PRINCESS Diana is most famous for the whirlwind royal life that she led after meeting Prince Charles.
But what was she like before her high-profile marriage and what kind of childhood did she have?
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When was Princess Diana born and where did she grow up?
Diana was born on July, 1, 1961, to Edward John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer, and Frances Shand Kydd – who later divorced in 1969.
This means Diana would have celebrated her 60th birthday on July 1, 2021.
Diana hailed from the county of Norfolk as she was born at Park House, in Sandringham.
The fourth of five children, her family has been closely allied with the British monarchy for generations.
Her education therefore conditioned her to respond to the royal etiquette accordingly.
She grew up at Althorp House in Northamptonshire until she married Prince Charles in 1981 (they even met at Althorp House).
What was Princess Diana like as a young child?
Diana had an aristocratic upbringing, and according to her former nanny Mary Clarke, she was a “happy” and “helpful” child.
Mary wrote: “Diana had a happy secure childhood.
“From the moment I met her and worked with the family, I saw she was helpful, laughing, exuberant, loved by both her parents, and the apple of her father’s eye.”
However, her brother Charles – the current Earl Spencer – said that Diana’s childhood was actually less happy than Mary portrayed.
In a 2020 interview in The Sunday Times, Charles said that Diana felt abandoned when her mum left their dad for wallpaper tycoon Peter Shand Kydd, and felt torn with the custody battle that followed.
He said: “While she [Frances] was packing her stuff to leave, she promised Diana she’d come back to see her. Diana used to wait on the doorstep for her, but she never came.”
The late princess told royal biographer Andrew Morton her mother Frances was “always crying” because of vicious rows with John, the former Earl of Spencer.
The couple split when Diana was seven.
How did Princess Diana get on at school?
Diana did not perform well academically and failed her O-levels twice.
However, she showed musical talent as a pianist, studied ballet and tap dance and was a skilled diver.
Diana was remembered by her Silfield Private School headmistress, Jean Lowe, for her kindness to younger children, animals and helpfulness, but not for academics.
She also attended West Heath Girls’ School in Kent and all-girls boarding school Riddlesworth Hall School near Thetford.
What jobs did Princess Diana do as a young woman?
She may later have lived in a palace and worn diamonds at balls, but Diana started off as a cleaner for just £1 an hour before she married Prince Charles.
In his book Diana: In Her Own Words, Royal biographer Andrew Morton reveals the late princess regularly did the washing up, hoovering, dusting, ironing and washing at her sister Sarah Spencer’s flat.
Sarah, who dated Prince Charles before he began a relationship with Diana, bestowed the occupation on her younger sibling to tie up “loose ends” in her working week.
The flat was situated in Elm Park Lane, Chelsea, and Sarah shared it with her pal Lucinda Craig Harvey – who felt awkward about Diana cleaning up after them.
As well as tending to her sister’s flat, Diana was also spending several days at the Young England kindergarten in Pimlico, where she taught the children to paint, draw and dance.
Victoria Wilson and Kay Seth-Smith, who ran the nursery school, were “impressed by her rapport” with the kids.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Diana looked after Patrick Robinson, the son of an American oil executive, a job which she “adored” according to Morton.
How old was Princess Diana when she married Prince Charles?
When a young Lady Diana Spencer wed the future King of England, Prince Charles, it was deemed a fairy tale come to life.
We all know that the marriage didn’t last, but before that, the couple had the most spectacular wedding which was watched by millions of people all around the world.
However, Charles and Diana met years before when she was 16 in November 1977 when he was 29 and dating her sister Sarah.
Following a whirlwind romance, the pair married when Lady Di was just 20 and he was 32.
The wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer took place on Wednesday, July 29, 1981 at St Paul’s Cathedral.
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