People Who Kick BuTs: Diana, Princess Of Wales
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- Born on July 1, 1961 and passed away on August 1997.
- Was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981, and member of the British Royal Family.
- She was also well known for her fund-raising work for international charities, and an eminent celebrity of the late 20th century. Her wedding to Charles, heir to the British throne and those of the then 18 Commonwealth realms, was held at St Paul’s Cathedral and seen by a global television audience of over 750 million.
- While married she bore the courtesy titles Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Chester and Baroness of Renfrew. The marriage produced two sons, the princes William and Harry, currently second and third in line to the throne, respectively.
- Diana was born into an aristocratic English family with royal ancestry and became a public figure with the announcement of her engagement to Prince Charles.
- Diana also received recognition for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines.
- She remained the object of worldwide media scrutiny during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996. Media attention and public mourning were considerable after her death in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997.
- She was the fourth of five children of the Viscount and Viscountess Althorp (née Frances Roche, later Shand Kydd). The Spencers are one of Britain’s oldest and most important families, closely allied with the Royal Family for several generations. The Spencers were hoping for a boy to carry on the family line, and no name was chosen for a week, until they settled on Diana Frances, after a Spencer ancestress and her mother.
- Diana was eight years old when her parents divorced. Her mother had an affair with Peter Shand Kydd.
In Morton’s book, he describes Diana’s remembrance of Lord Althorp loading suitcases in the car and Frances crunching across the gravel forecourt and driving away through the gates of Park House. Diana lived with Frances in London during her parents’ separation, but during the Christmas holidays by the end of the year, Lord Althorp refused to let Frances return to London along with Diana. Shortly afterwards, Lord Althorp eventually won custody of Diana with support from his mother-in-law, Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy. Diana was first educated at Riddlesworth Hall near Diss, Norfolk, and later attended boarding school at The New School at West Heath, in Sevenoaks, Kent.
- In 1968, Diana was sent to Riddlesworth Hall, an all-girls boarding school. While she was young, she attended a local public school. She did not shine academically, and was moved to West Heath Girls’ School (later reorganised as The New School at West Heath) in Sevenoaks, Kent, where she was regarded as a poor student, having attempted and failed all of her O-levels twice.
- However, she showed a particular talent for music as an accomplished pianist. Her outstanding community spirit was recognised with an award from West Heath. In 1977, she left West Heath and briefly attended Institut Alpin Videmanette, a finishing school in Rougemont, Switzerland.
At about that time, she first met her future husband, who was then in a relationship with her older sister, Sarah. Diana also excelled in swimming and diving, and longed to be a professional ballerina with the Royal Ballet. She studied ballet for a time, but then grew too tall for the profession.
- Diana moved to London in 1978, living in her mother’s flat, as her mother then spent most of the year in Scotland. Soon afterwards, an apartment was purchased for £50,000 as an 18th birthday present, at Coleherne Court in Earls Court.
She lived there until 1981 with three flatmates. In London, she took an advanced cooking course at her mother’s suggestion, although she never became an adroit cook, and worked as a dance instructor for youth, until a skiing accident caused her to miss three months of work. She then found employment as a playgroup (pre-school) assistant, did some cleaning work for her sister Sarah and several of her friends, and worked as a hostess at parties. Diana also spent time working as a nanny for an American family living in London.
- On 31 August 1997, Diana was fatally injured in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris, which also caused the deaths of her companion Dodi Fayed and the driver, Henri Paul, acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris. Millions of people watched her funeral.