10 Questions & Answers On… Diana, Princess Of Wales

18 January 2013 - 10:00am
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This week sees Royal Central’s first ten questions and answers based on a historic royal. Today, we give you ten questions and answers on Diana, Princess Of Wales. Next week we have one of our contributors doing 10 Questions & Answers on Prince Harry of Wales.

Question 1: What’s Diana’s background, was she royal before marrying Prince Charles?

Diana, Princess Of Wales was born as The Honourable Diana Spencer on 1st July 1961 to Viscount and Viscountess Althorp. Diana’s parents weren’t royal but they were aristocratic and in 1975, her father acceded to the family title of Earl Spencer. As follows the custom of daughters of Earls, Diana was entitled to the title of ‘The Lady’, from 1975, she became ‘The Lady Diana Spencer’, which is why people commonly refer to her as ‘Lady Di’.

Question 2: Did Diana have any brothers or sisters?

Yes. Diana was the 4th child and youngest daughter of Frances Shand Kydd and John Spencer, Earl Spencer. Her siblings were: Lady Sarah McCorquodale; Jane Fellowes, Baroness Fellowes; The Hon. John Spencer; Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer.

Question 3: Was Prince Charles always going to marry Diana?

No, although the couple ended up being matched, Prince Charles was originally associated with Lady Sarah, Diana’s sister. The Prince of Wales had known Lady Diana for several years, but he first took a serious interest in her as a potential bride during the summer of 1980, when they were guests at a country weekend, where she watched him play polo. The Prince Of Wales proposed on 6 February 1981, and Lady Diana accepted, but their engagement was kept secret for the next few weeks. Diana was just 19 when she became engaged to Charles!

Question 4: What happened at the wedding, what was it like?

The wedding of the Prince Of Wales and Lady Diana was a spectacular event, set at St Paul’s Cathedral rather than the norm, Westminster Abbey. Diana wore a train of  7.62 metres on a dress designed by The Emanuel’s. Diana’s train was the longest in royal history. The ceremony was attended by all major members of the Royal Family, clergy and government of the day, as well as overseas ambassadors and Commonwealth members. Throughout the whole ceremony, Diana only made one noticeable mistake. At one point during the vows, she called Prince Charles ‘Philip Charles Arthur George’, when his name was ‘Charles Philip Arthur George’. She stunned commentators at the time also by omitting the part of the vows where she would promise to obey  her husband. Upon marriage she became HRH The Princess Of Wales and became the second highest ranking woman in the land, after The Queen.


Question 5: Was Diana related to Royalty before she married into the family?

Yes. Like many members of the aristocracy and some royal brides, Diana’s lineage did span to royal houses and Monarchs, including:  Mary, Queen of Scots, Lady Catherine Grey, Mary Boleyn, and Robert I (The Bruce).

Question 6: What about Diana’s sons, William and Harry?

His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales [now Duke Of Cambridge] was born on 21st June 1982, William’s godparents were the former King Constantine II of Greece (his cousin), Princess Alexandra, Princess Alexandra, the Duchess of Westminster, Lady Susan Hussey, Lord Romsey, and Sir Laurens van der Post. He was named after Prince William of Gloucester, his father’s seven years older cousin and personal hero, who died in 1972 in an aeroplane crash due to an overheated engine. His Royal Highness Prince Henry ‘Harry’ of Wales was born on 15th September 1984, Harry’s godparents were Prince Andrew, Duke of York, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, Lady Vestey, Mrs William Bartholomew, Bryan Organ and Gerald Ward.


Question 7: Why did Diana divorce from the Prince Of Wales?

In December 1995, the Queen asked the Prince and Princess of Wales for “an early divorce”, as a direct result of the Princess’s Panorama interview. This followed shortly after the Princess’ accusation that Tiggy Legge-Bourke had aborted the Prince’s child, after which Legge-Bourke instructed Peter Carter-Ruck to demand an apology. Two days before this story broke, Diana’s secretary Patrick Jephson resigned, later writing that the Princess had “exulted in accusing Legge-Bourke of having had an abortion”.

On 20 December 1995, Buckingham Palace publicly announced the Queen had sent letters to the Prince and Princess of Wales advising them to divorce. The Queen’s move was backed by the Prime Minister and by senior Privy Counsellors, and, according to the BBC, was decided after two weeks of talks. The Prince immediately agreed with the suggestion. In February, the Princess announced her agreement after negotiations with the Prince and representatives of the Queen, irritating Buckingham Palace by issuing her announcement of a divorce agreement and its terms.

The divorce was finalised on 28 August 1996. Diana received a lump sum settlement of around £17 million along with a clause standard in royal divorces preventing her from discussing the details.

Question 8: What was Diana’s title after her divorce?

Days before the decree absolute of divorce, Letters Patent were issued with general rules to regulate royal titles after divorce. In accordance, as she was no longer married to the Prince of Wales, Diana lost the style Her Royal Highness and instead was styled Diana, Princess of Wales. As the mother of the prince expected to one day ascend the thrones, she was accorded the same precedence she enjoyed during her marriage.


Question 9: Was Diana ever ‘Princess Diana’?

No! This is the most common misconception about the late Princess Of Wales. People assume that because she has Princess in her title, she must be Princess Diana, this is not how it works. Take for instance, the now Duchess Of Cambridge. No one would incorrectly refer to her as ‘Duchess Kate’, by the same token, just because Diana was Princess Of Wales, doesn’t mean she was ‘Princess Diana’. After her divorce, she was Diana, Princess Of Wales. Before – she was HRH The Princess Of Wales.

Though she was never Princess Diana, she was a Princess… by marriage. Technically, whilst she was married to Prince Charles she was ‘Her Royal Highness The Princess Charles’!

Question 10: What actually happened in the tunnel on that fateful night?

On 31 August 1997, Diana died as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris, France. Her companion, Dodi Fayed, and the driver of the Mercedes-Benz W140, Henri Paul, were also pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. The bodyguard of Diana and Dodi, Trevor Rees-Jones, was the only survivor. Although the media pinned the blame on the paparazzi, the crash was ultimately found to be caused by the reckless actions of the chauffeur, who was the head of security at the Ritz and had earlier goaded the paparazzi waiting outside the hotel.

An 18-month French judicial investigation concluded in 1999 that the crash was caused by Paul, who lost control of the car at high speed while drunk. His inebriation may have been made worse by the simultaneous presence of an anti-depressant and traces of a tranquilizing anti-psychotic in his body.

At around 2:00 pm, Diana’s former husband, Charles, Prince of Wales, and two older sisters, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes, arrived in Paris; they left with her body 90 minutes later.

Spotted an Error?

  • KyCopsWife678

    Thank you for this piece!! It was brilliant.

  • http://www.facebook.com/heath.samples Heath Samples

    Check out Amazon for this novel, Princess Diana The Day She Didn’t Die. It’s the first ever book that considers Diana’s life may have been had she survived the car crash

  • cshell

    I find it very interesting that nowhere in the above information is there reference to Camilla, nor is there any reference to Charles and Camilla. I understand the need to whitewash history, but if truth be told, they were both entwined in this from the beginning. Please, let the truth be told, the real truth of the extent of their relationship being the crowning of the Diana and Charles breakup.

    • Kathleen Ames

      The article is entitled question and answers about Diana NOT Charles’ affair with Camilla!

  • kbarrettbaker

    Talk about the whitewashing of history! I was exactly Princess Diana’s age as a student at St.Anne’s College, Oxford, and remember being mortified one day as the BBC radio announced Princess Diana was a “virgin” as a test was required before she was to be “eligible” for the position of Mother of the future “heir and spare” for England. I did not hear such an announcement for Katherine Middleton when she married William. Also, the Press from the beginning, said Diana was a “commoner” although she is from one of the oldest and most prestigious families in England and is related to Churchill and the beloved Mountbatten family. As well, after Charles cheated on her for their entire marriage, and as reported, wore Camilla’s gift of gold cuff links as he was marrying Diana, she decided to finally, after 12 or 13 years, divorce him. So, the powers at be stripped her of her HRH title (which is simply “common” of them, and who cares about that anymore), but, unfortunately for the world, this also meant she had to provide her own security and driver, and we all know how that ended up. God rest her soul. Way ahead of her time and the Monarchy should thank and honor her memory.

    • Kathleen Ames

      You don’t really seem to understand Royalty. Once they were divorced, Diana was not entitled to the title HRH. The term ‘commoner’ is not a slur on Diana, it simply means that she was not born a member of a royal family. Therefore she was a commoner. It does not matter that her aristocratic background was as nearly as good as it gets, she was not born royal. She chose to be with Dodi Fayed (whose father incidentally was desperate to ‘get one over’ on the royal family because they had taken the Royal Warrant from Harrods) because he had the money and ‘public eye’ lifestyle that she craved and Diana loved the fact that by being with the Fayeds she was cocking a snoop at the Royals. It was her insatiable – almost manic – need to be the centre of attention that took her to Paris with him after weeks on their boat in the Mediterranean that led to her untimely death not her lack of security. Fayed thought that his money and influence could provide Diana with the limelight and security while at the same time flaunting his wealth and position. How wrong he was. Secondly both Diana and Sarah Ferguson both denied that any such examination of ‘virginity’ ever took place.

      • kbarrettbaker

        Thank you Kathleen, for the Reply. Yes, I do understand that Princess Diana is a commoner. I should have been more clear. It was the tone written in the Press and said on the radio…VERY condescending. I did not hear that tone in the Press when Kate was dating and waiting for William. “Waity Katie” was about as bad as the Press was to her. Yes, I also understand that in a Royal divorce the HRH title is stripped, however, due to the fact that Princess Diana was one of the most photographed women in the world, (like her or not), Charles, or any other Royal should have agreed to provide Diana security and a driver, as she is the mother of a future King of England. So, in addition to having treated Diana like a Broodmare, the Royals refused her security and left her to fend for herself. Yes, she behaved badly too, but as an innocent 19 year old, I believe she was in love when she married Charles. He, on the other hand, was a man of 32, and said that famous line “whatever love is” when asked about love, and Diana was standing right next to him. Hurtful for anyone to have to listen to, I’m sure. Separately, I also have been to Harrods and seen & heard all about Mr. Fayed and how he owns the apartment Wallis Simpson and Edward VII used to own, etc. Yes, Mr. Fayed seems to have been obsessed with the Royals long before Diana came into Dodi’s life. Anyway, I guess Diana chose Dodi because he could offer her security and “the good life’ and she could thumb her nose at the Royals. Also, I remember when Sarah Ferguson was married and her denial of said “virginity” test. I do not remember hearing Diana’s denial of said test, but can still remember where I was standing when I heard the initial announcement on the radio. I was stunned. Again, how embarrassing for any 19 year old young woman to have to tolerate publicly.

        • Kathleen Ames

          Diana did indeed have security. One of her bodyguards was with her in the car and was the only one to survive the crash because he was the only one sensible enough to wear a seatbelt. Far from donning her own seatbelt when the car was racing the paparazzi at an estimated 100 miles per hour, she was looking out of the rear window enjoying every moment of the chase because there was nothing she wanted more than attention. When Diana was in England she had a chauffeur and all the trimmings. I do agree with most of what you say about Fayed he was obsessed – with showing his wealth – and trying to get one over on the Royals. It was he who brought about the relationship for just that reason. Diana also knew it. That was why she was there with them – trying to cock two fingers! Sadly, it brought about a tragic and unexpected conclusion.

        • Kathleen Ames

          Oh. A PS. I presume you did not read many papers during the 8 year courtship of Catherine & Wils. She was regularly referred to as a commoner as were her family with her mother constantly referred to as ‘doors to manual’ (flight attendant speak referring to her mother’s former Stewardess occupation). After 8 years we knew all too well she was a commoner and had got used to the idea. Plus, thirty-odd years later than Diana, the world had moved on as more and more royals here and abroad have married commoners. I am not a big fan of Catherine but it simply is not true to say she was not, at times, treated badly by the Press.

          • kbarrettbaker

            Thanks & yes, I am a regular subscriber to Tattler and Hello magazine and the Guardian on line now too. I guess the tone has changed in the last 30 years as with Diana mentioned in the press as a “commoner”, the tone was, I thought, quite condescending. Yes, I was aware Catherine’s mother was a flight attendant, and good for them for starting and continuing with a very successful party business Online. The world has changed and being referred to as a “commoner” now has a much more positive connotation than 30 years ago. :)

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