Edwin Lerner

Remembering Diana, Princess Of Wales

Twenty years after her death, the newspapers are full of memories and memoirs of people who came into contact with Diana, Princess of Wales. One of the most iconic figures of our time, Princess Diana was a much-loved woman who struggled to fit into the British Royal Family and ended up doing more to divide the royals from the British people than anyone since Oliver Cromwell. Below I highlight the main events of Diana’s life, known to many as The People’s Princess:

1 July 1961: Diana is born, fourth child of Earl Spencer and his wife Francis, who divorced when she is seven. She has two older sisters and a younger brother Charles. She leaves school at sixteen with no qualifications and works as a nanny and nursery assistant, sharing a flat in Coleherne Gardens, Earl’s Court which had been bought by her mother as an eighteenth birthday present.

24 February 1914: The engagement of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer is announced. The couple marry at St Paul’s Cathedral on 29 July with a television audience of 750 million. She is the first Englishwoman to be married to the heir to the throne for 300 years and does not promise to ‘obey’ her husband when taking her vows.

National Portrait Gallery: Portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales by Bryan Organ, 1981. Photo Credit: © National Portrait Gallery, London. National Portrait Gallery: Portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales by Bryan Organ, 1981. Photo Credit: © National Portrait Gallery, London.

21 June 1982: The birth of the couple’s first son and heir to British Throne, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor.

5 September 1984: The birth of a second son, Prince Henry Charles Albert David Windsor better known today as Prince Harry.

20 November 1995: Diana’s interview with Martin Bashir is broadcast by the BBC revealing the extent of the problems in the marriage. The couple divorce on 28 August 1996.

31 August 1997: Diana and her companion Dodi Al-Fayed are killed in a car crash in the Pont d’Alma tunnel in Paris while being pursued by photographers.

6 September 1997: Diana’s funeral takes place at Westminster Abbey where her brother Charles makes a speech in her honour and Elton John sings a rewritten version of Candle in the Wind. She is buried at the family seat of Althorp near Northampton later that day. Her grave is not open to the public.

7 April 2008: A jury delivers the verdict that her death was caused by the reckless driving of Henri Paul, while under the influence of alcohol. Mohammed Al-Fayed, the father of her companion Dodi, withdraws the allegation that she was murdered.

Edwin Lerner

Named Edwin (name of an early king of Northern England) but usually known as ‘Eddie’, I conducted extended tours around Britain and Ireland for Trafalgar for many years but now work as a freelance guide and tour manager. I specialise in religious, music, theatre and literary themed tours and…

You may also like

28 Facts, Figures & Fun About Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s Longest Reigning Monarch

Queen Elizabeth II is now the longest reigning monarch in British history, having broken Queen Victoria's record on 9 September. To commemorate this, a special photographic Long To Reign Over Us exhibition is currently on show at Buckingham Palace (until 27 September 2015) and Windsor Castle (until 27 January 2016).  Each of the displays celebrates The Queen through a selection of photographs from 1952 to the present day. The images include official portraits and photographs of Her Majesty undertaking visits in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth, as well as those capturing informal family moments.

Read more

New Diamond Jubilee Carriage

For the State Opening of Parliament this year the Queen used a new 3-ton Coach created for her by Jim Frecklington, from Manly, Australia, who worked in the Royal Mews as a young man before returning home.  The coach, which is 18ft long and needs 6 horses to pull it, has taken 50 people more than 10 years to assemble. The Diamond Jubilee Coach is only the second state carriage to be built in more than 100 years.

Read more