Princess Diana of Wales


Tribune News Service

“PEOPLE’S PRINCESS.” Princess Diana meets with a child during her visit to Angola. She was extremely popular for her humanitarian efforts and remains so even after her death. Diana was particularly known for her positive energy and her ability to uplift those around her.

“Everyone needs to be valued. Everyone has the potential to give something back if only they had the chance.” – Princess Diana of Wales

Remembered as the “people’s princess,” Diana Frances Mountbatten-Windsor, Princess of Wales, was known for her widespread popularity and global humanitarian efforts.

Princess Diana was born Diana Spencer on July 1, 1961 near Sandringham, England to Edward John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, and Frances Ruth Burke Roche, Viscountess Althorp.

Her parents divorced when Diana was young, with her father winning child custody.

In 1975, Diana became Lady Diana Spencer after her father inherited the title of Earl.

Known for her shyness, she began to show an interest in music and dancing as well as a fondness for children while growing up.

After attending school at Institut Alpin Videmanette in Switzerland, she moved to London, where she began working with children, eventually becoming an assistant at Young England Kindergarten.

In 1977, Diana, having played with Prince Andrew Albert Christian Edward, now Duke of York, and Prince Edward Antony Richard Louis, now Earl of Wessex, as a child, reacquainted herself with their older brother and heir to the throne Prince Charles Philip Arthur George.

The couple married on July 29, 1981 in a ceremony that was broadcast around the world, with millions of people watching what was considered the wedding of the century.

As princess, Diana strongly supported various charities and worked to help the homeless, children in need, and those with HIV and AIDS. She often spent time visiting the homeless and terminally ill patients in hospices.

Diana played a significant role in de-stigmatizing those with HIV and raising awareness about the dangers of landmines, particularly in war-torn Angola.

She and the prince had two children – Prince William Arthur Philip Louis and Prince Henry Charles Albert David, better known as Prince Harry. But as time passed, the royal couple grew apart, eventually divorcing in 1996.

She began dating Egyptian film producer and playboy Dodi Fayed in 1997.

While visiting Paris, the couple was involved in a car crash after trying to flee the paparazzi in the morning of Aug. 31, 1997. Fayed and the driver died in the crash while Diana was transported to a Paris hospital where she died hours later.

Thousands of mourners packed the street for Diana’s funeral procession on Sept. 6, 1997, with an estimated 2.5 million watching on TV.

“No one who knew Diana will ever forget 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,” said Queen Elizabeth II said in a televised address.

The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was created after her death to continue her humanitarian work around the world, providing resources for penal reform, asylum, palliative care, and much more.

It was incorporated into The Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry  in 2013.

20 years after her death, a collection of Diana’s outfits were exhibited at Kensington Palace. A musical titled “Diana” is set to debut at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse this year in her honor.