31st August 1997. This is a day which the whole world can’t forget. It was the day when Princess Diana breathed her last after an accident in Paris.
She was born as Diana Spencer on 1st July 1961 near Sandringham, England. She was later known as Lady Diana when her father became Earl Spencer in 1975. By that time, her parents had divorced and her father took custody of the children. Despite being quiet and shy, she liked music, dancing and spending time with children. She married Prince Charles, who was more than a decade older than her, on 29th July 1981.
What started as a fairy tale became strained in the later years. There were reports of the two of them being unfaithful. She was also said to be suffering from depression. It can’t be known with certainty what were the real problems, however it can be understood that the pressures of being in a royal family can be disturbing to the individual. As with celebrities, who are constantly under pressure and scrutinised by the public and the media, while struggling in their careers, so also the same can be said for the royal family.
In the hit series, “The Crown”, which is the story of the young Queen Elizabeth II, there’s the tag line “Duty must come before desire.” This has been the rule for the royal families. It’s not only for the British, but also for the other civilisations for centuries. Many kings and queens had to put aside their own personal happiness for their people. However, in doing so, the person loses his/her individuality.
Since Elizabeth became the queen, she had no choice but Diana was a Princess. So, taking that opportunity, she fought her way out of the confines of the palace. As the modern day woman, who strives to be independent, so Diana also yearned for the same thing. Not finding the happiness and satisfaction of her married life, she divorced Prince Charles in 1996.
Even after the divorce she still took care of her two sons. She also took part in charitable organisations such as raising awareness about the dangers of leftover landmines in war-torn Angola. This only made her popularity rise above the royal family, and was therefore known as the “People’s Princess.” In her memory, the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was founded to provide resources for palliative care, penal reform, asylum and other issues. Later in 2013, it was incorporated with the Royal Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry.
She was dating Dodi Fayed, an Egyptian film producer and playboy. They were together in a car in Paris when the accident happened. Fayed and the driver died immediately. However, Diana was alive until hours later in a Paris hospital where she died. Retired firefighter Xavier Gourmelon, was the one who brought her out of the wreckage. He was recently interviewed by The Sun newspaper, when he confessed her last words were “My God, what’s happened?”
Gourmelon also confessed that he didn’t know who she was until later, and he wasn’t allowed to talk to the media about his experience until after his retirement. There are a lot of theories surrounding the cause of the accident. There was a group of paparazzi who chased after the car but charges against them were dropped. Some say that the driver was drunk while others say that it was planned by the royal family. Whatever the cause, one thing is certain that the world lost a great personality as in a poem by Erin Hanson
She was a shooting star,
Her smile so bright and rare,
That by the time that you had blinked,
There was no sign it had been there.
For more Princess Diana related news see our article keeping the memory of a loved one alive.