Diana Frances Spencer was born on July 1, 1961, on the royal estate of Sandrigham in Norfolk. She was the third daughter of the future Viscount and Viscountess Althorp. Diana's father, Edward John Spencer, served at the court of King George VI. Her mother, Frances Root, was the daughter of Lady Ferma, the Queen Mother's maid of honor.
"Lady Diana" she became in 1975, when her father assumed the hereditary title of earl. During this period, the family moved to the ancient ancestral castle of Althorp House in Nottregtonshire.
In the winter of 1977, shortly before leaving to study in Switzerland, sixteen-year-old Lady Diana meets Prince Charles for the first time when he arrives at Althorp for a hunting trip. At the time, the impeccably mannered, intelligent Charles seemed to Diana only "very amusing".
Once in Switzerland, Diana was soon homesick and returned to England early. Together with three girlfriends she rented an apartment in central London, and began working as an assistant teacher in the kindergarten "Young England" in Pimiliko.
In autumn 1980, first rumored her affair with the Prince of Wales. It all began with the fact that a reporter specializing in covering the private life of the royal family, filmed Prince Charles walking on the banks of the River Dee in Balmoral in the company of a young shy girl.
In February 1981, the pair met for a romantic candlelit dinner at Buckingham Palace. After dinner Charles finally asked her the most important question, and Diana gave him the answer. February 24, the engagement of the Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer was officially announced. The wedding was set for July 29 and was to take place in St. Paul's Cathedral. The whole of Great Britain was thrilled by the news: it lifted the nation's spirits during a rather gloomy economic downturn. Apparently, the timing of the wedding was very opportune.
On July 28, 1981, some 600,000 people already stood along the streets of London to welcome the wedding procession all the way from Buckingham Palace and Clarence House to St. Paul's Cathedral. The wedding ceremony was not just a British celebration: it was watched by at least 750 million television viewers around the world.
In general, during her appearances in public, Diana whenever possible, stopped to talk to people and listen to them. She was completely free to talk to people of different social strata, parties and religious movements.
Diane was personally involved in donating to the AIDS Foundation, the Royal Mardsen Foundation, the Leprosy Mission, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, Centropoint, and the English National Ballet.
Her most recent mission was to work to rid the world of land mines. Diana traveled to many countries, from Angola to Bosnia, to see firsthand the effects of these weapons.
In the early 1990s, a wall of misunderstanding grew between the most famous couple in the world.
In November 1995, Diana appeared on the popular television program "Panorama", giving a television interview with its host Martin Bashir. Brits were literally "glued" to their TV screens as Diana painedly gave her view of the most sensational story of the decade. Speaking of her marriage, she called it "the fairy tale everyone wanted to see in front of them. I really loved my spouse, wanted to share everything with him and thought that he and I were a team. Then, alluding to Prince Charles' relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles, Diana said: "But there were three of us in that marriage, so it turned out to be cramped."
Such words, especially in light of Prince Charles' earlier confessions, could no longer be ignored. Soon Queen Elizabeth recommended that the couple be divorced. The divorce was formalized the following summer. Diana retained the title Princess of Wales, but was no longer "Her Royal Highness. Despite this, interest in Diana did not diminish; on the contrary, the public paid increasing attention to the proud Lady Di.
Reporters still sought to penetrate the private life of the princess, especially after the summer of 1997 publicized her romantic affair with Dodi Al-Fayed, forty-one-year-old son of Arab millionaire Mohammed Al-Fayed, owner of luxury hotels. Diane and Dodi had known each other for years, but only became close in 1997.
In July, they spent the holidays in St. Tropez with Diana's sons, Princes William and Harry. The boys got along very well with their friendly host. Diana and Dodi later met in London and then went on a Mediterranean cruise aboard the luxury yacht Jonical. By the end of August, the Jonical had approached Portofino in Italy and then sailed to Sardinia. On Saturday, August 30, the couple in love set sail for Paris. The next day Diana was to fly to London to meet her sons on the last day of their summer vacation.
On Saturday night, Diane and Dodi decided to have dinner at the restaurant of the Ritz Hotel, which Dodi owned. At the first of the morning they prepared to head home. Wanting to avoid meeting the paparazzi crowding the front entrance, they left the hotel through the service exit. There they boarded the Mercedes S-280, accompanied by their bodyguard Trevor-Reese Jones and driver Henri Paul. Details of what happened a few minutes later are still not clear enough, but three of the four were killed in an accident in an underground tunnel beneath Plaça dell'Alma. Princess Diana was not easily rescued from the wrecked vehicle and was immediately rushed to the Petit Saltrier Hospital. The doctors' struggle for her life was inconclusive.
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