Diana Frances Spencer1

Female, #58240, (1 Jul 1961 - 31 Aug 1997)
Father*Edward John Spencer 8th Earl Spencer1 (24 Jan 1924 - 29 Mar 1992)
Mother*Frances Ruth Burke Roche1 (20 Jan 1936 - 3 Jun 2004)
Birth*1 Jul 1961 She was born on 1 Jul 1961 at Park House, Sandringham, co. Norfolk, England. Diana and most modern day Culpeppers, descend from John Culpeper of Wigsell (1531-1612). Diana descends through John's great-granddaughter Elizabeth Culpeper, a second cousin of the American progenitor, Henry Culpepper of Lower Norfolk, Virginia. Elizabeth Culpeper married Col. James Hamilton, and Diana's line continues in the Hamilton family through nine generations -- mostly Dukes and Earls of Abercorn -- down to her grandmother Lady Cynthia Hamilton. Lady Hamilton married Albert Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer, and their son John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, is Diana's father. In 1992, upon John's death, Diana's brother Charles succeeded as 9th Earl Spencer.1 
Name Variationbetween 1975 and 1981  As of between 1975 and 1981, Diana Frances Spencer was also known as The Lady Diana Frances Spencer.1 
Marriage*29 Jul 1981 She married Charles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten-Windsor at St. Paul's Cathedral, City of London, London, England, on 29 Jul 1981 at age 20.2 
Name Variationbetween 1981 and 1996  As of between 1981 and 1996, Diana Frances Spencer was also known as Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales.1 
Birth of Son21 Jun 1982 Her son William Arthur Philip Louis Mountbatten-Windsor was born on 21 Jun 1982 at Paddington, West London, England.3 
Birth of Son15 Sep 1984 Her son Henry Charles Albert David Mountbatten-Windsor was born on 15 Sep 1984 at Paddington, West London, England.4 
Death of Father29 Mar 1992 Her father Edward John Spencer 8th Earl Spencer died on 29 Mar 1992 at Wellington, London, England.5 
Name Variationbetween 1996 and 1997  As of between 1996 and 1997, Diana Frances Spencer was also known as Diana Princess of Wales.1 
Death*31 Aug 1997 She died at Paris, France, on 31 Aug 1997 at age 36.1 
Biography* Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Frances; née Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997) was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales. Their sons, Princes William and Henry (Harry), are second and third in line to the thrones of the United Kingdom and fifteen other Commonwealth Realms.

A public figure from the announcement of her engagement to Prince Charles, Diana remained the focus of near-constant media scrutiny in the United Kingdom and around the world up to and during her marriage, and after her subsequent divorce. Her sudden death in a car accident was followed by a spontaneous and prolonged show of public mourning. Contemporary responses to Diana's life and legacy have been mixed but a popular fascination with the Princess endures, and conspiracy theories about her death are currently the subject of an inquest.

Early life
Diana Frances Spencer was the youngest daughter of Edward John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, later John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, and his first wife, Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp (formerly the Honourable Frances Burke Roche). She was born at Park House, Sandringham in Norfolk, England and baptised there at St. Mary Magdalene Church by the Rt. Rev. Percy Herbert (rector of the church and former Bishop of Norwich and Blackburn); her godparents included John Floyd (the chairman of Christie's). She was the third child to the couple, her four siblings being The Lady Sarah Spencer (born 19 March 1955), The Lady Jane Spencer (born 11 February 1957), The Honourable John Spencer (born and died 12 January 1960), and Charles Spencer (born 20 May 1964).

During her parents' reasonably acrimonious divorce in 1969 (over Lady Althorp's affair with wallpaper heir Peter Shand Kydd), Diana's mother took her and her younger brother to live in an apartment in London's Knightsbridge, where Diana attended a local day school. That Christmas the Spencer children went to celebrate with their father and he subsequently refused to allow them to return to London and their mother. Lady Althorp sued for custody of her children, but Lady Althorp's mother's testimony against her daughter during the trial contributed to the court's decision to award custody of Diana and her brother to their father. On the death of her paternal grandfather, Albert Spencer, 7th Earl Spencer in 1975, Diana's father became the 8th Earl Spencer, at which time she became Lady Diana Spencer and moved from her childhood home at Park House to her family's sixteenth-century ancestral home of Althorp.

In 1976 Lord Spencer married Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the only daughter of romantic novelist Barbara Cartland, after he was named as the "other party" in the Dartmouths' divorce. During this time Diana travelled up and down the country, living between her parents' homes—with her father at the Spencer seat in Northamptonshire, and with her mother, who had moved to the Island of Seil off the west coast of Scotland. Diana, like her siblings, did not get along with her new stepmother.

Royal descent
Diana was born into an aristocratic family. On her mother's side, Diana had Irish, Scottish, English, and American ancestry. One of her great-grandmothers was the New York heiress Frances Work. On her father's side, she was a descendant of King Charles II of England through two illegitimate sons:
     1. Henry Fitzroy, 1st Duke of Grafton, son by Barbara Villiers, 1st Duchess of Cleveland
     2. Charles Lennox, 1st Duke of Richmond and Lennox, son by Louise de Kérouaille, 1st Duchess of Portsmouth

She was also a descendant of King James II of England through an illegitimate daughter, Henrietta FitzJames. Henrietta's mother was Arabella Churchill, the sister of John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough. Her other notable ancestors included Robert I (the Bruce) and Mary, Queen of Scots (an aspect of family history in which Diana expressed great interest); Mary Boleyn; Lady Catherine Grey; Maria de Salinas; John Egerton, 2nd Earl of Bridgewater; and James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby.

The Spencers had been close to the British Royal Family for centuries, rising in royal favour during the 1600s. Diana's maternal grandmother, Ruth, Lady Fermoy, was a long-time friend and a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.

Actor Oliver Platt is a second cousin, as he is also a great-grandchild of Frances Work. Diana was also a cousin of one of her favorite actresses, Audrey Hepburn. Her other notable cousins include Humphrey Bogart and Rainier III, Prince of Monaco.

In August 2007, the New England Historic Genealogical Society published Richard K. Evans's The Ancestry of Diana, Princess of Wales, for Twelve Generations.

Diana was first educated at Silfield School in Kings Lynn, Norfolk, then at Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk and at West Heath Girls' School (later reorganised as the New School at West Heath, a special school for boys and girls) in Sevenoaks, Kent, where she was regarded as a poor student, having attempted and failed all of her O-levels twice. In 1977, at the age of 16, she left West Heath and briefly attended Institut Alpin Videmanette, a finishing school in Rougemont, Switzerland. At about that time, she first met her future husband, who was dating her sister, Lady Sarah. Diana reportedly excelled in swimming and diving and is said to have longed to be a ballerina. She studied ballet for a time, but at 5'10" was too tall.

Diana moved to London before she became seventeen. An apartment was purchased for her at Coleherne Court in the Earls Court area, and she lived there until 1981 with three flatmates.

Prince Charles' love life had always been the subject of press speculation, and he was linked to numerous glamorous and aristocratic women. In his early thirties, he was under increasing pressure to marry. Legally, the only requirement was that he could not marry a Roman Catholic; a member of the Church of England was preferred. In order to gain the approval of his family and their advisers, any potential bride was expected to have a royal or aristocratic background, be a virgin, as well as be Protestant. Diana met these qualifications.

Engagement and Wedding
Their engagement became official February 24, 1981 with the heir to the throne presenting the princess with a walnut-sized £30,000 ring consisting of 14 diamonds and a sapphire.

The 20-year-old princess married at St Paul's Cathedral, which offered more seating than Westminster Abbey which was previously used for royal nuptials, on 29 July 1981 in what was widely billed as a "fairytale wedding" watched by a global television audience of 750 million. Bride and groom both scrambled their vows a bit, the 11:20 A.M. BST wedding was flawless and as opulent as one would expect for a royal couple. The princess wore a gown valued at £9000 with 25 foot train and the finest lace.

Problems and separation
In the late 1980s, the marriage of Diana and Charles fell apart, an event at first suppressed, then sensationalised, by the world media. Both the Prince and Princess of Wales allegedly spoke to the press through friends, each blaming the other for the marriage's demise. Charles resumed his old, pre-marital affair with Camilla Parker Bowles. Asked what part Camilla Parker-Bowles had played in the break-up of her marriage, Diana commented during the BBC programme Panorama, "Well there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded." Diana had an affair with her riding instructor, James Hewitt. She confirmed this during the Panorama television interview. Charles had confirmed his own affair over a year earlier in a televised interview with Jonathan Dimbleby. The Prince and Princess of Wales were separated on 9 December 1992. While she blamed Camilla Parker-Bowles for her marital troubles, as early as October 1993, Diana was writing to a friend that she believed her husband was now in love with Tiggy Legge-Bourke and wanted to marry her. On 3 December 1993, Diana announced her withdrawal from public life.

In December 1995, the Queen asked Charles and Diana for "an early divorce". This followed shortly after Diana's accusation that Tiggy Legge-Bourke had aborted Charles's child, causing Tiggy to instruct Peter Carter-Ruck to demand an apology. Two days before this story broke, Diana's secretary Patrick Jephson resigned, later claiming that Diana had "exulted in accusing Legge-Bourke of having had an abortion".

The divorce was finalised on 28 August 1996, and Diana received a lump sum settlement of around £17,000,000 along with a legal order preventing her from discussing the details.

Days before the decree absolute of divorce, Letters Patent were issued by Queen Elizabeth II containing general rules to regulate the titles of people who married into the Royal Family after divorce. In accordance with those rules, as she was no longer married to the Prince of Wales, and so had ceased to be a Royal by-marriage, Diana lost the style, Her Royal Highness and instead was styled, Diana, Princess of Wales.

Buckingham Palace stated that Diana was still officially a member of the Royal Family, since she was the mother of the second- and third-in-line to the throne. This was confirmed by the Deputy Coroner of the Queen’s Household, Baroness Butler-Sloss, who after a pre-hearing on 8 January 2007 ruled that: "I am satisfied that at her death, Diana, Princess of Wales continued to be considered as a member of the Royal Household." This appears to have been confirmed in the High Court judicial review matter of Al Fayed & Ors v Butler-Sloss. In that case, three High Court judges accepted submissions that the "very name ‘Coroner to the Queen’s Household’ gave the appearance of partiality in the context of inquests into the deaths of two people, one of whom was a member of the Royal Family and the other was not."

Personal life after divorce
After the divorce, Diana retained her apartment in Kensington Palace, completely redecorated, and it remained her home until her death.

She publicly dated the respected heart surgeon from Pakistan, Hasnat Khan, who was called "the love of her life", for almost two years, before Khan ended the relationship due to cultural differences. She soon after began her relationship with Dodi Al-Fayed. These details were confirmed by witnesses at her inquest in November/December 2007.

After her divorce, Diana worked particularly for the Red Cross and campaigned to rid the world of land mines. Her work was on a humanitarian rather than a political level. She was extremely aware of her status as mother of a future King and was prepared to do anything to prevent harm to her sons. She pursued her own interests in philanthropy, music, fashion and travel—although she still required royal consent to take her children on holiday or to represent the UK abroad. Without a holiday or weekend home, Diana spent most of her time in London, often without her sons, who were with Prince Charles or at boarding school. She assuaged her loneliness with visits to the gym and cinema, private charity work, incognito midnight walks through Central London and by compulsively watching her favourite soap operas (EastEnders and Brookside) with a 'TV dinner' in the isolation of her apartment.

The alternative 'court' she cultivated was sometimes seen as unconventional and controversial. Included within it were numerous New Age healers and spiritualists, the feminist empowerment therapist Susie Orbach, well known personalities such as Gianni Versace, George Michael, Elton John, and Michael Barrymore with whom she would visit Soho nightclubs, bohemian members of the aristocracy such as Annabel Goldsmith, university students, several tabloid journalists and Stephen Twigg.

When asked in an interview about the people who she most admired, Diana replied that she had always admired Margaret Thatcher, Madonna and Mother Teresa as they were all strong women and at the front of their specific fields, being politics, entertainment and religion.

Charity work
Starting in the mid- to late 1980s, the Princess of Wales became well known for her support of several charity projects. This stemmed naturally from her role as Princess of Wales—she was expected to engage in hospital visitations where she comforted the sick and in so doing, assumed the patronage of various charitable organisations—and from an interest in certain illnesses and health-related matters. Diana was a supporter of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a campaign that went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

AIDS Awareness. In April 1987, the Princess of Wales was one of the first high-profile celebrities to be photographed touching a person infected with HIV at the 'chain of hope' organization. Her contribution to changing the public opinion of AIDS sufferers was summarised in December 2001 by Bill Clinton at the 'Diana, Princess of Wales Lecture on AIDS': "In 1987, when so many still believed that AIDS could be contracted through casual contact, Princess Diana sat on the sickbed of a man with AIDS and held his hand. She showed the world that people with AIDS deserve no isolation, but compassion and kindness. It helped change world's opinion, and gave hope to people with AIDS."

Diana also made clandestine visits to show kindness to the sick. According to nurses, she would turn up unannounced (for example, at the Mildmay Hospice in London) with specific instructions that her visit was to be concealed from the media.

Landmines. The pictures of Diana touring an Angolan minefield, in a ballistic helmet and flak jacket, were seen worldwide. It was during this campaign that some accused the Princess of meddling in politics and declared her a 'loose cannon.' In August 1997, just days before her death, she visited Bosnia with the Landmine Survivors Network. Her interest in landmines was focused on the injuries they create, often to children, long after a conflict is over.

She is believed to have influenced the signing, though only after her death, of the Ottawa Treaty, which created an international ban on the use of anti-personnel landmines. Introducing the Second Reading of the Landmines Bill 1998 to the British House of Commons, the Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, paid tribute to Diana's work on landmines: "All Honourable Members will be aware from their postbags of the immense contribution made by Diana, Princess of Wales to bringing home to many of our constituents the human costs of landmines. The best way in which to record our appreciation of her work, and the work of NGOs that have campaigned against landmines, is to pass the Bill, and to pave the way towards a global ban on landmines."

The United Nations appealed to the nations which produced and stockpiled the largest numbers of landmines (China, Japan, India, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States) to sign the Ottawa Treaty forbidding their production and use, for which Diana had campaigned. Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), said that landmines remained "a deadly attraction for children, whose innate curiosity and need for play often lure them directly into harm's way".

On 31 August 1997, Diana died after a high speed car accident in the Pont d'Alma road tunnel in Paris along with Dodi Al-Fayed and the acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris, Henri Paul, who was instructed to drive the hired Mercedes-Benz through Paris secretly eluding the paparazzi. Their black 1994 Mercedes-Benz S280 crashed into the thirteenth pillar of the tunnel. The two-lane tunnel was built without metal barriers between the pillars, so a slight change in vehicle direction could easily result in a head-on collision with a tunnel pillar. None of the four occupants wore seatbelts.

Fayed's bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, who was in the passenger seat, was closest to the point of impact and yet he was the only survivor of the crash. Henri Paul and Dodi Fayed were killed instantly, and Diana—unbelted in the back seat—slid forward during the impact and, having been violently thrown around the interior, "submarined" under the seat in front of her, suffering massive damage to her heart with subsequent internal bleeding. She was eventually, after considerable delay, transported by ambulance to the Hôpital Pitié-Salpêtrière, but on the way she went into cardiac arrest twice. Despite lengthy resuscitation attempts, including internal cardiac massage, she died at 4 a.m. local time. Her funeral on 6 September 1997 was broadcast and watched by an estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide.

Tribute, Funeral and Burial
The funeral procession of Diana passing St. James' Park, London.The late Diana, Princess of Wales' funeral took place in Westminster Abbey on 6 September 1997. The previous day, Queen Elizabeth II paid tribute to her former daughter-in-law in a live television broadcast: “Since last Sunday's dreadful news we have seen, throughout Britain and around the world, an overwhelming expression of sadness at Diana's death. .... I want to pay tribute to Diana myself. She was an exceptional and gifted human being. In good times and bad, she never lost her capacity to smile and laugh, nor to inspire others with her warmth and kindness. I admired and respected her - for her energy and commitment to others, and especially for her devotion to her two boys. ... No-one who knew Diana will ever forget her. Millions of others who never met her, but felt they knew her, will remember her. I for one believe there are lessons to be drawn from her life and from the extraordinary and moving reaction to her death. I share in your determination to cherish her memory.”

Diana's funeral saw a widespread and genuine outpouring of grief at her passing. It was attended by all members of the royal family. Her burial occurred privately, later the same day. The Prince of Wales, her sons, her mother, siblings, a close friend, and a clergyman were present. Diana's remains had been dressed in a black long sleeved dress designed by Catherine Walker; ironically she had chosen the dress a few weeks before. A set of rosary beads had been placed in her hands, a gift she received from Mother Teresa, who died the same week as Diana. Her grave is on an island within the grounds of Althorp Park, the Spencer family home.

The original plan was for Diana to be buried in the Spencer family vault at the local church in nearby Great Brington, but her brother, Charles, the 9th Earl Spencer, said that he was concerned about public safety and security and the onslaught of visitors that might overwhelm Great Brington. He decided that he wanted his sister to be buried where her grave could be easily cared for and visited in privacy by her sons and other relations.

The island is in an ornamental lake known as The Round Oval within Althorp Park's gardens. A path with thirty-six oak trees, marking each year of her life, leads to the Oval. Four black swans swim in the lake, guarding the island. In the water there are water lilies, which, in addition to white roses, were Diana's favourite flowers.

On the southern verge of the Round Oval sits the Summerhouse, previously in the gardens of Admiralty House, London, and now adapted to serve as a memorial to Diana. An ancient arboretum stands nearby, which contains trees planted by Prince William and Prince Harry, other members of her family, and Diana herself. 


Charles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten-Windsor (14 Nov 1948 - )
Marriage*29 Jul 1981 She married Charles Philip Arthur George Mountbatten-Windsor at St. Paul's Cathedral, City of London, London, England, on 29 Jul 1981 at age 20.2 
ChartsDiana, Princess of Wales: Culpeper Ancestral Chart
The Culpepers of Hollingbourne, co. Kent, England (Possibly extinct): Descendant Chart
Last Edited8 Feb 2011


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  2. Charles, Prince of Wales. (2008, March 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:11, March 9, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Charles%2C_Prince_of_Wales&oldid=197019078
  3. Prince William of Wales. (2008, March 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:21, March 9, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/inex.php?title=Prince_William_of_Wales&oldid=196973559
  4. Prince Henry of Wales. (2008, March 9). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 21:42, March 9, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Prince_Henry_of_Wales&oldid=197085737
  5. John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer. (2008, March 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:41, March 9, 2008, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=John_Spencer%2C_8th_Earl_Spencer&oldid=196413805