Princess Diana was born into a noble family, to wealthy parents, but it was marrying Prince Charles that made her royalty and changed her life forever.
She may have become one of the most famous women in the world after marrying Prince Charles (in that iconic Diana wedding dress), but prior to their meeting, the world didn’t know much about Lady Diana Spencer…
When was Princess Diana born?
Princess Diana, formerly The Honourable Diana Frances Spencer, was born on 1 July 1961. Her first home was Park House near Sandringham in Norfolk – the home that her parents rented on Queen Elizabeth II’s estate.
The childhood home of Princess Diana has now a country house hotel in Norfolk. It was converted into a hotel in the 1980s after The Queen gifted the property on her Sandringham estate to charity.
As explained on the hotel’s website: “In 1983 Her Majesty The Queen offered it to Leonard Cheshire Disability as a hotel for disabled people. Specifically designed and equipped to meet their needs, Park House Hotel now enables disabled guests and their companions to enjoy a relaxing and revitalising holiday together.”
Who were Princess Diana’s parents?
Princess Diana’s parents were Edward John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, heir to the 7th Earl Spencer and his first wife Frances Ruth Burke Roche. Diana was their third child and youngest daughter.
After being born without a title, Diana became Lady Diana Spencer in 1975, when her father inherited his Earldom.
From an early age Princess Diana mixed in royal circles and was thought to be playmates with the Queen’s youngest sons, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
Her parents’ marriage ended in divorce when Diana was young. Following Diana’s parent’s divorce, she along with her three siblings remained with their father.
Was Princess Diana born into a royal family?
Princess Diana was known as a ‘commoner’ when she married the Prince of Wales in 1981, meaning she was not a ‘peer of the realm’ (aka a Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount or Baron).
However, as Diana had been born into a noble family she wasn’t technically common. The Duchess of Cambridge, formerly Kate Middleton, was also technically a ‘commoner’ before she married Diana’s son, Prince William.
When Diana was born her father was a Viscount, but when her grandfather died in April 1975, her father became the eighth Earl Spencer.
Her family had grown wealthy thanks to their sheep farming and wool trading. And, among Diana’s ancestors were Privy Councillors, Knights of the Garter and First Lord of the Admiralty.
Where are Princess Diana’s parents now?
Following their divorce, Diana’s parents famously stayed out of the limelight, even after her wedding to Prince Charles.
Diana’s mother remarried Peter Ahand Kydd in 1969 but their marriage ended in divorce in 1990. She sadly passed away on 3 June 2004 following a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease and brain cancer.
Diana’s father got custody of the children following their separation in 1969 and married Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, in 1976. He died of a heart attack on 29 March 1992 – just five years before Diana’s death.
Diana was originally to be buried alongside her father in the family vault at their local church. However, for security reasons her final resting place was changed to a small island at Althorp Park – the Spencer Family estate. The public can visit her memorial temple in Northamptonshire, which bears a number of Princess Diana quotes.
Did Princess Diana have any siblings?
Diana had four siblings – two sisters and two brothers. One of her brothers, John Spencer, died just 10 hours after birth.
Princess Diana’s eldest sister, Elizabeth Sarah Lavinia Spencer, was born in 1955. She briefly dated Prince Charles before introducing him to Diana. She later married Neil Edmung McCorquodale and is known as Lady Sarah McCorquodale.
Diana’s other sister, Cynthia Jane Spencer, was born in 1957 and is now 63. She married Robert Fellowes in 1978 and is a mother of three.
Princess Diana’s brother, Charles Edward Maurice Spencer, was born in 1964. He is an author and the 9th Earl Spencer. He has close connections to the royal family too, as not only was his sister married to Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II is his godmother.