The Burning Torch for Protestantism.


Diana, Princess of Wales (1961 - 1997)

Diana Spencer was born on 1 July 1961, the youngest daughter of the Viscount and Viscountess Althorp. Her father became the 8th Earl Spencer upon his own father's death in 1975, and Diana's title in turn changed to Lady Diana Spencer.

Diana had two older sisters, Sarah (born 1955) and Jane (born 1957), and a younger brother, Charles (born 1964). Her parents, who had married in 1954, separated in 1967 and the marriage was dissolved in 1969. Earl Spencer later married Raine, Countess of Dartmouth in 1976. After the break-up of their parents, Diana and her siblings continued to live with their father at Park House, Sandringham, until 1975; they then moved to the Spencer family seat (a stately home dating from 1508) at Althorp in Northamptonshire.

After attending finishing school in Switzerland, Diana began working in London as a nanny, governess and kindergarten teacher. She married Charles, Prince of Wales, at St Paul's Cathedral on 29 July 1981, aged just 20. The ceremony drew a global television and radio audience estimated at around 1,000 million, and hundreds of thousands of people packed London streets to catch a glimpse of the couple en route from the Cathedral. Prince Charles and Princess Diana had two sons, William (born 1982) and Henry (or Harry, born 1984). But after ten years the marriage failed, and the couple agreed to separate in 1992.

The Princess continued to live in Kensington Palace, while the Prince was based at St James's Palace and continued to live at Highgrove. In 1995, Princess Diana gave a BBC television interview in which she admitted to having suffered from bulimia and to having committed adultery. She also suggested that the royal family was a cold and unsupportive one. Her relationship with the public and media was an ambiguous one and she was never far from the front pages of the tabloid newspapers. The couple divorced in the year following the interview, and it was agreed that the Princess was to be known as Diana, Princess of Wales, without the style of 'Her Royal Highness'.

Diana is perhaps best remembered for her charitable work with children, with the homeless and disabled, and on behalf of people with HIV and AIDS. She was also an active campaigner for a ban on the use and manufacture of landmines.

The death of the Princess of Wales in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997 came as a shock to the world, and she is remembered by many as the nation's 'Queen of Hearts'.

Did you know?
Diana was the first Englishwoman to marry an heir to the throne for over 300 years; Lady Anne Hyde married the future James II (from whom the Princess was descended) in 1659.
The 25ft train on Diana's wedding dress was the longest Royal train ever designed.
She and Sarah Ferguson, the then future wife of Prince Andrew, attempted to gatecrash Prince Andrew's stag night, dressed as policewomen.

Her favourite Hymn was "I Vow To Thee My Country" which you can hear on this page.

In June 1997, at the suggestion of her son Prince William, the Princess gave 79 of her own dresses to be auctioned in New York, raising millions of dollars for cancer and AIDS charities.
It is estimated that 31 million people in Britain, and two and a half billion people around the world, watched Diana's funeral on television.

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