers did not contain any sensitive
any material linked to the probe.
Lord Stevens, a former chief constable of Northumbria Police, has an
Gosforth on the outskirts of Newcastle upon Tyne.
Detectives with Northumbria
Police are investigating two burglaries there in the past 10 days, the
The first took place on the weekend of January 28 to 29 when the
cash were taken. The second took place last weekend, when nothing was
Police also said there was no evidence that the break-ins were linked
Stevens has been investigating speculation that the princess of Wales'
was not the result of a straightforward car accident. The probe was
2004 by the royal coroner, Michael Burgess, amid continuing conspiracy
Diana married Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, in 1981 and the
separated 11 years later. Diana, 36, her lover Dodi Fayed and their
Henri Paul were killed when they crashed in a Paris tunnel on August 31, 1997.
A two-year French investigation blamed Paul for losing control of the
because he was high on drink and prescription drugs and driving too
Inquiry into Diana's death
shocking - reports
Taken from ‘Stuff Co NZ’ 07 February 2006
The findings of a two-year investigation in the death of Diana,
Princess of Wales,
contain some shocking conclusions, British newspapers reported at the
But the inquiry's findings won't become public for some time: Michael
the Royal Coroner, will receive the report in the next few months and
inquest is not expected until next year.
Lord Stevens, the former Metropolitan Police commissioner heading the
investigation, told the Daily Telegraph the inquiry was "far more
than any of us thought". He said some of the issues raised by Mohammed
Fayed, owner of Harrods store, whose son Dodi died with the princess in
crash in Paris
on August 31, 1997, were "right to be raised". Mr Fayed has claimed
the couple were victims of an assassination plot orchestrated by Prince
and involving British intelligence agencies.
The princess's friends have dismissed suggestions that she was pregnant
couple were to marry. Lord Stevens said in a recent television
his investigation had been "certainly worthwhile'. "It is right to
say that some of the issues that have been raised by Mr Fayed have been
to be raised. We are pursing those. It is a far more complex inquiry
of us thought," he said.
The official conclusion that car driver Henri Paul was drunk and on
anti-depressants at the time, and that the car was likely to be the
involved, have never been accepted by the families of Dodi Fayed or
The Independent on Sunday said Lord Stevens' remarks were a deliberate
to prepare public opinion for some shocking conclusions."People are
to be very surprised about what we have to say," said one senior
closely involved with the inquiry.
Mr Fayed's spokesman refused to comment, saying it was "not
appropriate" while the process was ongoing. Another source close to the
Harrods boss said Mr Fayed felt "vindicated" by Lord Stevens'
Holingher Mihai Daniel Noris , VII-a , Sc. Alexandru