I was 17 years old that July day when the world watched Lady Diana Spencer pledge her love and loyalty to Prince Charles, and became a princess of the British monarchy. As such, she became a part of my life, albeit, from a distance. I watched as her life played-out in the countless magazines, brief television appearances, and I was always in awe of her grace , elegance and attention to fashion. She was a role model in so many ways. Whether it was as a hands-on mother, her first
shy attempts at charity work, or her later roles as an ambassador to many causes, she captivated us all.
Still, her life was not without turmoil and controversy. Even if you are a beautiful princess, it does not necessarily mean you are immune from turmoil and pain, and this is what made Diana so relatable to the masses. She went through so many of the same problems many of us did. Yes, she was known world-wide, and seemingly lived a life of envy, but she was a child of divorced parents, their were accusations of domestic violence in her childhood home, she dealt with eating disorders, emotional pain that resulted in self-harm, and a marriage with infidelity. We could certainly relate, and we did. When she separated from Prince Charles in 1993, we followed the drama as though she were our sister going through pain, and then when the marriage ended, we watched her new life emerge.
Diana wasn't perfect. She certainly didn't do everything by the book, nor did she do everything right. She was human, and she didn't hide her imperfections, but maybe that's why we loved her so, and why were shocked to hear that in the early morning hours of August 31, 1997, she died in that tunnel in Paris. We all grieved, and for that first week of September, it seemed the world stood still as we watched the events of her funeral preparation unfold. The outpouring of grieve was unprecedented, and it would ultimately change the British monarchy going forward.
Undoubtedly, Diana's short time as a princess in the Royal family altered the future of the Institution, but also that of the futures of her two sons, William and Harry. Because of Diana's presence and her soft-spoken resolve, she paved the way for both of her sons to lead lives more of their own choosing than that of tradition and obligation.
I have attached a copy of my Master's thesis of Diana, and it is an in-depth study of her early life through to her death. Although it was a research project, it was also a labor of love to an amazing woman who left a huge impact on this world during her short time here.
(To access and read the document, please right click on the above picture, then click 'open link in new window,' and it will take you to the Word document file).