35 Royal Facts About Princess Di
Diana, Princess of Wales, world’s most famous divorcee, captured the planet’s attention when she married into the British Royal Family (or the BRF if you’re snooty). Contrary to the stuffed shirts of the BRF, “The People’s Princess” became one of the most beloved public figures ever by showing grace, charity, and humility at every possible turn. Here are 35 Royal Facts about Princess Di:
From the second she was thrust into the spotlight until her death, Princess Diana was one of the world’s most photographed women, if not THE most photographed.
Upon her death, all rights to her image and likeness were granted to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.
Upon my death, all rights to my image will be granted to the Before Photos for Weight Loss Drugs Fund.
After leaving finishing school, Diana worked part-time as a cleaning woman and babysitter and full-time as a kindergarten teacher. Imagine, turning on the TV and seeing the woman who you once paid peanuts to fish your disgusting hairs out of your disgusting drains, gearing up to marry the friggin’ Prince. Hindsight being what it is, you may have reconsidered trimming your short and curlies in the shower.
Diana was buried with a very special set of rosary beads: a gift to her from Mother Teresa who incidentally died the same week. Two women viewed as saints by the public gone the same week. Oprah’s lucky that God had a two saint quota that year…
Big Sis, Cupid
Diana was first introduced to Charles, Prince of Wales (and, let’s be fair, Prince of Horse Teeth) in November 1977 by way of her older sister, Lady Sarah.
Three years later, Charles began wooing Diana in 1980. Upon their engagement, she remarked, “I introduced them. I’m Cupid”, finally solving the mystery of the heart-tipped arrows.
Diana’s funeral was broadcast on television so that mourners around the globe could be part of this shared grief. Roughly 530 million people watched the moon landing but 3 BILLION people watched Lady Di’s funeral. That’s billions, with a B. Take that Stanley Kubrik!
Candle in the Wind
Sir Elton John rewrote his maudlin pop jam “Candle in the Wind” as a tribute to his friend Diana when she died. In spite of its close association with such a terrible tragedy and perhaps because of its association with someone more beloved than damn near anyone living or dead, it became (and still is) the 2nd best-selling single of ALL TIME.
Final Resting Place
After the funeral, Diana was buried privately on an island in the middle of Oval Lake on the grounds of the Spencer family home in Althorp Park. While she was originally meant to be interned in the Spencer family vault, her fame meant that her family wished to find a more private place.
Goodbye, English Rose
Diana’s funeral took place in Westminster Abbey on September 6th, 1997, and was viewed by many as an international day of mourning. Despite Diana formally losing her title, the Union Jack at Buckingham Palace was lowered to half-mast, respect typically reserved for royalty.
I don’t have some snarky, wise-ass joke to make. This is just a bittersweet bummer.
Di and Chuck’s split cost him a lump sum, of $22.5 million, as well as an annual income of $600,000, which is, depending on your feelings about being married to a horse throughout your 20s, not nearly enough.
The couple signed confidentiality agreements prohibiting them from discussing the details of the divorce, the settlement, or their married life, a totally normal thing and not an indicator of a million red flags.
Return to Sender
Within five years of marriage, the cracks began to show. Rumors of infidelity on both sides were rampant. Charles, equine-faced Prince, had a close relationship to Camilla Parker-Bowles, his future gelding, which ended up causing great strain on their marriage. This is one of the rare times the haters and speculators got it right.
The Queen herself was one such hater – she wrote them each a letter demanding that they divorce, thereby locking in the number 4 spot in the Worst Mother-in-Law Hall of Fame.
Diana’s marriage to Charles was extremely strained – most likely due to infidelity and Diana being a human woman, Charles being half-man, half-horse.
In August of 1996, the pair finally divorced, stripping Diana of her “royal highness” status, which meant she had to curtsy to everyone, including her own children.
Good luck getting those two ingrates to take out the trash now; your house is going to smell like coffee grinds and chicken bones until you do something about it.
When Prince William, Diana’s eldest son, was entering his teenage years, he had something of a crush on Cindy Crawford. Diana, doing what any super creepy mom would do, invited Crawford, along with fellow models Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington, to Kensington Palace.
William recounted, “I was probably a 12 or 13-year-old boy who had posters of them all on his wall, and I went bright red and didn’t know quite what to say, and sort of fumbled and I think pretty much fell down the stairs on the way out.”
Only the best moms invite guests over who are sure to stir up erections in their children.
Royalty clearly has an issue with perceived “outsiders” – Di became the first British citizen (or as they’re more commonly known, “normie”) to marry an heir to the British throne since 1659. Before you get all snippy and try to correct us with your fancy private school learning, Queen Elizabeth II’s mother was a British citizen, but when she married the future King George VI he was not heir to the British throne, so eat it, snobs!
An Older Man
At the time of her marriage, Diana was only 20 years old; Charles was 12 years her senior, a ripe-old 32, something that was a mild controversy at the time. Not to be outdone, Woody Allen, from his home in Manhattan, was recorded as saying “Hold my beer…”
Most likely in an effort to match the engagement ring, The Queen Mother gifted Lady Diana a sapphire and diamond brooch as an engagement present. She gave her son a bag of apples and new hoof balm.
In 2010, when Diana’s son Prince William (Miss William if you’re nasty) proposed to his longtime girlfriend Kate Middleton, he presented her with Diana’s sapphire engagement ring. When the initial shock of being given a hand-me-down wore off, she said yes.
Royal brides are usually given custom-made engagement rings by Garrard Jewelers, but Diana selected her less-extravagant ring from a Garrard catalog. To be clear, less-extravagant from Garrard’s is like not getting custom stitching in the seats in your fleet of Lamborghinis.
The now-iconic (and again, mind-bogglingly extravagant) ring consisted of 14 solitaire diamonds, elegantly surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire, set in 18-carat white gold.
In today’s money it would cost around £94,800, or in terms my mom can understand: roughly 12,293 bottles of Chardonnay from Costco.
Actress and space alien from the not-too-distant future, Tilda Swinton also attended school at West Heath, where she and Diana became friends.
The Royal Family frequently holidayed at the neighboring Sandringham House where, as a child, Diana played with Princes Edward and Andrew, or as they later came to be known in the underground street racing scene: Fast Eddy Hot Tub and Slim Andy Boxcutter.
Diana grew up in Park House, located on the Sandringham Estate, in a house leased from Queen Elizabeth II. Surprisingly, the Queen’s father, “Big Lou”, ensured they were born into money, thus not knowing the value of an honest-buck, leading the Queen to become a heartless slumlord, sentenced to house arrest by NYC police for not keeping her buildings up to code. Incidentally, this is also the plot to the 1991, Joe Pesci-starring film The Super.
Diana went a full week without a name until her folks settled on Diana Frances – Diana after the Duchess of Bedford (the most relaxing of all of the fords) and Frances (her mom, a woman also named Frances). We can’t help but wonder how much an ultrasound machine would have helped them plan better.
The Spencers (Di’s maiden name) are one of Britain’s preeminent aristocrat families and have been farting through silk for just shy of 550 years. As if that wouldn’t put you on the Royal Family’s radar, both of Diana’s grandmas were ladies-in-waiting (i.e. a fancy-arse personal assistant) to the Queen Mother.
A Regular Mom
Diana didn’t want her sons, William and Harry, to grow up in a bubble of royal privilege, and she worked hard to give them a broader range of experiences than was usual for royal children – almost no beheadings!
She chose their first given names, hired a nanny of her own choosing, selected their schools and clothing, and even dropped them off at school herself!
Royals: just like us!!!
Diana was notable for her work with AIDS victims at a time when public misconception and abhorrent Eddie Murphy jokes generated fear of touching AIDS patients.
Manners and common courtesies were important to Diana, even if she, hierarchically, was clearly superior to literally every other person on the planet. She was known for sending thank you notes for the smallest of kindnesses and taught her children to do the same.
In 2010, a ton of her correspondence was put up for auction (because who doesn’t love to read someone else’s handwritten thank you notes for picking up hair clips or remembering to clean the litter box) and became something of a hot ticket item.
In addition to her own notes, it also included a handwritten thank you note from a young Prince William, reportedly to their chauffeur, Davies, stating “Thank you for the James Bond video it is brilliant. Thank you. See you soon. With love from William.”
This note is further evidence that no matter your station, EVERYONE loves Bond.
Say Yes to the Dress
At her wedding, Diana wore a lavish gown designed by David & Elizabeth Emanuel. The ivory, silk taffeta, and antique lace dress was embellished with 10,000 hand-sewn pearls and included with a glorious 25-foot train—it was the longest train in royal history! Toot-Toot indeed!
My uncle Bam Bam described it: “like 30,000 of those Michael Jackson gloves! You shoulda friggin’ seen it!”
Practice Makes Perfect
Like an astronaut getting ready to be rocketed to the cosmos to walk amongst the gods, Diana spent five months getting comfortable in her space suit puffy gown. Tons of practice walking with the train was required before she made her way down the aisle. And you think you have it rough walking in stilettos! WHAM-O!
In her wedding vows, Diana accidentally reversed the order of Charles’ first two names, saying “Philip Charles Arthur George” instead of “Charles Phillip Arthur George”; pearls were clutched, gasps were gasped. Mercifully, this shocking moment provided ample cover for The Duke of Abernathy’s audible slurping at the bottom if his royal, razzberry big gulp.
In spite of her nervous mistake, Diana purposely made a change to her vows: she opted not to include the line about “obeying” Charles. This traditional vow was omitted at the couples’ request, to the shock of many. To be clear, the folks who were shocked by this also took great offence to Diana having opinions, being allowed to drive, and worse still, vote.
Kate Middleton would adopt the same change in her vows when she married Prince William almost 30 years later.
Bad Grades, Good Heart
Diana wasn’t exactly a superstar academically; she failed her O-levels (British school exams) twice – she was, however, recognized for her budding sense of community spirit and was even recognized, by West Heath, with an award to that effect.
While she struggled with her O-levels, we were told that her Awwwww-levels were off the charts when seeing videos of kittens sneezing.
Diana dreamed of becoming a ballerina. Sadly, listening to Hulk Hogan telling her to eat vitamins (Hulk Hogan LOVES vitamins), she shot up to a grotesque, deformed 5 foot, 10 inches and was deemed too tall for ballet. Regardless of the crushing defeat at the hands of her unruly limbs, she would later become an avid supporter of the English National Ballet.
In addition to her activism for HIV/AIDS, Diana supported well over 100 charities, with numerous others vying for her time and attention. These charities included Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which won her the Nobel Peace Prize after her death. Thankfully, these charities did not include: The Horse Murderers Club of England and the Take a Wish Foundation.
Line Of Succession
After saying “I Do,” Diana became the Princess of Wales, making her the third-highest female in the United Kingdom Order of Precedence (after Queen Elizabeth III and the Queen Mother). Highest male in the UK: Willie Nelson (he was on tour).
As was customary for children of the aristocracy, Diana was educated at home by a tutor until she was nine years old – this way she didn’t have to share air with commoners and eat Lunchables instead of pheasant and French peas.
After her parents’ divorce, it all went downhill, and she ended up attending Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk (an obvious dump) until she was sent to boarding school at West Heath at age 12. This is where she learned to practice magic and chase the golden snitch around on a broomstick.
The Big Day!
Diana became Princess of Wales on July 29th, 1981 when she and the Prince married in St. Paul’s Cathedral. Royals generally use Westminster Abbey to marry (this is prior to Downton Abbey being the fave of ALL of the directional abbeys), but it was deemed too small for the occasion.
Described as a fairytale wedding by those people who forget that fairytales usually end with children eaten by wolves and witches boiled alive, it was watched by an international television audience of 750 million while 600,000 people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the couple en route to the ceremony.
Also married that year, Vince Neil and longtime Motley Crue groupie Beth Lynn had their wedding attended by Tommy Lee, two guys named Razor, and, astoundingly, the cast of Dynasty.