Diana, Princess of Wales

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Diana, Princess of Wales, (nee The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer, 1961–1997), was the former wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the mother of Princes William and Harry. The late princess was well-known as a supporter of various charities and causes, as well as for her controversial private life and the circumstances surrounding her death in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

Early life

The Honorable Diana Frances Spencer was born to John Spencer, Viscount Althorp (later the 8th Earl Spencer) and his wife Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp (formerly the Honourable Frances Burke Roche, and later Frances Shand Kydd). She was their third daughter, and there was disappointment that she was not a boy. (The Spencers did later have a son, Diana's younger brother, now the 9th Earl Spencer). The Spencers' marriage was not happy, and they were divorced when Diana was eight. Though she initially went to live with her mother in London, her father won a bitter custody battle, during which Frances' own mother, Lady Fermoy, testified that she felt her daughter was an unfit mother.

Both Diana's parents eventually remarried, but she did not get on well with either stepparent.

Marriage to Charles, Prince of Wales

Diana had been known to Charles, Prince of Wales for some time. He is reported to have first considered her as a potential bride in 1980, when they were both guests at a country house weekend. Diana became instantly popular following the announcement of her engagement to the Prince of Wales, and their wedding was watch by a worldwide audience of 750 million. Her devotion to her two sons increased her popularity, as did her charity work. Although all the British Royal family have charitable patronages, Diana's high-profile coupled with her keen interest in her charities gave them unprecedented visibility.