Diana Frances Spencer was born into the British royal family on July 1, 1961, and died on August 31, 1997. She was known as Diana, Princess of Wales. She was the mother of Princes William and Harry and the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales (later Charles III).
Diana’s advocacy and glitz made her a global celebrity, earning her enduring fame and unparalleled public scrutiny, the latter of which was further aggravated by her troubled personal life.
Diana was raised on the royal family’s Sandringham estate due to her birth into the British aristocracy. Prince Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II, became engaged to her while she was working as a nursery teacher’s assistant in 1981.
They married the following year in St. Paul’s Cathedral, and she became Princess of Wales, a title for which she was widely adored. William and Harry, their two boys, were second and third in line to the British throne at the time of their birth.
It All Started With Diana Confronting Camilla About Her Affair With Charles
Royal biographer Andrew Morton’s book Diana: Her True Story—In Her Own Words (1992) gives us a clear sense of what happened during the argument at the birthday celebration for the now-Duchess Camilla’s sister.
We know that Diana told Camilla, “I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that,” and that Camilla supposedly responded, “You’ve got everything you ever wanted.”
You’ve got two gorgeous children and all the men in the world falling in love with you; what more could you possibly want? And Diana responded, “I want my husband.
At First, Diana and Charles Separated
While it is not unheard of, divorce among the British royal family is often frowned upon. Even though there were rumors of infidelity, Diana and Charles’ family initially wanted them to remain together, as viewers of The Crown know all too well.
But they did end up splitting up, and John Major, then the prime minister of Britain, made the announcement public in December 1992.
The New York Times said that when the news of the divorce became public, the palace provided some background statements to the press and “took measures” to stress that there was no “third party” involved.
It was also reported by the New York Times that Princess Diana had an “intimate chat with an anonymous man who dubbed her ‘Squidgy’ and that he loved her,” and that Prince Charles was “closer to Camilla Parker Bowles, an old sweetheart, than to his wife.”
Charles Eventually Admitted His Infidelity
Charles confirmed his infidelity to Diana in a television interview in June 1994, two years after their split in 1992. Charles was interviewed at his home in Highgrove and was questioned directly if he had been “loyal and honorable” to Diana during their marriage.
Yes, without a doubt was his reply, but he was then pressed with, “And you were?”, to which she replied, “Yes, until it became hopelessly damaged beyond repair, despite our best efforts on both our parts.”
In November of 1995, a year later, Diana gave an interview to BBC’s Panorama that was later revealed to have been obtained dishonestly. After being asked if there were “three individuals in [her] marriage,” Diana candidly answered that there were.
Queen Elizabeth II Requested that Charles and Diana Separate.
Shortly after the Panorama interview, the Queen formally asked that Diana and Charles end their marriage. On December 21, 1995, Buckingham Palace issued a statement claiming the Queen had written to Charles and Diana pushing them to divorce. This was first reported by the New York Times.
In the end, Diana’s spokeswoman confirmed on February 29, 1996, that the princess had agreed to the divorce. To BBC News, her attorney Anthony Julius added, “It was an incredibly difficult decision and one which the Princess of Wales has taken with enormous sadness and regret.”
A royal spokeswoman also told reporters that “the Queen was most interested to learn that the Princess of Wales had agreed to the divorce” and that “all the details on these matters, including titles, remain to be addressed and decided.” It will take some time to accomplish this.
The terms of the agreement were pretty clear, so let’s examine them closely.
Diana Got to Keep the Title “Princess of Wales”
But she was compelled to relinquish the honorific “Her Royal Highness” and any potential aspirations to the throne.
She Got to Keep Her Apartments at the Palace
Diana was allowed to keep her Kensington Palace flats as part of the divorce settlement. They reportedly told her she could “use the state apartments at St. James’s Palace for entertaining” and gave her access to the royal family’s jets.
She Got a Financial Settlement
While Buckingham Palace did not confirm the exact amount, the New York Times reported at the time that Diana would receive $22.5 million in cash plus $600,000 per year for her office in lieu of traditional alimony payments.
She and Charles Split Custody
As Diana and Charles had been taking turns spending holidays with their children before their divorce, the breakup was considered to have been rather smooth.
Diana was killed together with her friend Dodi Fayed and the driver Henri Paul, the acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris, when their car crashed in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris on August 31, 1997, while they were attempting to evade the paparazzi.
Dodi’s father hired bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, and he was the only person to survive the collision despite suffering a severe head injury. On September 6th, the televised funeral attracted a peak audience of 32.10 million viewers in the United Kingdom, making it one of the country’s most-watched programs ever. A global audience of millions tuned in to witness the show.
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