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LIFE Princess Diana

LIFE Princess Diana

LIFE Princess Diana

Embrace the lasting legacy of Princess Diana with this keepsake Special Edition, filled with insightful writing and gorgeous photography from the LIFE archives. At her storybook royal wedding in 1981—“The Wedding of the Century”—Diana Spencer seemed the perfect match for Prince Charles, the dashing heir to the British throne. Though their story did not end happily ever after, Diana’s talent for truly connecting with people changed the monarchy forever, and her commitment to helping the underprivileged continues to inspire us today. From Prince William and Kate Middleton, to Prince Harry, and even Queen Elizabeth II, England’s royal family shows the influence of Diana’s bold and brave choices. LIFE Diana offers a touching remembrance of “The People’s Princess,” 20 years after her tragic death.

País:
United States
Idioma:
English
Editor:
Meredith Corporation
Periodicitat:
One-off
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4 min.
a slipper made of glass

The flowers were remarkable. In the hours and days after the death of the Princess of Wales, mourners from all over the United Kingdom streamed to the gates of Buckingham Palace, to St. James’s Palace, to Kensington Palace to lay bouquets in tribute to the woman known just as Diana. There were so many flowers—more than one million—that in descriptions, only metaphors from nature seemed to suffice: a sea of flowers, waves of them, a mountain. There were also poems, letters and teddy bears, and once the shock of Diana’s death subsided, it took three days for London to remove the symbols of heartbreak. Prime Minister Tony Blair, in a now famous speech in the rain outside of his church, remembered the 36-year-old princess for the nation. “People everywhere, not just…

12 min.
lovely young lady di

In her mid-teens, Lady Diana Spencer, youngest of the three daughters of Edward John “Johnnie” Spencer, Viscount Althorp and 8th Earl Spencer, and Frances Ruth Burke Roche, was enrolled, as older sisters Sarah and Jane had been before her, at West Heath, a boarding school for girls in Sevenoaks in the county of Kent. West Heath was of a breed of institution that still, as late as the 1970s, was more concerned with educating young girls of the upper classes in the social graces—preparing them for suitable marriages—than in turning out scholars. This was well understood by the Spencers and it was fine with Diana. She was in no way a memorable student, even by West Heath’s amiable standards; she would fail her O-levels twice while enrolled. In fact, though pretty,…

13 min.
the one

Diana had been born on the grounds of the queen’s immense estate at Sandringham, but when Johnnie Spencer inherited his earldom he also inherited Althorp, the Spencer family seat in Northamptonshire. So the new earl and his family relocated from Park House to this rambling centuries-old stone pile that had risen on the site of the ancient lost village of Althorp and was the centerpiece of a 14,000-acre country estate. A long-ago ancestor, Sir John Spencer of Warwickshire, had bought Althorp in the 16th century with money he had earned as a super-successful sheep farmer. The Spencers’ original red-brick Tudor home had been thoroughly redone in the 18th century by architect Henry Holland, and it was the Holland house that was handed to Johnnie in 1975. The current generation of Spencers was…

13 min.
the wedding of the century

Diana Spencer, as we have seen in her childhood pictures, was a cute, chubby-cheeked little girl. Lady Diana was a teenager who was teased by her siblings and friends for her occasional gluttony. Indeed, when the mood was upon her, she could and would pack away the foodstuffs. Still, she was always growing upwards more than outwards, and her increasing loveliness, which evolved into true, world-class beauty, eventually became apparent to all. Her sister Sarah once remarked that, within the family, there was no talk through the years that Diana was en route to becoming any kind of goddess, while admitting that she sometimes heard comments from friends that this was happening. By the time Diana was linked to Prince Charles, most observers felt that he had chosen the most beautiful…

32 min.
the people’s princess

She was, in that instant in 1981, the world’s best-known personage and arguably its most beloved (two distinctions she would successfully hold for the remainder of her days). Before she ever cradled a sick infant at a children’s hospital or comforted an AIDS sufferer at a hospice or showed herself as an exemplary mother to her boys, she was already the People’s Princess (as British Prime Minister Tony Blair would formally dub Diana in the aftermath of her death). Her grand and generously shared marriage ceremony had been a smashing success, her demeanor had been charming and mysteriously alluring, and now Diana’s public knew no global boundaries. And she was also, in that instant, thoroughly, entirely, grievously alone. Her biographers take different tacks in their narratives and they take different sides, with the…

9 min.
reaching out, racing away

In what seems an impossible calculus, Diana, no longer in line to be queen, grew even more famous. Only this particular woman could have engineered such a thing, and such a thing could only have been engineered in our modern age—a golden age of celebrity, with tabloid journalism ascendant, juiced not only by hard-charging paparazzi and hard-digging ink-stained wretches, but by an exciting new electronic element. Diana was on Page Six every morning, Inside Edition every evening and, eventually, on the nascent Internet 24/7. For Diana junkies, and they were legion, Diana was omnipresent, omnipotent and, seemingly, omni-fascinating. A most remarkable aspect of this phenomenon: She didn’t really do anything except be herself. She had no profession. She wasn’t a movie star, but was more famous than Julia Roberts. She wasn’t…