Growing up, I was captivated by the remarkable life, grace, and resilience of Princess Diana. Born on July 1, 1961, as The Honourable Diana Spencer into a distinguished British noble family with a heritage rooted in royalty, she hailed from Sandringham, England.
Her wedding to the Prince of Wales on July 29, 1981, held at St Paul’s Cathedral, reached a global television audience of over 750 million people. In a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997 (aged 36), at Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital, Paris, France, her funeral was accompanied by intense public mourning.
Even though she has been gone for over a century, her work and drive still remain strong today. Here is a list of unknown facts you might know about Diana.
1. When moving from Switzerland to England, For a while, she looked after the child of an American couple, and she worked as a kindergarten teacher at the Young England School in Pimlico.
2. Her favourite dessert was bread and butter pudding.
3. Her grandmother worked for the royal family
4. Diana’s sister, Lady Sarah, also dated Prince Charles
5. Following an acrimonious divorce, Diana’s father was awarded custody of Diana and her brother.
6. Diana’s cousins include Oliver Platt, Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and Rainier III.
7. Diana’s funeral was held on September 6, 1997, and approximately 2.5 billion people. She was laid to rest in a long black dress, holding rosary beads by Mother Teresa. Her grave is on an island in an ornamental lake (The Round Oval) in Althorp Park. Thirty-six oak trees, symbolizing each year of her life, lead to the lake. Four black swans swim in the lake, symbolically guarding the island.
8. Diana admired strong women, from Mother Teresa to Madonna to Margaret Thatcher.
9. She changed the way the world thought about AIDS
10. She struggled with depression and bulimia
11. She failed her O-levels twice and often joked about her poor academic record.
12. Her favourite colour was pink.
13. She auctioned off 79 dresses, raising $5.76 million for AIDS and breast cancer charities.
14. Prince William suggested to his mother that she sell some of her dresses to raise money for charity. Christie’s New York held the auction just two months before Princess Diana’s death.
15. Princess Diana could be quite a shy character, mainly growing up. She attended various schools in England and Switzerland and enjoyed dancing, music, and childcare.
16. For her engagement, Lady Diana selected a large £30,000 (£94,800 in today’s terms) by Garrard. The sparkler consisted of 14 solitaire diamonds elegantly surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-carat white gold. It now sits on Kate Middleton’s finger, of course.
17. She became engaged to Prince Charles at age 19 and married him at age 20.
18. The Prince, 12 years her senior, was under increasing pressure to find a bride.
19. She chose to abandon the royal wedding vow tradition of saying she would “obey” Prince Charles.
20. Three decades later, William and Kate followed Princess Di’s lead.
21. Her wedding to Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, was broadcast in 74 countries and watched by 750 million people worldwide. Her funeral 16 years later had 2.5 billion viewers.
22. She wanted to become a ballerina.
23. She supported over 100 charities, including the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which won the Nobel Peace Prize a few months after her death.