Princess Diana’s 13th death anniversary today

August 31, 2010

Princess Diana’s 13th death anniversary today

By Zafar Iqbal KARACHI: Today marks the 13th death anniversary of Diana, Princess of Wales Wales (Diana Frances; née Spencer; 1 July 1961 – 31 August 1997) was a popular international media icon of the late 20th century as the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981. On 31 August 1997, Diana died in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris The wedding, which was held at St. Paul's Cathedral, was televised and watched by a global audience of over 750 million people. The marriage produced two sons, Princes William and Diana, Princess of Harry, currently second and third in line to the thrones of the 16 Commonwealth realms. A public figure from the announcement of her engagement to Prince Charles, Diana was born into an old, aristocratic English family with royal connections, and remained the focus of worldwide media scrutiny before, during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996. This continued in the years following her death in a car crash in Paris along with her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul on 31 August 1997, and in the subsequent display of public mourning a week later. Contemporary responses to Diana's life and legacy are mixed but popular interest in the Princess endures. Diana also received recognition for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. From 1989, she was the president of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for ChildrenPrince. Prince Charles had known Diana for several years, but he first took a serious interest in her as a potential bride during the summer of 1980, when they were guests at a country weekend, where she watched him play polo. The relationship developed as he invited her for a sailing weekend to Cowes aboard the royal yacht Britannia, followed by an invitation to Balmoral (the Royal Family's Scottish residence) to meet his family. There, Diana was well received by Queen Elizabeth II, by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and by the Queen Mother. The couple subsequently courted in London. The Prince proposed on 6 February 1981, and Diana accepted, but their engagement was kept secret for the next few weeks. Their engagement became official on 24 February 1981, after Diana selected a large £30,000 ring consisting of 14 diamonds surrounding a sapphire, similar to her mother's engagement ring. 20-year-old Diana became The Princess of Wales when she married Charles on 29 July 1981 at St Paul's Cathedral, which offered more seating than Westminster Abbey, generally used for royal nuptials. On 5 November 1981, Diana's first pregnancy was officially announced, and she frankly discussed her pregnancy with members of the press corps. In the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington on 21 June 1982, Diana gave birth to her and Prince Charles's first son and heir, William. A second son, Henry, was born about two years after William on 15 September 1984. Diana asserted that she and Prince Charles were closest during her pregnancy with “Harry”, as the younger prince became known. She was aware their second child was a boy, but did not share the knowledge with anyone else, including Prince Charles. She was universally regarded as a devoted and demonstrative mother. However, she rarely deferred to Prince Charles or to the Royal Family, and was often intransigent when it came to the children. Though in 1983 she confided in Premier of Newfoundland Brian Peckford: “I am finding it very difficult to cope with the pressures of being Princess of Wales, but I am learning to cope,” from the mid-1980s, the Princess of Wales became increasingly associated with numerous charities. As Princess of Wales she was expected to visit hospitals, schools, etc., in the 20th-century model of royal patronage. Diana developed an intense interest in serious illnesses and health-related matters outside the purview of traditional royal involvement, including AIDS and leprosy. In addition, the Princess was the patroness of charities and organisations working with the homeless, youth, drug addicts and the elderly. From 1989, she was President of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. During her final year, Diana lent highly visible support to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a campaign that went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 after her death. During the early 1990s, the marriage of Diana and Charles fell apart, an event at first suppressed, then sensationalised, by the world media. Both the Prince and Princess of Wales allegedly spoke to the press through friends, each blaming the other for the marriage's demise. On 20 December 1995, Buckingham Palace publicly announced the Queen had sent letters to Charles and Diana advising them to divorce. The divorce was finalised on 28 August 1996. After the divorce, Diana retained her double apartment on the north side of Kensington Palace, which she had shared with Prince Charles since the first year of their marriage, and it remained her home until her death. On 31 August 1997, Diana died in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris along with her then boyfriend, Dodi Al-Fayed and the acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris, Henri Paul, who was their chauffeur. Millions of people watched the princess' funeral. SAMAA