Princess Diana has continued to remain a beloved figure 20 years after her demise. She was a revered public figure and had an amazing ability to connect with people of all statuses.
She used her fame to raise awareness on several issues, from discrimination to domestic violence, mental health issues, and more.
In 1987 she made headlines when she exchanged a handshake with an AIDS patient to dispel the belief that the disease could be spread through touch.
Following her tragic death on August 31, 1997, many tributes celebrated her life and legacy. People saw her life as one that valued human life over prestige and being genuine over protocol.
Diana’s ability to connect to people wasn’t born with her. According to her, a tragic event that she witnessed during her childhood is responsible for it.
Princess Diana’s Difficult Background
Princess Diana’s marriage to Prince Charles didn’t introduce her to nobility. She was born into it as the daughter of John Spencer, the 8th Earl Spencer, and his wife, Frances Roche. She grew up in the Sandringham estate, close to the royal family.
With the privilege and esteem that surrounded Diana’s childhood, was it joyful? It seemed so when one of her nannies said, “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, Diana’s brother disagrees with this happy picture that was painted for the public. Her family unit ruptured in 1969 when her parents divorced. Her mother allegedly left her father for an Australian wallpaper tycoon named Peter Shand Kydd.
The ensuing battle for custody in the courtroom led to what Earl Spencer termed an “unhappy childhood.” The custody battle ended with the children living with their father permanently.
According to Spencer, Diana felt like their mother abandoned them. “While she 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,” Charles told The Sunday Times.
The Effect Of Her Parents’ Divorce On Her Childhood
In Sarah Bradford’s book “Diana,” the children were not aware of how messy the battle was over the custody arrangements and the divorce terms.
Bradford wrote, “the Althorp divorce caused an upheaval in Norfolk society… Torn between love for her devastated father and her absent mother, Diana suffered what would turn out to be a deep and psychological crippling wound.”
According to Charles, Diana took the role of a mother after the divorce. She “was the big sister who mothered me as a baby… and endured those long train journeys between our parents’ homes with me at weekends,” he said.
Diana’s friend and journalist Richard Kay said that she believes that the late princess’ parents’ divorce ‘hung like a cloud over her life and influenced many decisions in her life.’
The Event That Taught Diana How To Relate With People
Being aloof and closed off is a trait of most royals. However, Diana proved that this wasn’t in-built with her zeal to help everyone.
She did things like eating food with her staff members, hugging the public, and going out of her way to put people at ease. All things that most royals do not necessarily do.
Her parents’ divorce helped her sympathize and help people facing the same family problems.
In her biography titled “Diana: Her True Story In Her Own Words,” authored by Andrew Morton, she said, “The divorce helped me to relate to anyone else who is upset in their family life, whether it be stepfather syndrome or mother or whatever, I understand it, been there, done it.”
Prince William & Prince Harry Were Raised To Be Kind To Others
Diana also shared that as a child, her father taught her never to look down on anyone.
“I always got on well with everybody,” she said. “Whether it be the gardener, or the local police or whoever, I went over to talk to them. My father always said: ‘Treat everybody as an individual and never throw your weight around.'”
She made sure to teach this to her children. She tried to show them how different people lived instead of raising them in a bubble of royalty and privilege.
The former princess visited hospitals and charities and ensured they stood in line in amusement parks and fast foods. Unlike royals of the past, William and Harry went to school like normal children and were not tutored by governesses.
Diana succeeded in raising her children in her unconventional parenting manner, and this shows in how her sons, William and Henry, are raising their children.