Diana Frances Spencer was born on July 1, 1961, in Sandringham, Norfolk into a family of British nobility with royal ancestry.
She was educated in England and Switzerland, and became Lady Diana Spencer at the age of 14 after her father inherited the title Earl Spencer.
In 1981, Diana’s life changed forever when her engagement to 33-year-old Prince Charles was announced to the world.
At just 19, Diana became a household name as the bashful princess began to steal the nation’s heart.
Diana and Charles married at St Paul’s Cathedral in London on July 29, 1981, watched around the globe by a staggering 750 million people.
Diana’s official titles during marriage were Diana, Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, and Countess of Chester.
The couple had two boys: William on June 21, 1982, and Harry on September 15, 1984.
The boys, second and third line to the throne after their father, became the light of Diana’s life.
Princess Diana remembered: Diana died in a horror car crash in Paris 21 years ago today
As Princess of Wales, Diana became increasingly involved in charity work and was widely praised for her warmth and kindness, earning her the nickname ‘The People’s Princess’.
She was credited with playing a major role in stigma-busting around HIV/AIDS, as well as mental illness and cancer.
Diana once told the BBC: “Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society.
“It is a goal and an essential part of my life, a kind of destiny.”
Princess Diana remembered: Diana and Charles married at St Paul’s Cathedral in London in 1981
One particularly iconic photograph which demonstrated her dedication shows the Princess in protective body armour visions a landmine minefield being cleared in Angola.
But despite her passion work and love for her children, Diana had problems in her personal life.
She admitted to struggling with eating disorders, and was under an immense amount of media scrutiny.
On August 28, 1996, Charles and Diana’s marriage ended in divorce, following well-publicised extramarital affairs.
Princess Diana remembered: Diana widely praised for her warmth and kindness
Princess Diana remembered: Diana helped bust the AIDS stigma by shaking sufferers hands
Diana remained a constant source of tabloid fodder after the divorce, as she embarked on her life as a single mother.
Still living in an apartment in the grounds of Kensington Palace, Diana embarked on a romance with British-Pakistani heart surgeon Hasnat Khan.
Many of Diana’s closest friends have called Hasnat “the love of her life,” but the relationship ended after two years.
She began dating Egyptian billionaire Dodi Fayed, spending time on his multimillion-pound luxury yacht.
Princess Diana remembered: This particularly iconic photograph demonstrated her dedication
On August 31, 1997, Diana was in Paris with Dodi. They were in a car being hounded by paparazzi as they sped into the Pont de l’Alma tunnel.
Diana, Dodi, and their driver were killed when the car crashed. Her bodyguard was the only survivor.
After her death, the public outpouring of grief was immense.
Her funeral, on September 6, was watched by 32.1 million people in Britain alone, and millions more worldwide.
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And though she may be gone, the legacy of Princess Diana lives on: nowhere more so than through her sons, William and Harry, just 15 and 12 when they lost their mother.
Both the Princes are deeply involved in charity work supporting mental health and HIV/AIDS sufferers.
In an ITV interview last year, marking the 20th anniversary of her untimely death, her loving sons spoke of her with great fondness.
They recalled her wicked sense of humour, particularly over her outfit choices for her children.
Prince Harry said: “I would love to ask her now because I genuinely think she got satisfaction out of dressing myself and William up in the most bizarre outfits.
Princess Diana remembered: Her sons remember her wicked sense of humour
“Normally matching – it was weird shorts – shiny shoes with a clip on. The photos just make me laugh and I think ‘how could you do that to us?’.”
Harry also remembers Diana as “one of the naughtiest parents”.
He said: ”She was fun through and through. One of her mottos to me was, ‘You can be as naughty as you want, just don’t get caught.’
“She would come and watch us play football and, you know, smuggle sweets into our socks.”
Before Harry married Meghan Markle, the couple said in an interview they knew Diana “is with us.”