Life of Diana Frances Spencer

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The second chapter has very complex structure of four paragraphs as it concerns that tragic event which still after more than eleven years has no clear explanation and lots of mystery around – car crush on 30 August 1997 that cut Lady Di's life short. The first paragraph gives brief overview of those fatal events. When Diana, Princess of Wales tragically died in that senseless accident, the world lost one of the most important and respected public figures in the world. So, in the second paragraph public mourning is depicted. The third paragraph deals with those conspiracy theories that arose right after Diana's death. And the last fourth paragraph rises the questions that were under discussion during the inquest of this case.


Introduction 3
Chapter 1. Life of Diana Frances Spencer 6
1.1 Сhildhood and teenage years 6
1.2 Education 7
1.3 Marriage: engagement, wedding and divorce 8
Chapter 2. Death of Diana, Princess of Wales 12
2.1 Circumstances of the car crush 12
2.2 Funeral and public reaction 14
2.3 Conspiracy theories 17
2.4 2007 inquest 19
Chapter 3. Princess Diana in public 22
3.1 Charity work, AIDS awareness 22
3.2 Landmines conclusion 26
3.3 Legacy 27
Chapter 4. Diana, Princess of Wales as a symbol of British culture 29
4.1 Diana in Contemporary Art 29
4.2 The Queen of Hearts – Diana, Princess of Wales 31
Conclusion 34
Bibliography 36
Appendix 39

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The present work is devoted to Diana Frances Spencer, a woman from the last century, who sticks out, to have been a leader for people all over the world. With the dawn of a new millennium upon us we need more women like Princess Diana to step up and become leaders in this changing world.

Diana made a difference. "She had the world genuflecting before her. Ronald Reagan was a nervous wreck in her presence, John Travolta was left starry-eyed after a dance with her, Luciano Pavarotti cried for her, Andre Agassi stood in silence for her, Gianni Versace designed for her, Elton John sang for her and cried with her. She was the best thing that happened to a tiny island since the Beatles" [42].

The principle aim of this work is to follow the life of Diana, Princess of Wales, circumstances of her tragic death, public activity, her great influence on  public opinion about principle aspects of modern life, her place in British culture etc. Current work in this direction is intended to provide lots of biographical data, facts, opinions and theories concerning this outstanding figure of present day British history, person who created this history.

This work consists of several parts. It begins with the introduction that represents the problem under discussion. There are three principle chapters, as follows:

  • Life of Diana Frances Spencer;
  • Death of Diana, Princess of Wales;
  • Princess Diana in public;
  • Diana, Princess of Wales as a symbol of British culture.

In the first chapter it is supposed to give basic information about Diana Frances Spencer, the main events of her life, her "transformation" from a noble girl into Princess of Wales. This chapter consists of three paragraphs. Each of them is devoted to a separate period of Diana's life: childhood, education and marriage.

The second chapter has very complex structure of four paragraphs as it concerns that tragic event which still after more than eleven years has no clear explanation and lots of mystery around – car crush on 30 August 1997 that cut Lady Di's life short. The first paragraph gives brief overview of those fatal events. When Diana, Princess of Wales tragically died in that senseless accident, the world lost one of the most important and respected public figures in the world. So, in the second paragraph public mourning is depicted. The third paragraph deals with those conspiracy theories that arose right after Diana's death. And the last fourth paragraph rises the questions that were under discussion during the inquest of this case.

"Even though more than ten years has passed since her death, Diana still has an influence and impact through the Princess Diana charity work programs" [32]. That's why the third paragraph of the course paper below is devoted to Lady Di public and charity work and the legacy she left. That is one of the main reasons why this woman became well-known and admired all over the world. She was not just a wife of the Prince but a celebrity who use her fame and glory to actively campaign for the less fortunate in the world, especially the children. Two separate paragraphs describe her activities concerning charity work and AIDS awareness, and landmines conclusion. And the third paragraph gives a brief description of the legacy.

And the last chapter is devoted to the title problem: what place does Princess Diana take in the culture of Great Britain? In the first paragraph the main pieces of art associated with Lady Di are enumerated. Unfortunately, most of pictures, films and monuments were created after that fatal car crush, and mostly inspired by such senseless death. The matter in the second paragraph is about love and great respect people pay to her. The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, addressing the nation on the Sunday morning following the accident, dubbed her "The People's Princess". "So she was, and so she is remembered" [48]. Though her official titles and styles are as follows:

  • The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer (1 July 1961 – 9 June 1975);
  • The Lady Diana Frances Spencer (9 June 1975 – 29 July 1981);
  • Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales (29 July 1981 – 28 August 1996),
  • Diana, Princess of Wales (28 August 1996 – 31 August 1997).

Posthumously, as in life, she is most popularly referred to as "Princess Diana", a title she never held. Still, she is sometimes referred to (according to the tradition of using maiden names after death) in the media as "Lady Diana Spencer", or simply as "Lady Di". After Tony Blair's famous speech, mentioned above, she is also often referred to as the People's Princess [22].

And it's interesting to know that Diana's full style, while married, was Her Royal Highness The Princess Charles Philip Arthur George, Princess of Wales and Countess of Chester, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, Countess of Carrick, Baroness of Renfrew, Lady of the Isles, Princess of Scotland [22].

The title, given to her by the Prime Minister, is constantly proved by different polls and lists of popularity. In 2002 (5 years after death) Diana was ranked 3rd in the 100 Greatest Britons poll. The US Biography channel list of the 100 most important people places Princess Diana at number 73, not only three places above the Beatles, but seven above Queen Elizabeth I.

The results of the work are given in the conclusion at the end of the paper.

The last part of the present work is the list of used literature (or bibliography). It shows the sources of the information that were used. They helped to review and analyze the problem in all its complexity and immensity.


Chapter 1. Life of Diana Frances Spencer


A public figure from the announcement of her engagement to Prince Charles, Diana Frances Spencer remained the focus of near-constant media scrutiny in the United Kingdom and around the world up to and during her marriage, and after her subsequent divorce. Her sudden death in a car crash was followed by a spontaneous and prolonged show of public mourning. Contemporary responses to Diana's life and legacy have been mixed but a popular fascination with the Princess endures.

1.1 Сhildhood and teenage years


Diana was the youngest daughter of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, later the 8th Earl Spencer, and his first wife, Frances, Viscountess Althorp (formerly the Honourable Frances Burke Roche, and later Frances Shand Kydd). She was born at Park House, Sandringham in Norfolk, England on 1 July 1961 at 6.45 in the evening, and was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene Church by the Rt. Rev. Percy Herbert (rector of the church and former Bishop of Norwich and Blackburn); her godparents included John Floyd (the chairman of Christie's). She was the third child to the couple, her four siblings being The Lady Sarah Spencer (born 1955), The Lady Jane Spencer (born 1957), The Honourable John Spencer (died 12 January 1960), and The Honourable Charles Spencer (born 1964). Following her parents' acrimonious divorce in 1969 (over Lady Althorp's affair with wallpaper heir Peter Shand Kydd), Diana's mother took her and her younger brother to live in an apartment in London's Knightsbridge, where Diana attended a local day school. That Christmas the Spencer children went to celebrate with their father and he subsequently refused to allow them to return to London with their mother. Lady Althorp sued for custody of her children, but Lady Althorp's mother's testimony against her daughter during the trial contributed to the court's decision to award custody of Diana and her brother to their father. Together with her two elder sisters Sarah (born 1955), Jane (born 1957) and her younger brother Charles (born 1964), Lady Diana continued to live with her father at Park House, Sandringham, until the death of her grandfather, the 7th Earl Spencer. In 1975, the family moved to the Spencer family seat at Althorp (a stately house dating from 1508) in Northamptonshire, in the English Midlands.

In 1976 Lord Spencer married Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the only daughter of romantic novelist Barbara Cartland. During this time Diana travelled up and down the country, living between her parents' homes—with her father at the Spencer seat in Northamptonshire, and with her mother, who had moved to the Island of Seil off the west coast of Scotland. Diana, like her siblings, did not get along with her stepmother.

1.2 Education


Diana was first educated at Silfield School, Kings Lynn, Norfolk, then at Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk and at West Heath Girls' School (later reorganized as the New School at West Heath, a special school for boys and girls) in Sevenoaks, Kent, where she was regarded as a poor student, having attempted and failed all of her O-levels twice [3]. At school she showed a particular talent for music (as an accomplished pianist), dancing and domestic science. Her outstanding community spirit was recognized with an award from West Heath for the girl giving maximum help to the school and her schoolfellows. In 1977, at the age of 16, 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 dating her sister, Lady Sarah. Diana reportedly excelled in swimming and diving, and longed to be a ballerina. She studied ballet for a time, but she was too tall to become a professional.

Diana moved to London before she turned seventeen, living in her mother's flat, as her mother then was living most of the year in Scotland. An apartment was purchased for her for 50,000 pounds, as an 18th birthday present by her father Earl Spencer [5; 21], at Coleherne Court in the Earls Court area of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and she lived there until 1981 with three flatmates.

Getting established in London, she took an advanced cooking course, and worked first as a dance instructor for youth, until a skiing accident caused her to miss three months of work, and also left some permanent injury. She then got a job as a kindergarten assistant at the Young England School in Pimlico, did some cleaning work for her sister Sarah and several of her friends, and worked as a hostess at parties [4].

1.3 Marriage: engagement, wedding and divorce


Prince Charles' love life had often been the subject of press speculation, and he was linked to many glamorous and aristocratic women, including Diana's older sister Lady Sarah Spencer. Charles had also dated Lady Davina Sheffield, Scottish heiress Anna Wallace, the Honourable Amanda Knatchbull (granddaughter of Earl Mountbatten), Susan George (actress), Lady Jane Wellesley, wealthy heiress Sabrina Guinness, and Camilla Shand, among others [38]. In his early thirties, he was under increasing pressure to marry. Legally, the only requirement was that he could not marry a Roman Catholic; a member of the Church of England was preferred. In order to gain the approval of his family and their advisers, any potential bride was expected to have a royal or aristocratic background, be a virgin, as well as be Protestant.

As neighbours at Sandringham until 1975, Prince Charles' and Lady Diana’s families had known each other for many years. So Prince Charles had known Diana for several years, but he first took a serious interest in her as a potential bride during the summer of 1980, when they were guests together at a country weekend, where she watched him play polo. The relationship developed as he invited her soon afterwards for a sailing weekend to Cowes, aboard the royal yacht Britannia. This was followed by an invitation to Balmoral Castle, the Windsor family's Scottish home, to meet his family. Diana was well received at Balmoral by Queen Elizabeth, by Prince Philip, and by the Queen Mother. The couple then had several dates in London. The prince proposed on 6 February 1981, and Diana accepted, but their engagement was kept secret for the next few weeks [21]. But it became official on 24 February 1981, with the heir to the throne presenting the princess-to-be with a walnut-sized £30,000 ring consisting of 14 diamonds surrounding a sapphire [38]. Diana accepted the proposal immediately.

The 20-year-old became a princess when she married Prince Charles at St Paul's Cathedral, which offered more seating than Westminster Abbey, which was previously used for royal nuptials, on 29 July 1981 in what was widely billed as a "fairytale wedding". The wedding started at 11:20 A.M. BST and drew a global television and radio audience estimated at around 1,000 million people, and hundreds of thousands of people lining the route from Buckingham Palace to the Cathedral [49]. A worldwide media event, the wedding affirmed Diana's value as an internationally marketable personality whose image soon appeared not only in magazines, newspapers, and television programs across the globe, but also adorned an unending stream of merchandise ranging from postage stamps to coffee mugs [48].

The marriage was solemnised by the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Runcie, together with the Dean of St Paul's; clergy from other denominations read prayers. Music included the hymns 'Christ is made the sure foundation', 'I vow to thee my country', the anthem 'I was glad' (by Sir Hubert Parry), a specially composed anthem 'Let the people praise thee' by Professor Mathias, and Handel's 'Let the bright seraphim' performed by Dame Kiri te Kanawa. The lesson was read by the Speaker of the House of Commons, Mr George Thomas (the late Lord Tonypandy).

The Princess was the first Englishwoman to marry an heir to the throne for

300 years (when Lady Anne Hyde married the future James II from whom the Princess was descended). The bride wore a silk taffeta dress with a 25-foot train designed by the Emanuels, her veil was held in place by the Spencer family diamond tiara, and she carried a bouquet of gardenias, lilies-of-the- valley, white freesia, golden roses, white orchids and stephanotis. She was attended by five bridesmaids including Princess Margaret's daughter Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones (now Lady Sarah Chatto); Prince Andrew (now The Duke of York) and Prince Edward were The Prince of Wales's supporters (a Royal custom instead of a best man). Diana was just 20. Under the watchful eyes of her mother, and on the reassuring arm of her father, Diana prepared to take her wedding vows. She showed nerves only once, when she struggled with getting her husband's many names in the right order: at the altar she accidentally reversed the order of Charles' names, saying Philip Charles Arthur George instead [22]. She also did not say she would "obey," which caused a sensation at the time [38].

The Prince and Princess of Wales spent part of their honeymoon at the Mountbatten family home at Broadlands, Hampshire, before flying to Gibraltar to join the Royal Yacht HMY BRITANNIA for a 12-day cruise through the Mediterranean to Egypt. They finished their honeymoon with a stay at Balmoral.

The Prince and Princess made their principal home at Highgrove House near

Tetbury, Gloucestershire, and shared an apartment in Kensington Palace.

The Princess of Wales had two sons. Prince William Arthur Philip Louis was born on 21 June 1982 and Prince Henry (Harry) Charles Albert David on 15 September 1984, both at St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, in London. The Princess had seventeen godchildren.

In the early 1990s, the marriage of Diana and Charles fell apart, an event at first suppressed, then sensationalised, by the world media. Both the Prince and Princess of Wales allegedly spoke to the press through friends, each blaming the other for the marriage's demise. Charles resumed his old, pre-marital affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Asked what part Camilla had played in the break-up of her marriage, Diana commented during the BBC programme Panorama, "Well there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded" [22]. During the Panorama television interview, shown on 20 November 1995, the Princess spoke of her unhappiness in her personal life and the pressures of her public role. Diana revealed that she had suffered from post-natal depression after her first son, Prince William, was born. She admitted to self-injuring due to the pressure she felt trying to adapt to her role as Princess of Wales, but said it backfired since rather than getting her the help she needed, it made people believe she was attention-seeking and unstable. She also confessed to secret binging and purging of food to help her deal with her marriage problems, including the fact that her husband was still in love with a former girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles.

In December 1992 it was announced that The Prince and Princess of Wales had agreed to separate. The Princess based her household and her office at Kensington Palace, while The Prince was based at St James's Palace and continued to live at Highgrove.

In December 1995, the Queen asked Charles and Diana for "an early divorce" [3]. On 20 December 1995, Buckingham Palace publicly announced that the Queen had sent letters to Charles and Diana advising them to divorce. The Queen's move was backed by the Prime Minister and by senior Privy Councillors, and, according to the BBC, was decided after two weeks of talks [22]. Prince Charles immediately agreed with the suggestion. In February 1996, Diana announced her agreement as well.

The divorce was finalised on 28 August 1996.

Diana received a lump sum settlement of around £17 million along with a legal order preventing her from discussing the details [9].

Days before the decree absolute of divorce, Letters Patent were issued by Queen Elizabeth II containing general rules to regulate the titles of people who married into the Royal Family after divorce. In accordance with those rules, as she was no longer married to the Prince of Wales, and so had ceased to be a Royal by marriage, Diana lost the style, Her Royal Highness and instead was styled, Diana, Princess of Wales. Buckingham Palace issued a press release on the day of the decree absolute of divorce was issued, announcing Diana's change of title.

Buckingham Palace stated that Diana was still officially a member of the Royal Family, since she was the mother of the second- and third-in-line to the throne. The Prince and Princess continued to share equal responsibility for the upbringing of their children.


Chapter 2. Death of Diana, Princess of Wales


There once was a young lady called Di

Who used to be terribly shy

But how she made her mark

In this world so dark

Oh, why did she have to die?


– Mourner Dennis Abbot's tribute

2.1 Circumstances of the car crush


On 30 August 1997, the former Princess of Wales arrived in Paris with Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Moneim Fayed (Dodi Fayed), the son of Mohamed al-Fayed. They had stopped there on route to London, having spent the preceding nine days together on board Mohamed Fayed’s yacht, the ‘Jonikal’, on the French and Italian Riviera. They had intended to stay overnight. Mohamed Fayed was and is the owner of the Hôtel Ritz in Place Vendôme, Paris. He also owned an apartment in rue Arsène Houssaye, a short distance from the hotel and located just off the Avenue des Champs Elysées.

Henri Paul, the Acting Head of Security at the Ritz Hotel, had a plan to elude the paparazzi. A decoy vehicle left the Ritz first, attracting a throng of photographers. The Princess and Dodi Fayed would then depart from the hotel's rear entrance.

At around 12:20 a.m. on 31 August 1997, the Princess and Dodi Fayed left the Ritz to return to the apartment in rue Arsène Houssaye. They were the rear passengers in a Mercedes-Benz S280 W140, registration number "688LTV75", driven by Paul. Trevor Rees-Jones, a member of the Fayed family's personal protection team, was in the front passenger seat. They left from the rear of the hotel, the Rue Cambon exit. After crossing the Place de la Concorde they drove along Cours la Reine and Cours Albert 1er (the embankment road running parallel to the River Seine) into the Place de l’Alma underpass. At around 12:23 a.m. at the entrance to the tunnel, their driver lost control; the car swerved to the left of the two-lane carriageway before colliding head-on with the thirteenth pillar supporting the roof at an estimated speed of 105 km/h (65 mph) [20]. It then spun and hit the stone wall of the tunnel backwards, finally coming to a stop. The impact of the crash reduced the car to a pile of wreckage. There was no guard rail between the pillars to prevent this.

As the casualties lay seriously injured or dead in their wrecked car, the photographers continued to take pictures. The critically injured Diana was reported to repeatedly murmur the words, "oh my God", and after the photographers were pushed away by emergency teams, the words "leave me alone" [16].

Dodi Fayed and Henri Paul both died at the scene. Dodi Fayed had been sitting in the left rear passenger seat and appeared to be dead. Nevertheless, fire officers were still trying to resuscitate him when he was pronounced dead by a doctor at 1:30 a.m. Henri Paul was declared dead on removal from the wreckage. Both were taken directly to the Institut Médico-Légal (IML), the Paris mortuary, not to a hospital. Autopsy examination concluded that Henri Paul and Dodi Fayed had both suffered a rupture in the isthmus of the aorta and a fractured spine, with, in the case of Henri Paul, a medullar section in the dorsal region and in the case of Dodi Fayed a medullar section in the cervical region.

Trevor Rees-Jones was still conscious and had suffered multiple serious injuries to the face. The two forward passengers' airbags had functioned normally. None of the car's occupants were wearing seat belts, according to several reports, although some reports later claimed that Rees-Jones had worn his.

The Princess, who had been sitting in the rear right passenger seat, was still conscious. It was first reported that she was crouched on the floor of the vehicle with her back to the road. It was also first reported that a paparazzo who saw Diana described her as bleeding from the nose and ears with her head rested on the back of the front passenger's seat; he tried to remove her from the car but her feet were stuck. Then he told her that help was on the way and to stay awake; there was no answer from the princess, just blinking. In June 2007 the Channel 4 documentary “Diana: The Witnesses in the Tunnel” claimed that the first person to touch Diana was Dr. Maillez, [16] who chanced upon the scene. He reported that Diana had no visible injuries but was in shock and he supplied her with oxygen.

When the police arrived, the seven paparazzi on the scene were arrested. Diana was taken by ambulance to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, but the ambulance stopped for almost one hour in the street, just hundreds of metres from the hospital as they attempted to stabilize her, arriving there shortly after 2:00 a.m. [20]. Despite attempts to save her, her internal injuries were too extensive: her heart had been displaced from the left to the right side of the chest, which tore the pulmonary vein and the pericardium. Despite surgery, the damage was irreparable. Two hours later, at 4:00 that morning, the doctors pronounced her dead. At 5:30, her death was announced at a press conference held by a hospital doctor, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, France's Interior Minister, and Sir Michael Jay, Britain's ambassador to France.

Many have speculated that if Diana had worn a seat belt, her injuries would have been less severe [16]. This speculation was likely fueled by early media reports stating that Trevor Rees-Jones was the only car occupant to have worn a seat belt. However, these reports proved incorrect: both the French and the British investigations concluded that none of the occupants of the car was wearing a seat belt at the time of the impact [35]. Trevor Rees-Jones was taken to the same hospital as the Princess of Wales for emergency treatment.

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