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Princess Diana Biography: Life and Death

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Born July 1st, 1961 in Sandringham, Norfolk, Diana Spencer grew up in an aristocratic family. She eventually began a courtship with Prince Charles, which led to one of the most anticipated and most watched weddings of the twentieth century. As a member of the Royal Family, Diana used her status to draw attention to worthy causes like AIDS and leprosy. However, after producing two sons, her marriage went cold and was rife with affairs on both sides. Charles and Di divorced in 1996, but the paparazzi did not leave the Princess alone until she was killed in a horrific car crash the next year. In this video, explores the life, accomplishments and death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

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Biography of Princess Diana

She was the People's Princess. Welcome to, and today we'll be learning more about the life of Princess Diana.

Early Years

Diana Frances Spencer was born July 1st, 1961 in Sandringham, Norfolk. Her aristocratic family had had close ties with Britain's Royal Family for centuries, and included illustrious members like Sir Winston Churchill.

Strengths and Weaknesses

At age seven, Diana went to live with her father after her parents' divorce. She attended first-class schools, and while she was not considered an exceptional student, the shy Diana did excel in pursuits like music, dancing and swimming.

Lady Diana

In 1975, her father became The Earl Spencer, which meant Diana earned the title Lady. Two years later, Lady Di met Charles, Prince of Wales, while he was dating her older sister Sarah.

Charles and Di

By the end of the 1970s, Diana was living in London, where she fostered her love of children as a nanny and teacher. It wasn't long before her acquaintance with Prince Charles grew into more, and the two began a courtship despite their 13-year age difference.

The Royal Couple

After six months of dating, Charles and Diana announced their engagement on February 24th, 1981. The world became enamored with the couple, and since Charles was next in line to the British throne, the media was fascinated.

The Wedding of the Century

Approximately 750 million people gathered around their televisions on July 29th, 1981 to watch this fairytale wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral, and it was even marked as a national holiday in the United Kingdom. Diana wore a spectacular dress with a 25-foot train, which marked the beginning of her reign as a style icon.

Two Princes

A few months after the wedding, the Prince and Princess announced Diana's first pregnancy: Prince William was born in June the next year, followed by Prince Harry in September 1984. By all accounts, Diana was an available and loving mother to her boys.

Stress of the Royal Post

However, even then, she struggled with the scrutiny and responsibilities associated with her post. It was later revealed that she suffered from bulimia and depression during this time, and had contemplated suicide.

Charity Work

She turned to charity work as a means to cope, and frequently visited sick children, as well as AIDS and leprosy patients. In fact, Diana was the first celebrity photographed touching an HIV-infected person.


Unfortunately, as the 1980s progressed, Diana and Charles privately drifted apart. In mid-1992, news of affairs on both sides of the marriage was splashed across the tabloids, and British Prime Minister John Major announced their separation that December.


More lurid details of the royal couple's extramarital romances surfaced over the next few years, until the couple finally divorced on August 28th, 1996.


Diana continued lending her support and celebrity to charities, including the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.


Diana also had high profile relationships following her divorce, though she mostly protected these from media attention. By mid-1997, she was dating Egyptian film producer Dodi Fayed.


It was with him that she traveled to Paris in August 1997. As the couple attempted to thwart paparazzi, they were chased through the city's streets at high speeds. Unfortunately, just after midnight on August 31st, 1997, the car's driver, Henri Paul, lost control and they crashed in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel at approximately 65 miles-per-hour. Since none of the occupants were wearing seat-belts, the driver and Fayed were killed instantly. Diana survived the crash, but succumbed to her injuries in hospital hours later.


Diana's death elicited outpourings of grief worldwide. It also prompted numerous conspiracy theories and false rumors: though an official investigation blamed the crash on the driver's reckless speed and high blood alcohol level, there was intense speculation that it was not an accident. The most outrageous theories contended she was assassinated by the Royal Family due to her relationship with Fayed, which was a hypothesis supported by Fayed's own father.


Diana's funeral was televised from Westminster Abbey on September 6th, and millions tuned in across the world to say their final goodbyes.


Despite her tragic end, Princess Diana is remembered for her philanthropy, humanitarianism, style and grace. By growing from a shy girl into a confident advocate, she will always be remembered as the Princess of Hearts.

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