02 September 2023

26 years after Diana: 26 dramatic moments in the life of the People's Princess

02 September 2023

The life of Princess Diana, one of the world's most iconic figures, was filled with moments of remarkable courage, grace, and high drama that continue to captivate millions around the globe some 26 years after she died alongside boyfriend Dodi Fayed in a Paris car crash. Here, we chronicles 26 dramatic milestones in the life of the "People's Princess."

1. Education at Boarding School: Diana attended West Heath boarding school, but she left when she was just 16 after twice failing her O levels.

2. Engagement Announcement: The world glimmered with fairy-tale-like excitement when Diana and Charles, Prince of Wales, announced their engagement on February 24, 1981.

3. The Royal Wedding: On July 29, 1981, Diana captured the nation's hearts while walking down the aisle at St. Paul's Cathedral, in arguably one of the most viewed television events in history.

4. Birth of Prince William: Princess Diana handed the Royal Family and the world a reason to celebrate with the birth of Prince William, the third in line to the throne, on June 21, 1982.

5. Battle with Bulimia: In interviews, Diana admitted struggling with bulimia during her early years as a royal, revealing the internal turmoil behind the glitzy façade.

6. Birth of Prince Harry: On September 15, 1984, Harry was born. Diana knew she was having another boy but didn't tell Charles as she knew he wanted a girl.

7. John Travolta dance: The famous dance with the Hollywood heartthrob took place when Diana and Prince Charles were on an official trip to the United States in November 1985 and were invited by the then President, Ronald Reagan, to a gala dinner at the White House.

8. Solo Trip to New York: Diana's 1989 solo trip to The States made headlines when during a tour of Harlem Hospital Center, she spontaneously hugged a seven-year-old child with AIDS

9. Publicly Discussing Infidelity: Diana’s groundbreaking interview with the BBC’s Martin Bashir, admitting to infidelity and discussing Charles' affair with Camilla, shocked the monarchy and the world in 1995.

10. Topless photos: In 1994, pictures of Diana sunbathing topless at a Costa del Sol hotel were put up for sale by a Spanish photography agency for £1 million.

11. The Divorce: After much public speculation, Princess Diana and Prince Charles' divorce was finalised on August 28, 1996, marking the end of a high-profile and troubled marriage.

12. Landmines Campaign: Diana touring an Angolan minefield in a ballistic helmet and flak jacket in 1997 became one of her most iconic images.

13. Al Fayed Relationship: Diana's romance with Dodi Al Fayed made headlines worldwide, indicative of her need for private happiness amidst public scrutiny.

14. Last Birthday: Princess Diana celebrated her 36th and, tragically, final birthday on July 1, 1997.

15. The Last Summer: Diana enjoyed her last summer vacationing with her sons and Dodi Al Fayed in the French Rivera in August 1997.

16. The Paparazzi Chase: The fateful high-speed chase by paparazzi through the tunnel in Paris that led to Diana and Dodi's deaths, still evokes horror and shock.

17. Death Announcement: World leaders and watchers held their collective breath as the news broke early on August 31, 1997, with Diana having tragically succumbed to her injuries.

18. Princes follow her coffin: The sight of William and Harry walking behind their mother's casket was a heartbreaking scene that no-one who watched will ever forget.

19. The Funeral: Held on September 6, 1997, Diana's funeral at Westminster Abbey was watched by a British TV audience of 32.1 million.

20. Elton John's tribute: her friend re-wrote and performed his classic Candle in the Wind at the service. Released as a single, the proceeds went to her favourite charities.

21: Burial at Althorp Park: Diana's grave is on an island within the grounds of the estate. Her body was clothed in a black long-sleeved dress by her favourite designer Catherine Walker and a set of rosary beads that she had received from Mother Teresa was placed in her hands.

22. Diana’s Garden: Following her death, the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace was transformed into the "White Garden," a fitting tribute to Diana’s life and humanitarian works.

23. The inquest: In April 2008, an inquest concluded that Diana’s death was due to the reckless behaviour of her chauffeur Henri Paul and the paparazzi.

24. The Concert For Diana: Diana’s sons organised a tribute concert on July 1, 2007, marking her 46th birthday, which included Elton John’s rendition of 'Candle In The Wind'.

25. Prince William’s Engagement: Prince William used his mother's sapphire engagement ring when proposing to Kate Middleton.

26. US surveillance: In 1999, after the submission of a Freedom of Information request by the Internet news service apbonline.com, it was revealed that Diana had been placed under surveillance by the National Security Agency until her death.

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