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Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales


July 1, 1961

Diana Frances Spencer, youngest daughter of Edward John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, and Frances, Viscountess Althorp, is born on the Sandringham estate in Norfolk, England. Her father would later become the 8th Earl Spencer and inherit Althorp, the family's ancestral seat.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales


Diana's privileged childhood is marred by her parent's marital troubles. Her mother finally ran away with the heir to a wallpaper fortune. After a family tug of war, her father won custody of the kids, and later remarried. Diana and her siblings hated her step-mother, Raine.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales


Diana leaves Sevenoaks School, Kent, at age 16. Never a brainiac, she failed all of her "O-Levels," the standard British school certification tests. Except for a short stay at a Swiss finishing school, that is the end of Diana's formal education. This year, she also meets Prince Charles, then dating her older sister. She thought he was "pretty amazing," she told an interviewer years later.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales


Diana settles into a flat in London with three roommates. In the terminology of the era, she is a "Sloane Ranger," a well-born and attractive young woman enjoying life in a fashionable area of London. She works sporadically as a cocktail waitress, a house cleaner and a kindergarten aide.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales


Diana and Prince Charles begin dating. The media quickly sniff out the budding romance, and the pretty young aristocrat becomes a favorite target of photographers. Six months after their first date, Prince Charles proposes.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales


Feb. 24, 1981

Buckingham Palace announces the engagement of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer. The giant wheels of royal industry start turning: elaborate wedding plans are made, commemorative mugs and tea towels chug off assembly lines; Royal Mail stamps are issued.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales

In this photo, Princess Diana and Prince Charles wave from the Buckingham Palace balcony after their wedding on July 29, 1981, in London. AP

July 29, 1981

With a television audience of almost a billion, Diana Spencer marries Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the throne of Great Britain, at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. "Diana Mania" is in full swing. The beautiful young princess has captivated the world.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales

Princess Diana, Prince Charles and Prince William pose for a photo Dec. 22, 1982. AP Photo

June 21, 1982

Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, welcome their first child, Prince William.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales

The Prince and Princess of Wales, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, pose for a family portrait with their sons, Prince William, right, and Prince Harry, at Kensington Palace in London, on Oct. 6, 1984. Prince Harry was born on Sept. 15. Prince William was born June 21, 1982. AP Photo

Sept. 15, 1984

Prince Harry is born.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales


There were early rumors of marital discord, but the gossip floodgates now open wide. Dueling London tabloids publish increasingly bizarre and racy stories of squabbling and infidelity, backed up with quotes from anonymous friends and foes on both sides. Diana reportedly seethes with jealousy of Camilla Parker Bowles, the one-time girlfriend she suspects Charles still loves.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales

CANNES, FRANCE: Picture dated 15 May 1987 of British actor Alec Guinness and Princess Diana at a gala dinner at the 40th Cannes film festival on the French riviera. Veteran Sir Alec Guinness, whose career spanned six decades and took him from Shakespeare to Star Wars, has died aged 86, a King Edward VII hospital spokesman said 07 August 2000 in Midhurst, West Sussex. (Photo credit should read DOMINIQUE FAGET/AFP/Getty Images) DOMINIQUE FAGET


At some point, Diana finds solace from her marital woes with Capt. James Hewitt, and possibly with others. Hewitt will become Britain's most infamous "love rat," selling his story in a turgid novelesque memoir called "Princess In Love."

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales


Diana throws herself into dozens of charitable causes, but her heart is clearly captured most by children in need and the victims of AIDS/HIV. She is one of the first people to be photographed touching an HIV/AIDS patient, during a time when its sufferers are shunned. Her fans think she's an angel; foes say she's a publicity hog.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales


The plot thickens with the release of the infamous "Squidgygate" tape. This intercepted phone call features Diana complaining bitterly about her in-laws to a sympathetic James Gilbey, who calls her "Squidgy."

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales

Britain's Princess Diana (C) and Prince Charles (R) stand in silence before the monument of the Unknown Soldier at the National Cemetery 02 November, 1992. The couple went directly to the cemetery after arriving for their four-day visit. (Photo credit should read CHOO YOUN-KONG/AFP/Getty Images) CHOO YOUN-KONG


Royal Watcher Andrew Morton publishes an explosive book, "Diana: Her True Story," filled with revelations of the princess' marital misery, bouts with bulimia and even a suicide attempt. It is clear that the princess and her friends cooperated enthusiastically with the book.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales

Dec. 9, 1992

The official separation of Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, is announced by Prime Minister John Major.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales


Prince Charles suffers his own intercepted cell phone debacle when a tape surfaces of him talking dirty with on-again girlfriend Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales


Diana sits down for a startlingly frank interview televised on the BBC, hashing out the whole history of her troubles with the royal family. Charles later goes public to tell his side of the story.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales

Aug. 28, 1996

The divorce is finalized. Queen Elizabeth II issues new rules on royal titles that, in effect, strip Diana of the title "Her Royal Highness." She remains Diana, Princess of Wales. Diana also keeps her apartment in Kensington Palace, and redecorates it from top to bottom.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales

Princess Diana visits with land mine victims in Luanda, Angola, on Jan. 14, 1997. AP

Early 1997

Princess Diana's extensive travels as a Red Cross volunteer culminate in a trip to Angola, where she visits survivors of land mine incidents and tours mine clearance sites.

Diana's private life is less transparent, but not for lack of trying by the media. At some point, she begins seeing Dodi Al Fayed, the high-living son of the owner of Harrods department store.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales

PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 31: The wreckage of Princess Diana's car 31 August in the Alma tunnel of Paris. Princess Diana died a few hours after the crash at Paris hospital La pitie Salpetriere of her injuries. (Photo credit should read PIERRE BOUSSEL/AFP/Getty Images) PIERRE BOUSSEL

Aug. 31, 1997

A horrific high-speed car crash in a Paris tunnel kills Diana, Dodi al-Fayed and their driver, Henri Paul.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales

From left, Prince William, Earl Spencer, Prince Harry and Prince Charles approach the gun carriage with the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, in London on Sept. 6, 2011, during the funeral ceremony. STR/AFP/Getty Images

Sept. 6, 1997

An estimated 2.5 billion people watch the televised funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales. She is buried on an island in an ornamental lake on the grounds of Althorp Park, her family's home in the English countryside.

Timeline: The life of Diana, Princess of Wales

TO GO WITH AFP STORIES ON LADY DIANA (FILES)- This picture dated 06 March 1996 showing Lady Diana arriving in a London hospital surrounded by photographers for a charity visit. Diana, her boyfriend Dodi Fayed and his chauffeur Henri Paul were killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read GERRY PENNY/AFP/Getty Images) GERRY PENNY

After Diana

The tragic facts of Diana's death seemed plain enough at the time, but, 10 years later, investigators continued to pore over the circumstances of the Paris crash.

On March 31, 2008, a coroner discounted entirely the conspiracy theory - pursued for more than a decade by Mohamed Al Fayed - that Princess Diana was murdered in a secret service plot at the behest of Britain's royal family.

Prince Charles married Camilla Parker Bowles, now the Duchess of Cornwall, on April 9, 2005. It is not yet clear whether she will be Queen if and when he becomes King of England.

Younger son Prince Harry is a captain in the British Army Air Corps, and qualified as an Apache attack helicopter pilot in February 2012. Seen as the family bad boy, his behavior has led to numerous tabloid headlines over the years.

cbs wedding. William, Kate

Diana's son William turned 30 on July 21, 2012. A graduate of the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, he also is serving in the Royal Air Force, where he is a search-and-rescue helicopter pilot. He married longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge, on April 29, 2011.

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