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Diana, Princess of Wales

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Updated December 11, 2012

Princess Diana's famous dance with John Travolta during a visit to the White House in 1985.

Princess Diana's famous dance with John Travolta during a visit to the White House in 1985.

Photo Courtesy of Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

Name:

She was born The Lady Diana Frances Spencer, but the world came to know her as simply Lady Di when she began dating Charles, Prince of Wales. Although popularly referred to as Princess Diana after their 1981 marriage, she was actually styled Her Royal Highness the Princess of Wales. Following their divorce in 1996, she received the title Diana, Princess of Wales.

Born:

July 1, 1961, Sandringham, Norfolk, England.

Died:

August 31, 1997, Paris, France. Much controversy has surrounded the circumstances of her death in a car accident, with some speculation that there was a conspiracy to prevent her from marrying her Muslim lover, Dodi Fayed, and having a child with him.

Family:

Diana was the youngest daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp. She became Lady Diana Spencer when her father succeeded to the earldom in 1975 and became the 8th Earl Spencer. She married Charles, Prince of Wales in 1981. They had two sons, Prince William (Arthur Philip Louis) and Prince Henry (Charles Albert David), known as Prince Harry. Charles and Diana divorced on February 28th, 1996.

Education:

Lady Diana was educated at the preparatory school Riddlesworth Hall at Diss, Norfolk and later attended the boarding school West Heath, near Sevenoaks, Kent. At school, she showed a particular interest in music and dancing. After West Heath, she went to finishing school at the Institut Alpin Videmanette in Rougemont, Switzerland.

Career:

Upon leaving school, Diana first worked looking after the child of an American couple and then as a kindergarten teacher at the Young England School in Pimlico. She is best known, however, for her charity work with AIDS and land mine awareness efforts that she conducted during and after her marriage to Prince Charles.

Depression:

For years, the public believed that Diana was living a fairy tale life, married to her real-life Prince Charming. However, this was far from the truth. According to "Diana: The Last Word," by Simone Simmons, late in her first pregnancy Diana threw herself down a staircase trying to draw attention to her pain. She said of the incident, "I wanted Charles to put his arms around me and say he loved me, but all he ever did was give me a pat on the back." In a 1995 interview conducted by the BBC, Diana revealed that she had suffered from postpartum depression after her first son, Prince William was born. She admitted to self-injuring due to the pressure she felt trying to adapt to her role as Princess of Wales, but said it backfired, since, rather than getting her the help she needed, it made people believe she was attention-seeking and unstable. She also confessed to secret binging and purging of food to help her deal with her marriage problems, including the fact that her husband was still in love with a former girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles.
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