Lady Diana Frances Spencer, Princess of Wales, was born this day in 1961.
The precocious Diana was the daughter of Johnny Spencer and Frances Roche.
At the time of her birth, Diana’s father was titled Viscount Althorp. On his father’s death in June 1975, Johnny became Earl Spencer. Now the daughter of an Earl, Diana became known as ‘Lady Diana’.
The Spencer family consisted of two daughters, Sarah and Jane, when Diana was born. She had an elder brother named John, but sadly he died at birth. Shortly after Diana’s debut in the world, she was followed by a younger brother, Charles Edward.
Lady Diana married Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales at St. Paul’s Cathedral on July 29th, 1981. As neighbors on the royal Sandringham estate, their families had known each other for many years, and Lady Diana and The Prince had met again when he was invited to a weekend at Althorp in November 1977.
During her marriage, Diana undertook a wide range of royal duties as the Princess of Wales. She especially focused on charities and projects set up to help those in need.
Charles and Diana had two sons, Princes William and Harry, within two years of one another. Both Princes are extremely active today in charities that Diana was particularly fond of during her life.
Though Diana and Prince Charles divorced in 1996, she was still considered a part of the royal family and was styled ‘Diana, Princess of Wales’.
On August 31st of the following year, Diana died in a tragic car accident in a Paris tunnel. Though still alive when pulled from the wreckage, her two companions – driver Henri Paul and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed – were dead at the scene. Diana died later at the hospital.
The Queen gave an extremely rare live address to the nation on September 5th from Buckingham Palace. In her speech, Her Majesty stated:
No-one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of others who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her. I for one believe there are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death. I share in your determination to cherish her memory.
See the official Royal website’s tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales.