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Diana, Princess of Wales

Princess Diana on a royal visit for the offici...
  

Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Frances;[fn 1] née Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997), was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981.[2] She was also well known for her fund-raising work for international charities and as an eminent celebrity of the late 20th century. Her wedding to Charles, heir to the British throne and those of the then 18 Commonwealth realms, was held at St Paul's Cathedral and seen by a global television audience of over 750 million. While married she bore the titles Princess of WalesDuchess of CornwallDuchess of RothesayCountess of Chester and Baroness of Renfrew. The marriage produced two sons, the princes William and Harry,[3] who became second and third in line to the British throne.
Diana was born into an aristocratic English family with royal ancestry and became a public figure with the announcement of her engagement to Prince Charles. Diana also received recognition for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. From 1989, she was the president of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for children, in addition to dozens of other charities. She remained the object of worldwide media scrutiny during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996. Media attention and public mourning were considerable after her death in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997.

Early life

Diana was born at 7:45 PM on 1 July 1961, in Sandringham, Norfolk.[4][5] She was the fourth of five children of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp (née Frances Roche, later Shand Kydd).[4][5][6]The Spencers are one of Britain's oldest and most important families, closely allied with the Royal Family for several generations.[7] The Spencers were hoping for a boy to carry on the family line, and no name was chosen for a week, until they settled on Diana Frances, after Diana Russell, Duchess of Bedford, her distant relative who was also known as "Lady Diana Spencer" before marriage and who was also a prospective Princess of Wales, and her mother.[5] 
Diana was baptised at St. Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham.[8] Diana had three siblings: SarahJane, andCharles.[4][6] Diana also had an infant brother, John, who died only a year before she was born.[5][6] The desire for an heir added strain to the Spencers' marriage, and Lady Althorp was reportedly sent to Harley Street clinics in London to determine the cause of the "problem".[5] The experience was described as "humiliating" by Diana's younger brother, Charles: "It was a dreadful time for my parents and probably the root of their divorce because I don't think they ever got over it."[8] Diana grew up in Park House, which was situated near to the Sandringham estate.[6]
Diana was eight years old when her parents divorced[9] after her mother had an affair with Peter Shand Kydd.[6] In Morton's book, he describes Diana's remembrance of Lord Althorp loading suitcases in the car and Lady Althorp crunching across the gravel forecourt and driving away through the gates of Park House.[5] Diana lived with her mother in London during her parents' separation, but during the Christmas holidays, Lord Althorp did not allow his former wife to return to London along with Diana. Shortly afterwards, Lord Althorp eventually won custody of Diana with support from his former mother-in-law, Ruth Roche, Baroness Fermoy.[4] 
Diana was first educated at Riddlesworth Hall near Diss, Norfolk, and later attended boarding school at The New School at West Heath,[4] in SevenoaksKent. In 1973, Lord Althorp began a relationship with Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, the only daughter of Alexander McCorquodale and Barbara Cartland.[10] Diana became known as Lady Diana when her father inherited the title of Earl Spencer on 9 June 1975. Lady Dartmouth, unpopular with Diana, married Lord Spencer at Caxton Hall, London on 14 July 1976.[6] Diana was often noted for her shyness while growing up, but she did take an interest in both music and dancing. She also had a great interest in children. After attending finishing school at the Institut Alpin Videmanette in Switzerland, she moved to London. She began working with children, eventually becoming a nursery assistant at the Young England School.[4] Diana had apparently played with Princes Andrew and Edward as a child while her family rented Park House, a property owned by Queen Elizabeth II and situated on the Sandringham Estate.[4][11]



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