The Peopl\'s Princess

The "People\'s Princess"

Diana Frances Spencer was born July 1, 1961, at Park House near Sandringham, Norfolk. She was the youngest daughter of three (Sarah b. 1955 and Jane b. 1957), and she had a younger brother Charles (born 1964). Her parents were Viscount and Viscountess Althorp, now the late (8th) Earl Spencer, and the Honorable Mrs. Shand-Kydd, daughter of the 4th Baron Fermoy. Earl Spencer was Equerry to George VI from 1950-1952, and to the Queen from 1952-1954, when he married Diana\'s mother. Her parents separated in 1967 after her mother left her father for another man, and the marriage continued to dissolve until 1969 when the divorce was made final. Diana\'s father won custody of the children. The continued to live with their father at Park House, Sandringham, until the death of her grandfather, the 7th Earl Spencer. In 1975 the family moved to the Spencer family house at Althorp in Northamptonshire in the English Midlands. After her grandfathers death, her title in turn changed to Lady Diana Spencer. Diana\'s father remarried Raine, Countess of Dartmouth in 1976.
Lady Diana was educated first at a preparatory school, Riddlesworth Hall at Diss, Norfolk, and then in 1974 went to a boarding school, West Heath, near Sevenoaks, Kent. At school she showed a great talent for music, dancing, and domestic science. Though she never excelled academically, she was recognized at West Heath with a special award for service in 1977. People described her as "a girl who notices what needs to be done, then does it willingly and cheerfully." Diana left West Heath in 1977 and went to finishing school at the Institute Alpin Videmanette in Rougemont, Switzerland, which she left at the Easter term of 1978. The following year she moved to a flat in Coleherne Court, London. For some time she looked after the child of an American couple, and she worked as a kindergarten teacher at the Young England School in Pimlico.
Diana and her siblings, growing up at her father\'s house on the royal estate at Sandringham and the family home at Althorp, knew the royal family from a young age, with Charles\' younger brothers Edward and Andrew as playmates. Although their families had known eachother for many years, Diana and Charles met again when he was invited to a weekend at Althorp in November 1977. Lady Diana and Prince Charles began dating in 1980, when their romance at first remained a secret from the news. But soon the cameras caught up with "Shy Di," who at 19 charmed the world with her fresh beauty and innocence. On February 24th 1981, it was officially announced that Lady Diana was to marry The Prince of Wales.
The fairytale romance of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles raised worldwide interest in Britain\'s royal family. Engagement pictures showing the smiling couple, and showing off Diana\'s engagement ring, an 18 carat sapphire surrounded by diamonds, were splashed across everything from newspapers to souviners such as coffee mugs. The heir to Britain\'s throne and his beautiful princess-to-be brought forth admirers by holding a storybook wedding with all the royal trappings imaginable. Di\'s dress was of silk tafetta with a 25 foot long train. She had 5 bridesmaids, including Princess Lady Sarah Armstrong. Crouwds packed London streets and millions watched worldwide on television as Charles 32, and Diana, 20, exchanged vows at St. Paul\'s Cathedral on July 29, 1981. The wedding reception was held at Buckingham Palace. Diana was the first English woman to marry a heir to the throne for 300 years. The couple honeymooned in Hampshire and aboard the royal yacht Britannia in the Mediterranean. The 12- year age differance between the prince and princess seemed to matter little at this stage.
Princess Diana gave birth to William Arthur Philip Louis on June 21, 1982, less than a year after the wedding. After her marriage, The princess of Wales quickly became involved in the official duties of the Royal family. Her first tour with The Prince was a three-day visit to Wales in October of 1981. The Princess\'s first official visit overseas on her own was in September of 1982, when she represented the Queen at the state funeral of Princess Grace of Manaco. The Princess\'s first solo overseas tour was in February of 1984 when she travelled to