Diana, Princess of Wales was only 36 when she tragically died in 1997 on the 31st of August. Today, the world marks exactly two decades since her untimely death. She was born on July the 1st, 1961 and would have been 56 years old today. Her marriage to Prince Charles at St. Paul’s Cathedral in the summer of 1981 made international news, with millions of people tuning in to watch the ceremony live.
In remembrance of Lady Di on the twentieth anniversary of her death, here are fifteen facts about her life during which she endeared herself to millions.
It is Diana’s older sister, Sarah, who introduced Diana to Prince Charles
Sarah was actually dating the Prince first! Their relationship deteriorated, however, when she famously told a reporter, “I am not in love with Prince Charles.”
Diana really liked him
It is said she even had a picture of Charles next to her bed at boarding school but it wasn’t until a while later that they actually started dating.
Diana was just 16 years old when she first met Prince Charles
Charles was 28 at the time. According to Vogue, she was thrilled when she met him, and rushed to tell her music teacher all about it.
They started dating 2 years later
By that time, Diana was 18 and Charles was 30 years old.
Charles proposed to her on February 6th, 1981
Their engagement was kept secret from everyone, especially the media, for several weeks following the proposal.
When the secret was finally revealed, she showed her engagement ring
The ring was decorated with 14 solitaire diamonds, which surrounded a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-carat white gold. However, it caused controversy at the time as Diana picked it from a catalogue, instead of having one custom made as per the royal family’s tradition.
Her wedding dress was decorated with over 10,000 tiny mother of pearl sequins and pearls
The dress also included a train that was 25 feet in length, which according to Vogue magazine was the longest in royal history at the time!
How she would have looked today
According to a digitally-ageing software, this is how the Princess would have looked in her mid-to-late fifties.
She changed the way children received their education in the royal family
Traditionally, princes and princesses were taught by private tutors and governesses. But when it came time for Prince William to start school, she insisted he attended a nursery school in London.
According to her personal chef, Darren McGrady, Diana was a great boss
She apparently had a very casual approach to how she treated her staff, according to the chef. “She would say, Darren, I need a coffee. Oh, you’re busy. I’ll make it. Do you want one?” he says.
She wanted her sons to have the most normal upbringing possible
She would often do things like inviting Cindy Crawford to the palace for dinner, because she knew that 13-year-old Prince William had a crush on the supermodel.
She and Prince Charles divorced on the 28th of August, 1996
Diana received a settlement sum of 17 million pounds from the divorce, as well as a further 400,000 pounds per year.
Buckingham Palace stated that the Princess was still a member of the royal family, even after her divorce from Prince Charles
The official explanation was that Diana was the mother of the second and third in line to the throne, thus being a part of the family.
On the 31st of August 1997, Diana tragically died in a car crash in a Paris tunnel
Her companion, Dodi Al-Fayed (who she was reportedly in a relationship with at the time of her death), and the driver, Henri Paul, also perished. Prince Charles and Diana were reportedly not on speaking terms by the time of Diana’s death
In 1999, Time magazine named her one of the 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century
Diana was recognized for her extensive charity work around the world, including causes like the battle against AIDS and the campaign for banning landmines.