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Today in History: Princess Diana’s Death Anniversary (1997)

On this day, 15 years ago, the world mourned as the news broke out that Diana, Princess of Wales had died tragically in a car accident in Paris. Learn more about the People’s Princess, her life, and the events surrounding her untimely death after the jump.

Born on July 1, 1961, Diana Frances was the fourth of five children to one of Britain’s oldest and most important families, the Spencers. She grew up in Park House, situated near the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, England, but later moved to London with her mother, following her parents’ separation when she was seven years old.

While often noted for her shyness, Diana had great interest in the arts especially in music and dance. She also held fondness for children, which was apparent when she eventually became an assistant in a preschool.

Diana became engaged to Charles, Prince of Wales, in February of 1981 and married him on July the same year at St. Paul’s Cathedral, watched by an estimated global television audience of 750 million. She gave birth to their first son, William, on June 21, 1982, and then to their second son, Harry, a couple of years after, on September 15, 1984.

Although, life for the Lady wasn’t a fairy-tale as her marriage to the Prince slowly deteriorated and eventually led to a separation in 1992, and finally, in a divorce in 1996.

Private life aside, she was greatly remembered for her association with numerous charities, and her humanitarian work – most especially, her support to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997, a few months after her death.

The circumstances which surrounded the car crash that claimed Lady Diana’s life was a subject of dispute for long time. Initial reports blamed the paparazzi, who were relentless in their pursuit of her and her companion, Dodi Fayed, but after an 18-month investigation, it was concluded that the crash was caused by their chauffeur, who was driving at high speeds while inebriated.

Around 12:23 AM, at the entrance to the Pont de I’Alma underpass, the driver, Henri Paul, lost control of the vehicle and the car swerved to the left, crossing the lane, and then colliding head-on to the pillar supporting the roof of the tunnel. After that, the vehicle spun and hit the stone wall of the tunnel, finally coming to a stop. Fayed and Paul were pronounced dead on the spot, while Diana died at the hospital at 4 AM despite medical attempts. Only Lady Diana and Fayed’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, was able to survive.

Despite the time that has passed since that fateful night, Lady Diana continues to be a beacon of charity and compassion among the people, most especially her sons, the Princes William and Harry, who set up their own independent foundation in September 2009.

All information for this article was taken from the Diana, Princess of Wales and the Death of Diana, Princess of Wales Wikipedia articles, and MSN New Zealand News.

You might also be interested in reading this article from our past Last but Not the Least series!

written by geegraphy

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