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Brief Timeline: the Life of Diana

July 1, 1961: Diana Frances Spencer is born to Frances and Edward John (Johnnie) Spencer.  Her father would later become the 8th Earl Spencer.

Summer 1967: Diana's parents separate amid a minor scandal after 14 years of marriage.  Involved in an affair with Peter Shand-Kydd, married heir to a wallpaper fortune, Diana’s mother moves out of the family home.  Sarah, 12 and Jane, 10 are sent to boarding school.  Diana and her younger brother Charles are shuttled back and forth between home and their mother’s place in London.  The Spencers enter into an acrimonious divorce and custody battle.

       December: Their father wins custody of Diana and Charles.  Diana is enrolled in Silfield day school.

May 2, 1969: Frances Spencer marries Shand-Kydd, whom the children like.

September 1970: Diana is sent to her first boarding school, Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk.  She excels in swimming, diving, and ballet but not academics.

July 1977: Diana finishes her schooling at West Heath secondary school in Kent.

       July 14: Earl Spencer marries the bouffant-haired Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, daughter of romance novelist Barbara Cartland. Her relations with the Spencer children are strained. They dub her “Acid Raine”.

       November: Prince Charles, of Wales, who dated Sarah Spencer for several months, notices Diana at a shooting party at Althorpe, the Spencer estate in Northamptonshire, referring to her later as a "very jolly and amusing and attractive 16 year old--full of fun."

July 1980: The love affair with Prince Charles begins during a polo playing weekend when they both stay at the home of mutual friends Cmdr. Robert and Philippa de Pass.  Sharing a London flat with three other girls, Diana was working as an assistant at Young England kindergarten and as an unpaid nanny to an American couple's baby son.

February 24, 1981: The engagement is announced.  A reporter asks if they are in love--Diana: "Of course". Charles: "Whatever 'in love' means".

       July 29: The fairy-tale wedding in St. Paul's Cathedral. Some 600,000 people lined the streets of London to cheer the couple on, hundreds of millions more watch on TV.

June 21, 1982: Diana gives birth after 17 hours of labor to Prince William Arthur Philip Louis Windsor, known as Wills, who is second in line to the throne after his father.

March 1983: Charles and Diana begin a 6 week visit to Australia and New Zealand.

       June 14 – July 1: Charles and Diana make their first visit to Canada, an 18-day trip to the Atlantic region, Ottawa and Edmonton.

September 15, 1984: Birth of “the spare", Prince Henry Charles Albert David, known as Harry.

April 30 – May 7, 1986: Diana and Charles visit British Columbia for the opening of Expo 86 in Vancouver.

June 3, 1991: Prince William is accidentally struck by a golf club at school and suffers a skull fracture. Diana stays by his bedside in the hospital.  Charles leaves to fulfill a royal engagement.

       July: Diana hugs a sobbing AIDS patient at an English hospital, in one of her many displays of fearlessness and warmth that helped dispel panic about being near AIDS sufferers. 

       October 23 – 29: Charles and Diana, accompanied by their sons, visit Ontario on their 3rd and final trip to Canada together.

March 29, 1992: Diana’s father dies of a heart attack in a London hospital.

       June: Andrew Morton’s biography, Diana, Her True Story, written with her tacit approval, details her depression, bulimia, and unhappy married life.

       August: The press reports a telephone conversation between Diana and James Gilbey, who calls her “Squidgy” and tells her he loves her.

       November: On a disastrous trip to Kenya, Charles and Diana’s estrangement is obvious.  Later that same month, the press reports more taped telephone pillow talk, this time a 1989 conversation between Charles and Camilla Parker-Bowles.

       December 9: Buckingham Palace announces the separation of the Prince and Princess of Wales.

May 1994: Diana and a Finnish student save a man from drowning in a pond in London's Regent's Park.

       June: Charles confesses to adultery during Jonathan Dimbleby's TV Documentary Charles: The Private Man, The Public Role.

       November: Dimbleby’s biography, The Prince of Wales, written with Charles’ cooperation, details the affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles beginning in 1972 and says that Charles married Diana to please his father.  Another book, Princess in Love by Anna Pasternak, describes an affair between Diana and Capt. James Hewitt from 1986 – 1991.

November 1995: Diana declares on the BBC’s Panorama that she would like to be the "queen of people's hearts" and admits that she was unfaithful to her husband with Hewitt, whom she adored.

August 28, 1996: Charles and Diana are divorced. Diana gets a reported $30-million settlement, and the two partners get equal access to the children. Though still able to use the title "Princess", Diana is no longer "Her Royal Highness".

January 1997: Diana goes to Angola and launches her campaign against landmines.

       June 25: Christie's auction house in New York City sells 79 of her gowns, raising $4.5 million for AIDS and cancer research projects.

       July: Photographers catch Diana and her new boyfriend, Dodi Al Fayed, frolicking aboard his father’s yacht on the Riviera.

       August: Diana goes to Bosnia to further her campaign against landmines.

       August 31: Diana, Al Fayed, and their driver, Henri Paul die in a high-speed car crash in a Paris tunnel.

       September 4: The Queen bows to public pressure to participate in the mourning and, in an unprecedented gesture, announces the Union Jack will fly at half-mast at Buckingham Palace. 

       September 6: Hundreds of thousands of mourners line the streets of London for Diana's funeral at Westminster Abbey. The procession and ceremony are watched on television in 60 countries around the world. Her body is taken to an island on the Althorp estate for burial.

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All Information taken from: A Timeline of Diana's Life. 30 September 1997. 16 November 2003.  <>

Animation. Crown. 10 November 2003. <>.
Background.  Bleeding Heart 3f.  3 November 2003 <> .