Princess Diana is known all around the world, and many visitors to London have a particular interest in the late princess. From her wedding to Prince Charles in 1981 to her untimely death in a Paris car crash in 1997, Princess Diana captured the public’s imagination like no royal had before. Remembered fondly both here in the United Kingdom and abroad, Diana’s memory is still very much alive. But how much do you know about Lady Diana Spencer? Read on for some interesting facts about the life of this remarkable woman.
– Diana wasn’t the first Spencer girl Prince Charles dated. – Diana’s elder sister, Sara Spencer, had a short relationship with Prince Charles before he fell in love with Diana herself.
– She had links to the Throne before she was married. – Diana’s ancestry can be traced back to the 17th century and she is actually a direct descendant of King Charles II.
– Diana’s wedding to Prince Charles was the largest for a Royal yet. – Prince Charles and Diana were wed in St. Pauls’ Cathedral, because it had more space than Westminster Abbey. The wedding had a global televised audience of 750million and it is estimated that 600,000 people lined the streets to watch her process through London to the church.
– She is one of only a few ‘Princesses of Wales.’ – The title is customarily an honorific one, given to the wife of a Prince of Wales. There have been only 10 Princesses of Wales since the title was created in 1301.
– She worked. – Before her engagement to Prince Charles, Diana was working as an assistant in a children’s playgroup.
– Her divorce made her wealthy, but took her title. – After her divorce from Princes Charles, she lost the title ‘Her Royal Highness’ but also gained a $22.5million lump sum and around $600,000 a year to maintain her ‘private office.’
– She is credited with removing the stigma around AIDS patients. – Diana, always involved in charity, was the first public figure in the UK to be picture holding the hand of a person with AIDS. This small moment changed the way thousands of people understood the disease, and helped clear a stigma attached to those suffering from AIDS themselves.
– Her gravesite is not open to the public. – Diana was buried on an island in the middle of a lake at her ancestral home of Althorp House in Northamptonshire. On private land, her grave cannot be visited by the public.
– At the time of her death, she was dating Dodi Fayed, heir to the Harrods owner, Mohamed Al Fayed. – Speculation surrounds whether Diana and Dodi were going to become engaged, or even married, but the two were in a romantic relationship at the time of their death. Dodi’s father, Mohamed, has been very outspoken about the death of his son and Diana, blaming a conspiracy to murder them both to prevent their marriage.
– Elton John rewrote a classic song as a tribute to her. – Elton John and Diana were good friends and Elton was invited to play piano/sing at her funeral. John chose to rewrite his song “Candle in the Wind” to dedicate it specifically to Diana, removing all references to Marilyn Monroe, the original subject of the song. He has since stated he will never perform the 1997 reworded Diana version without express permission from either of her children. He continues to perform the Marilyn Monroe original at concerts.
+++To learn more about the royal family, come and join our Westminster walking tour or read our other blogs on Prince Charles or Prince Harry or learn more about Royal Palaces in London! You might also like our self-guided Royal London Walk to explore on your own!+++