Remembering Princess Diana: A life in pictures

On the day that would have been her 53rd birthday, Woman’s Day is celebrating the life of Princess Diana with a look at her life in pictures.

The late Princess Diana would have celebrated her 53rd birthday, on July 1.

The late Princess Diana would have celebrated her 53rd birthday, on July 1.

Take a look though our gallery as Woman’s Day celebrates the life and legacy of the People’s Princess.

Diana’s parents separated when she was seven years old. In Andrew Morton’s biography of Diana, he described how she remembered her father packing suitcases, her mother crunching across the gravel forecourt, and driving away through the gates of Park House.

Diana took on the name of Lady Diana Spencer when her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer in 1975. As a young girl she was shy, but had a love of music, dancing and children and went on to be a kindergarten teacher.

Diana and Prince Charles had known each other for several years before Charles took a romantic interest in her. In 1980 the pair began to see each other after they were both guests at a country weekend, where she watched him play polo. Diana attended a number of polo matches following that day to watch Charles alongside Camilla Parker Bowles.

Prince Charles proposed to Diana on February 6, 1981. Although Diana accepted immediately, the pair kept their engagement secret for a few weeks and became official on February 24.

Lady Diana Spencer became the Princess of Wales when she married Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, at just 20 years old. During the ceremony Diana accidentally reversed the order of Charles’ first two names, saying Philip Charles Arthur George instead. The couple also left the “obey him” vow out of their ceremony.

The pair married at St Paul’s Cathedral and their “fairytale” wedding was watched globally by 750 million on television while 600,000 people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of Diana en route to the ceremony.

Princess Diana’s hand-embroidered wedding gown had a full skirt over a multilayered, tulle petticoat, with bodice panels and had more than 10,000 tiny mother-of-pearl sequins and pearls. It also had an 8m silk train – the longest in royal history.

The newly married couple spent their honeymoon aboard the HMY Britannia cruising the Mediterranean Sea.

Soon after, on November 5, 1981, Diana’s first pregnancy was officially announced.

On June 21, 1982, Diana and Charles’ first son and heir to the throne, William Arthur Philip Louis was born.

Not long after Prince William’s birth, Charles and Diana left the UK for the first of Diana’s official tours. The pair visited Australia and New Zealand, taking their newly born prince with them.

Two years after Prince William was born Diana announced that she was expecting the couple’s second child.

Henry Charles Albert David was born on September 15, 1984. During her pregnancy with Prince Harry, as he is known, Diana was aware she was having a son but did not share the news with anyone, including Charles.

Diana was known as a devoted mother. She chose both of her son’s first names and she negotiated her public duties around her children.

Princess Diana has said that she and Charles were the closest while she was pregnant with Prince Harry. But there were early signs that the couple’s marriage was under strain.

Following the birth of her sons, Diana continued her public duty and became increasingly involved with a number of charity organisations. While it was her job as princess to visit hospitals, she became very supportive of those with serious illnesses and health-related matters outside the expectations of her duties.

In the early 1990s media attention turned to Charles and Diana’s relationship. The pair were both accused of having affairs during their marriage and private phone conversations between Charles and his former girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles were leaked to the UK media.

Diana and Charles were asked to speed up their planned divorce by the Queen after Diana gave a tell-all interview with the BBC. In it she said that she was in love with Major James Hewitt, who she was accused of having an affair with. She also spoke about Camilla saying, “There were three of us in this marriage.”

In 1997 Diana began a relationship with Dodi Fayed. The pair spent the week together before Diana’s death on Dodi’s father’s yacht sailing the Italian and French rivieras.

At around 12.20am on August 31, 1997, Diana and Dodi left the Ritz Hotel to return to Dodi’s Paris apartment. Not long after, the car the pair was travelling in lost control at the entrance to the Place de l’Alma underpass in Paris. The car swerved to the left of the two-lane carriageway and collided head-on into a pillar. Dodi and the driver of the vehicle died at the scene while Diana was taken to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital in a serious condition where she later died.

At first it was thought that paparazzi caused Diana’s car to crash by pursuing it through the streets of Paris to get pictures of Diana and Dodi together. But an 18-month French judicial investigation in 1999 found that the crash was caused by the driver, who lost control of the car at high speed while intoxicated. Memorials were erected for Diana and Dodi at the scene of the crash in Paris and at the Harrods store in London, which was owned by Dodi’s father.

A young Prince William and Prince Harry attended their mother’s funeral, which took place at Westminster Abbey on September 6, 1997. Her sons walked in the funeral procession behind her coffin, alongside their father Prince Charles and Diana’s brother Earl Spencer.

Following the sudden death of the “People’s Princess” people left public offerings of flowers, candles, cards and personal messages outside Kensington Palace for many months.

Related stories