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13 THINGS YOU (MAYBE) DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT LADY DIANA…

1. Up until their wedding, Diana had only met Prince Charles around 13 times, mostly speaking with him on the telephone.

2. Against the wishes of the Royal Family, Diana picked the engagement ring out of a catalogue, meaning theoretically that anyone could purchase the same ring.

3. For Diana, the engagement announcement on 24th February 1981 wasn’t particularly romantic: “We had this ghastly interview the day we announced our engagement. And this ridiculous reporter said, ‘Are you in love?’ I thought, what a thick question. So, I said, ‘Yes, of course, we are,’ and Charles turned round and said, ‘Whatever love means.’” Even her memories of the engagement were anything other than happy. “I was very, very quiet. Deathly quiet. I felt as though I was a lamb going to the slaughter. And when I reached the altar, then I discovered Camilla.”

4. When in 1982 Diana was three months pregnant with Prince William, she fell down some stairs. The fetus was unharmed. Later, she claimed she did it intentionally, because she felt “so inadequate”.

5. As Diana hated excessive formality in her closest surroundings, she asked her visitors not to jump up every time she entered the room.

6. According to British author and politician Gyles Brandreth, Prince Philip sent advice to Diana and Charles over the years by letter, especially after Diana walked out of a conversation in June 1992 in which the Royal Family were discussing the couple’s marital problems. He’s supposed to have challenged the couple in these letters to see the situation from their partner’s perspective.

7. Between 1992 and 1993, Diana hired voice coach Peter Settelen to help her develop her public speaking voice.

8. Following the divorce from Prince Charles, which concluded on 28th August 1996, Diana received a settlement of £17 million (worth twice as much today) as well as a yearly allowance of £400,000. In accordance with a non-disclosure agreement, neither of the former married couple were allowed to reveal details about the divorce or their married life.

9. Prince Charles apparently prohibited Diana from using the title “Her Royal Highness” following the divorce. Prince William is said to have commented, “Don’t worry, Mummy, I will give it back to you one day when I am king.”

10. From late summer 1995 to June 1997, Diana was linked to the British-Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan, who she described as the “love of her life”. He was one of the 2000 guests, who attended the funeral in Westminster Abbey.

11. The billionaire retail entrepreneur Mohamed Al-Fayed, the father of Diana’s boyfriend Dodi, accused Prince Philip and MI6 of planning the fatal accident, because Diana was pregnant, and the couple wanted to announce their engagement. Following an investigation which concluded in 2008, the crash was found to be the result of Diana’s chauffeur’s reckless driving, as he was trying to outdrive the paparazzi.

12. Alongside her will, Diana had decreed in a handwritten letter that three quarters of her estate should go to her sons. The remaining quarter should be divided between her 17 godchildren. But because this letter didn’t comply with legal specifications, her sons only received their inheritance on their 30th birthday, while her godchildren only received an item from Diana’s estate (instead of the planned £100,000 per person).

13. In 1999, it became known that the National Security Agency, the US’s largest foreign intelligence agency, had placed Diana under surveillance up to the point of her death and had compiled secret documents that contained over 1000 pages.

SPENCER is more than the portrait of a woman in distress. If it’s a fable, it’s a political fable, an allegory of powerlessness, revolt and liberation.
THE NEW YORK TIMES