By John Smith • 01 July 2020 • 15:25
The funeral procession
Credit: Paddy Briggs CC
IT was on July 1, 1961 that Diana Spencer was born to John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, and Frances Shand Kydd, their second child who grew up to become a Royal Princess.
She came from a noble background, but when she first appeared in the company of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne she seemed shy and nervous but the entire world fell for her and she became an icon to join others such as Grace Kelly and Jackie Onassis.
Much has been made of the fact that her marriage to Prince Charles was more a matter of convenience for him, as he needed to father an ‘heir and a spare’ and he was not able to pursue his preferred partner, who was already married.
The world was enchanted by the wedding between Charles and Diana which took place at St Paul’s Cathedral on July 29, 1981 and the people of Gibraltar were delighted when the couple flew to the Rock before spending 11-days on the Royal Yacht Britannia as it visited Tunisia, Sardinia, Greece and Egypt.
Two of the unusual episodes from the wedding itself were that firstly Diana made a mistake over her husband to be name, calling him Philip Charles and the traditional promise ‘to obey’ was left out of the ceremony.
After assuming the title of Princess of Wales, Diana became the third most important female member of the Royal Family after the Queen and Queen Mother.
With two children, William and Harry, the first British woman to marry an heir to the British throne in 300 years, ensured that the Royal line would continue and she devoted much of her time to supporting charities in Britain and around the world.
As inevitable seems to have happened with the children of Queen Elizabeth II, like Princess Anne and Prince Andrew, Charles and Diana found themselves more and more estranged and finally after separation, the couple were divorced on August 28, 1996 with both assumed to have had affairs during their married life.
Following the divorce, Diana lost the right to use the HRH title but remained Diana, Princess of Wales and became friendly with Dodi the son of Mohamed Al-Fayed and it was with him that she died in a terrible car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997.
There was almost a sense of hysteria in the UK as her body was eventually laid to rest in the family home at Althorp Park with Diana wearing a black long-sleeved dress designed by Catherine Walker, which she had bought a few weeks earlier and with a set of rosary beads that she had received from Mother Teresa who died in the same week.
Still fondly remembered, the People’s Princess was snuffed out Like a Candle in the Wind!
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Married to Ophelia in Gibraltar in 1978, John has spent much of his life travelling on security print and minting business and visited every continent except Antarctica.
Having retired several years ago, the couple moved to their house in Estepona and John became a regular news writer for the EWN Media Group taking particular interest in Finance, Gibraltar and Costa del Sol Social Scene.
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