August 31st, 2019 will mark the 22nd anniversary of the tragic death of Princess Diana. Born into aristocracy as Diana Frances Spencer in 1961, she became Diana, Princess of Wales, upon her marriage to Prince Charles. She was destined to be the future Queen of England, but fate would not allow it.
Diana grew up in Norfolk, England on the Sandringham Estate. She was only six years old when her parents divorced. This event saddened her deeply and affected her for the rest of her life.
When her school days were done, she took several different jobs, from nannying to restaurant cook. She was quickly noticed by the paparazzi when her courtship with Prince Charles began in the late 1970’s…the cameras would never leave her alone from then on.
Diana married Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, on July 29th, 1981. The day was deemed the ultimate “fairy tale wedding” by the press, but the actual marriage would prove quite the opposite of a beautiful fairy tale. Despite all of the glamour and smiles, Diana would later admit that her wedding day was “the worst day of my life.”
Little did the public know, during their engagement both Diana and Charles had serious doubts about their love for one another. These doubts would lead to terrible rumors and infidelity. Both of them had affairs during the marriage, with Charles resuming a relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowels-- a flame from his past he never quite got over. Diana always knew about this relationship, and it caused her much mental and emotional turmoil.
Despite sharing two children, William and Harry, the couple’s relationship was irreconcilable, and in 1996 they were officially divorced.
Although no longer a member of the royal family, “The People’s Princess” remained beloved by the public, not only in Britain but all across the globe. Her death therefore came as a total shock to the entire world.
On August 31st, 1997, Diana and her companion, Dodi Fayed, were in Paris. They had just left the hotel where they were staying and were being hounded by the paparazzi. Their driver crashed their Mercedes in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel, fatally wounding Dodi and the driver. Only her bodyguard came out of the wreck alive, although critically injured and having lost any memory of the event. Diana was mortally wounded and died after being taken to a local hospital. She was 36 years old.
Funeral procession of Princess Diana
Her funeral was broadcast to the world from Westminster Abbey. Her brother Charles, the Earl Spencer, gave a moving eulogy that criticized both the paparazzi and also the royal family for their treatment of his sister. She was laid to rest at Althorp Estate in Northampton, England, on a picturesque island known as the Oval.
Princess Diana's gravesite
Diana’s legacy was one for the ages, and she will never be forgotten. Her contributions to humanity served to bring about progress in many areas…from eradicating stigmas surrounding AIDS, HIV and other diseases, to raising awareness of existing landmines. Diana’s personal touch remains, and her legacy lives on in her children and grandchildren.
To read more about the life and death of Princess Diana, see here: