August 31, 2012, marks the 15th anniversary of the tragic death of one of the world’s most beautiful and admired women. On this day in 1997, Diana, the Princess of Wales, died in a horrific car crash moments after leaving the Ritz Hotel in Paris.
Lady Diana Frances Spencer was born on July 1, 1961. “Shy Di” went on to marry Prince Charles on July 29, 1981. Millions around the world watched the lavish, fairy-tale wedding as it happened on television on July 29, 1981. The couple would share two children before the marriage began to unravel. In 1992, it was officially announced the couple would separate and in 1996, the couple divorced. Although she officially resigned from her duties in 1993, her charitable work and life in the public eye continued.
The Death of a Princess
Chased by paparazzi after leaving the hotel, the driver of the Mercedes car, Henri Paul, crashed in a Paris tunnel. Paul, along with Diana’s boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, were pronounced dead on the scene. Diana’s bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, survived. Diana and Dodi were not wearing seat-belts.
While Diana initially survived the crash, she died hours later in a hospital from injuries sustained in the accident. Despite several controversies surrounding the accident, it was eventually determined that Henri Paul’s high rate of speed and the driver’s level of intoxication were the cause of the crash. The “People’s Princess” was only 36 years old.
The World Mourns
More than 1 million people lined the funeral route as young William and Harry walked behind their mother’s coffin on September 6, 1997. It is estimated that over 2 billion people watched the funeral on television.
Diana’s final resting place is the magnificent Althorp estate, the Spencer family home for 20 generations. Visitors can view the award-winning exhibition which showcases the life and work of Princess Diana.
But besides being one of the most beautiful and photographed women in the world, she was also known for her warmth, compassion and humanitarian work. Her legacy continues to this day. Diana not only lives on in her children, but in the hearts of all who knew and admired her. After all, she was affectionately called the “Queen of Hearts.”