Princess Diana Timeline
1961 (1st July)
Princess Diana was born Diana Frances Spencer at Park House, Sandringham, Norfolk to Edward John Spencer, Viscount Althorp and his wife Frances. She was the couple’s fourth child. Her sisters Sarah and Jane had been born in 1955 and 1957 and John, born in 1960 had died a few hours after his birth. Viscount Althorp desperately wanted a son to carry on the family name.
1961 (30th August)
Diana Frances was christened at St Mary Magdalene Church Sandringham. The family lived at Park House on the Sandringham estate, which they leased from Queen Elizabeth II.
1964 (20th May)
The long-awaited son and heir, Charles Edward Maurice, was born to Viscount Althorp and his wife Frances.
A governess, Gertrude Allen, was appointed to oversee Diana’s education.
Diana attended Silfield day school in Kings Lynn, Norfolk.
The relationship between Diana’s parents had not been good and they decided to separate and divorce. Diana lived with her mother in London.
The Spencer children spent Christmas with their father. At the end of the holidays he refused to allow Diana to return to her mother in London.
Earl Spencer, won custody of Diana and her younger brother Charles after Lady Fermoy, Frances’ mother, testified against her daughter.
1969 (2nd May)
Diana’s mother Frances married Peter Shand Kydd.
Diana was sent to Riddlesworth Hall Boarding School in Norfolk.
Diana transferred to West Heath Girls’ Boarding School, Sevenoaks, Kent. She was not academic but was noted for being kind and caring. She was also good at music and dance and was disappointed that she was too tall to be a ballerina.
1975 (9th June)
Diana’s father became Earl Spencer after his father died. This meant that Diana became Lady Diana Spencer. The family moved from Park House to Althorp in Northamptonshire.
1976 (14th July)
Earl Spencer married Raine, Countess of Dartmouth, daughter of the romantic novelist, Barbara Cartland. Both Diana and her brother, Charles disliked Raine intensely.
Diana left school. She failed most of her exams.
Diana was sent to the Institut Alpin Videmanette, a finishing school in Rougemont, Switzerland. She spent one term at the school.
Having returned from Switzerland, Diana shared her mother’s London flat with two friends. She took various cleaning and babysitting jobs.
Diana’s mother bought her a flat in Earl’s Court, London, as an 18th birthday present. She shared the flat with three flatmates.
Lady Diana Spencer began working as an assistant at the Young England kindergarten in Pimlico.
Lady Diana was a guest a a country weekend where she watched Prince Charles playing polo. Charles was under pressure to find a wife and produce heirs. He decided Diana would be a suitable bride.
Prince Charles invited Diana to a weekend onboard the royal yacht Britannia.
1981 (6th February)
Charles proposed to Diana and she accepted. The engagement was initially kept secret.
1981 (24th February)
The engagement of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer was officially announced and the couple attended a photo shoot and press interview.
1981 (25th February)
Diana left her job and moved out of her flat. She took up residence at Clarence House the home of the Queen Mother
Diana made her first public appearance with Charles at a charity ball at Goldsmith’s Hall.
1981 (29th July)
Lady Diana Frances Spencer married Prince Charles at St Paul’s Cathedral. Around 600,000 people lined the streets to see the royal couple. Following her marriage, Diana was known as Princess Diana.
Charles and Diana lived at Kensington Palace London and at Highgrove House, Tetbury.
1981 (4th November)
Princess Diana attended the State Opening of Parliament for the first time.
1981 (5th November)
It was announced that Charles and Diana were expecting a baby.
1982 (21st April)
Diana was very unhappy in her marriage. She felt insecure and unloved. As a cry for help she threw herself down the stairs at Sandringham. She suffered bruises, but her unborn baby was unharmed.
1982 (21st June)
Diana and Charles left Britain for a six week tour of Australia and New Zealand. Princess Diana broke with royal protocol and took her young son with her rather than leave him behind with a nanny.
Charles and Diana made a tour of Canada.
During Diana’s second pregnancy she discovered that she was carrying another boy. She kept this from Charles who was hoping for a daughter.
1984 (15th September)
Diana became close to Barry Mannakee, one of her bodyguards.
Charles and Diana visited Italy and met the President. They also visited the Vatican where they had a private audience with Pope John Paul II
Prince Charles and Princess Diana made a visit to the United States where they were received by Ronald and Nancy Reagan at the White House.
Barry Mannakee was removed as Diana’s bodyguard for becoming too close to the Princess.
Charles and Diana made a tour of Japan, Indonesia, Spain and Canada. The royal couple had become increasingly distant from each other. Diana discovered that Charles had resumed his relationship with ex-girlfriend Camilla Parker Bowles after the birth of Prince Harry. Shortly afterwards she began a relationship with Major James Hewitt.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana made a tour of Germany and France.
Charles and Diana toured Australia.
Charles and Diana made a tour of Nigeria and Cameroon.
Charles and Diana made a formal visit to Hungary where they were received by the President.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana attended the enthronement of Emperor Akihito in Japan.
Diana’s relationship with Major James Hewitt ended.
Diana made news headlines after she hugged an AIDS patient.
1991 (23rd – 29th October)
Charles, Diana and Princes William and Harry made an official visit to Ontario, Canada.
Princess Diana made a visit to Pakistan.
Charles and Diana made a visit to Brazil.
Charles and Diana made a visit to India. By this point the couple had little to do with each other apart from on official occasions. Diana was famously photographed sitting alone in front of the Taj Mahal.
1992 (29th March)
Diana’s father, Earl Spencer, died of a heart attack.
Diana made a five day visit to Egypt.
Andrew Morton’s book ‘Diana, Her True Story’ was published. Diana, who was deeply unhappy with her situation, had secretly passed information for the book to Morton.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana met with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to discuss their marriage.
1992 (7th June)
The Sunday Times published the first part of Andrew Morton’s book ‘Diana, Her True Story’. This revealed Diana’s depression, bulimia and unhappy married life to a wide audience.
Tape recordings of conversations between Princess Diana and James Gilbey were published.
Tape recordings of conversations between Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles were published.
1992 (20th November)
Windsor Castle, one of Queen Elizabeth’s properties, was partly destroyed by a fire.
1992 (9th December)
It was announced in the House of Commons that Prince Charles and Princess Diana were to separate.
Charles admitted adultery during a TV documentary entitled Charles: The Private Man, The Public Role.
A biography of Prince Charles was published. It detailed his relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles.
Details of the affair between Diana and Captain James Hewitt emerged.
Diana made a visit to Japan.
Princess Diana visited Venice.
1995 (late Summer)
Diana began a relationship with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.
Diana made a visit to Argentina.
Princess Diana was interviewed by the BBC Panorama programme where she admitted an affair with James Hewitt from 1986 – 1991. She also spoke of Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker Bowles and stated that she would like to be seen as the ‘queen of people’s hearts’.
Queen Elizabeth II sent letters to Prince Charles and Princess Diana advising them to divorce. Negotiations for a suitable settlement began.
Princess Diana agreed to the terms of the divorce. She would receive a settlement of £17 million as well as an annual income of £400,000. She kept an apartment in Kensington Palace and custody of William and Harry would be shared.
1996 (28th August)
The marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was formally dissolved. Diana was allowed to retain the title Princess but was not allowed to use the title HRH.
Diana went to Angola where she launched her campaign against landmines.
The relationship between Diana and Hasnat Khan ended.
1997 (25th June)
Diana held an auction of 79 gowns in New York. The auction raised $4.5 million for AIDs and Cancer charities.
Diana began a relationship with Dodi Al-Fayed, son of the owner of Harrods store.
1997 (7th August)
Diana went to Bosnia to further promote her campaign against landmines.
1997 (31st August)
Princess Diana was killed when the car she was travelling in crashed into the side of the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris. It was later discovered that the driver of the car, Henri Paul, was over the legal alcohol limit.
1997 (31st August)
Diana’s death prompted a massive outpouring of grief from the general public. People flocked into the capital and seas of flowers were left outside Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace and St James Palace.
1997 (early September)
The Queen was fiercely criticised for remaining in Scotland rather than returning to London and also for not flying the flag on Buckingham Palace at half mast following the death of Lady Diana.
1997 (5th September)
Queen Elizabeth made a public broadcast commending Diana and expressing her feelings as a grandmother for her two grandsons.
1997 (6th September)
Diana was given a formal funeral with procession through the streets of London. She was buried on an island at the Althorpe family estate.
First published 2017; updated and republished Aug 26 2022 @ 12:40 pm – Updated – [last-modified]