Princess Diana Biography

May 27, 2008
By Julie Keighley, Cincinnati, OH

Princess Diana Biography

Was Diana Frances Spencer a suitable princess? Lady Diana Frances Spencer, (July 1, 1961-August 31, 1997) was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales. From her marriage in 1981 to her divorce in 1996, she was styled “Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales.” She did not possess a title and was personally a princess, a point Diana herself made to people who referred to her as such. Diana was in fact the first non-princess to be Princess of Wales for centuries. Previous Princesses of Wales, such as Alexandra of Denmark or Mary of Teck were already princesses by birth when they married a Prince of Wales. She was noted for her original charity work, though her generous actions were overshadowed by her shame and overwhelmed marriage to Prince Charles.
Diana Frances was born as the youngest daughter of Edward Spencer, and his first wife, Frances Spencer. She was baptized at St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, by Rt. Rev. Percy Herbert; her godparents included John Floyd and Mary Colman. Diana was educated at Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk and at West Heath Girls’ School, which was later recognized as the New School at West Heath, a special school for boys and girls. It was located in Sevenoaks, Kent, where she was regarded as an academically below-average student, having failed all her secondary-level academic qualificationexaminations. In 1997, at age 16, she left West Heath and for a short time attended Institute Alpin Videmanette, a finishing school in Rougemont, Switzerland. At the time, Diana’s future husband was also dating her sister, Lady Sarah. Diana was an artistic amateur singer, excelled in sports and reportedly longed to be a ballerina. Diana’s family, the Spencers, had been close to the British Royal for decades. The Prince’s former girlfriend (and second wife) Camilla Parker Bowles helped him select the 19-year-old Lady Diana Spencer as a potential bride, who was working as an assistant at the Young England kindergarten in Pimlico. Buckingham Palace announced the engagement on February 24, 1981. The wedding took place at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London on Wednesday, July 29, 1981 with 3,500 guests and an estimated 1 billion television viewers around the world. In the mid 1980s her marriage fell apart, an event at first secret, but then dramatized, by the world media. The Prince and the Princess both accused each other of blame for the marriages failure. The Prince and Princess were separated on December 9, 1992, and their divorce was finalized on August 28, 1996. On August 31, 1997 Diana was involved in a car accident in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris. The death of the Princess has been commonly blamed on reporters, which were allegedly hounding the Princess, and were following the vehicle at a high speed. Ever since the word paparazzi has been related with the death of the Princess. Princess Diana Frances Spencer was princess, but she was not a very suitable one.

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