Diana, Princess of Wales, is remembered as the perfect mix of a princess, rebel, and activist. Today marks Two decades since her premature death, so to pay tribute to her legacy, we are here to explain how she remarkably combined glamour and political strategy to accomplish her goals.
Diana Spencer was given birth into privilege in England, and as her father inherited the title of Earl in 1975 she was handed the title Lady; she had frequent connection with the royal family and subsequently lived on the grand Althrop Estate. At SIXTEEN, after getting poor O level results – the same as U.S. high school standard exams – Diana was sent to a finishing school that trained wealthy ladies on social manners, where she most probably learned flower arrangement, stitching,as well as how to correctly set a table. She dropped out after a single term and became a teacher.
She met Charles, the Royal prince of Wales, and they dated for a couple of months prior to their engagement in 1981. The royal family accepted of their match because Diana was young and noble, and had never really had a boyfriend. Their particular first challenges as a couple had been a 12-year age difference and lacking shared interests – plus the fact that as soon as the engagement was announced, the press hounded Diana. Her quiet lifestyle, simple dresses, and shyness made the story of an every day girl becoming a royal princess.
During the year 1981, the uk experienced recession, increasing unemployment levels and riots in the streets. Well-being was low, and the citizens found a sense of hope in Diana. The press was fascinated with the “fairy-tale marriage” and reported on every details, such as the wedding ring, invitees list, and location choice. There was a lot of intrigue about the bridal gown that its designers put the dress’s information inside sealed envelopes, which were only permitted to be opened the actual moment Diana stepped out of her carriage at Westminster Abbey. Commemorative memorabilia which include mugs, cups, and paper prints were created, and 750 million persons tuned in to “the Wedding of the Century”.
The newspapers followed her almost everywhere. According to her brother Charles Spencer, a paparazzo once said to Diana that he would “be there every day of your life until you’re dead and then I’ll be filming your grave.” The lady became the most photographed women in the world at that time – then, a simple paparazzi picture of Diana would sell for for up to $656,000.
The media analysis may have contributed to her challenges with bulimia, and she was really unsatisfied, Diana later said to correspondent Andrew Morton:
“The first time I was measured for my wedding dress, I was 29 inches around the waist. The day I got married, I was 23 and a half inches. I had shrunk into nothing from February to July,”
she said. Going into her marriage, Diana was aware that her fiancé had an affair with another woman, Camilla Parker Bowles. Even on his honeymoon, Charles brought photos of Camilla, according to Andrew Morton’s book, Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words. Diana said she spent the honeymoon “crying her eyes out” and struggling with “appalling” bulimia, according to the book.
Diana tried seriously to maintain looks and keep her relationship together. Her first child, Prince William, was given birth to in 1982, but when her second son, Prince Harry, was born in 1984, “the marriage was effectively over,” she later on told Morton. Sometimes Diana and Charles were in such problems that they could hardly cover their feelings, creating awkward and openly damaging moments.
As Princess of Wales, Diana lived in Kensington Palace and performed public events for the royal family, like light ritual appearances, participating in government functions, as well as , international royal trips. The numerous apparel Diana was recommended to dress on these tours played a role in her status as a fashion icon. What ever Diana did or wore ended up being on the front page of tabloid newspapers the following day. In the early days of her matrimony, she was still trying to adjust and dress like an archetypical modern princess, and her style shown in those of royals today: high necklines, lengthy sleeves, pearl jewelry, and hats.
But since Diana turned out to be more and more unhappy, she sought more independence, which her clothes reflected. A fashion icon came to be as she used experimental, dramatic trends from the 1980s, combining looks with accessories from the royal jewel collection. Her clothing collection was examined by the press regardless of the event, so she learned to dress down if she wanted the world’s focus to stay on the place she was going to, like the Angolan land mines, or the people, like the ones at the leprosy mission she went to in India.
Diana also worked to combat stigma about HIV/AIDS—a stigma which during that time was so prevalent that men and women refused to be near, touch, deal with, or even bury sufferers. In April 1987, Diana opened Britain’s 1st AIDS ward. She made history by shaking patients’ hands without wearing gloves, a gesture that was acknowledged all over the world and really helped de-stigmatize the virus. Diana famously said”HIV does not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it.”
In November 1995, Diana carried out a historic interview with Martin Bashir on BBC’s Panorama program without any permission from the royal family, and disclosed everything. She spoke in detail about her own infidelity, unhappiness, the Prince’s relationship with Camilla, the royal family’s negligence to her bulimia and attempts at committing suicide. Most famously, Diana said, “I’d like to be a queen of people’s hearts…but I don’t see myself being queen of this country.” Precisely a month afterwards, when Diana was 34, in a letter to Charles, the Queen encouraged a divorce.
The final divorce arrangement in 1996 left Diana an independently wealthy woman. In a BBC documentary, Jacques Azagury, who tailored many dresses for Diana, stated that soon after her separation from Charles, he had “never seen the princess happier. She had this great sense of fun about her. She seemed to be enjoying everything.” She had new relationships, including one which People described as “rebound romance” with Hasnat Kahn, a Pakistani heart doctor; and eventually with Dodi Al Fayed, son of an Egyptian billionaire. Apart from the husband or royal protocol, all those things held Diana from true freedom was the constant press nuisance.
She was dedicated to charity work, starting an anti-land mine campaign and offering her dresses for AIDS and cancer research projects. She organised strategic conferences with other icons, including Nelson Mandela and Mother Teresa, remodeling herself into a global symbol of compassion and empathy. Diana explained in an interview, “I have all this media interest, so let’s take it somewhere where they can be positive and embrace a situation which is distressing.” Diana ran the risk of her life by walking through an active land mine field 2 times so the press could get the right picture, and her labors were not in vain. When then-foreign secretary Robin Cook presented the 2nd Reading of the Landmines Bill 1998, which made land mines outlawed, to the British House of Commons, he thanked Diana for all she had contributed to the cause.
In the long run, nobody could restrain the press’ desire to have snap shots of her. On August 31, 1997, Diana died when the car she was in crashed into the 13th pillar of the Alma tunnel in Paris, france as the paparazzi chased her. A court later put equal blame on her driver, Henri Paul, for rushing while 3 times above the alcohol limit, and the grossly negligent riding of other cars that followed Diana. Following the crash, a couple of photographers tried to help, but most took photos of the dying princess. The police later on reported that they had problems cordoning off the crash site because of the gathering paparazzi.
She was flown back to London and given a proper state funeral service, which the BBC reports was seen by 2.5 billion people. The image of her sons, both the young Princes, walking in line behind their mothers hearse, instantly became noted. Throughout the 6 days it took to prepare Diana’s funeral, Kensington Palace had become the site of mass public grief. People travelled to pay their respects and lay flowers outside of the palace gate. The outpouring was so huge that only aerial shots made it possible to capture the magnitude of the public mourning.
Her story is about a woman who had the strength to say no. Diana made use of the world’s stage to openly and successfully reject society’s restrictions and expectations of what a woman – or a princess – could be. In doing so she was able to be truly herself. This genuine self helped bring peace, kindness, humbleness, and understanding into a world wracked with hunger, disease, and despise. Diana has shown that being yourself has the power to change the world.