In July 2020, Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, would have been 59 years old. I don’t know about you but that makes me feel old!
Like millions of others in the late 20th century, I watched Diana’s life unfold through newspapers, magazines and television.
I guess I kept these magazines as a small piece of vicarious history, a trip down memory lane. Photographs are taken from my old copies of Hello! (August 1997) The Australian Women’s Weekly (May 1998, June 2000) and Who Weekly (June 2001) in memory of the late Princess of Wales.
These days there are several ways we can view the past, or a computer-generated future. For a more mature-age Diana see link below.
The late Diana, Princess of Wales, was born The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer on Saturday, 1 July 1961, in Norfolk England. She received the title Lady Diana Spencer in 1975, when her father inherited his Earldom.
Lady Diana Spencer married Charles, The Prince of Wales, at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on Wednesday, 29 July 1981, becoming Princess of Wales. The ceremony was watched on television by millions of people around the world. As I recall her silk wedding gown looked crushed as she alighted from the royal carriage.
One warm night in April 1983 I waited beside the bitumen road as Charles and Diana left Government House, Brisbane, to travel into the city for an official function. The Rolls Royce was lit from within and I recall how Diana glowed and smiled even though the figures beyond her window would have been shadows.
During her marriage, the Princess of Wales undertook a wide range of royal duties with extensive overseas travel. Family was very important to Diana, who had two sons: Prince William and Prince Henry (Harry). After her divorce from The Prince of Wales in August 1996, the Princess continued to be regarded as a member of the Royal Family.
Post-divorce, Lady Diana filmed a controversial interview about her marriage. She died on Sunday, 31 August 1997, following a tragic car crash in Paris, believed to be caused by paparazzi chasing her vehicle through a tunnel. After purchasing the Courier-Mail newspaper, my father told me the news and I was disbelieving, shocked.
There was widespread (and world-wide) public mourning over the sudden death of Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, a hugely popular royal, culminating with her funeral at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6 September 1997. After the funeral, there was a long cavalcade by road to a small island on Althorp Estate, her family’s ancestral home in Northhampshire, England. The streets around my home were silent, everyone watching Diana’s last journey. It is hard to forget the funeral hearse driving past so many sad faces and billowing seas of flowers on route to her final destination.
This link shows a computer-aged photograph of Lady Diana and what she possibly could have looked like as a mature woman.
Even after her untimely death, the Princess’s work lives on in the form of commemorative charities and projects set up to help those in need. And also through her married sons Prince William, heir to the royal throne, Prince Harry, and in time their respective children.
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward