Princess Diana was often referred to as the People's Princess because of her down-to-earth personality and empathy. However, she did not develop such a reputation in her close circle.
Diana's decision to marry Charles against her mother's wish caused resentment between the princess and her mother.
Although Princess Diana was not born in a palace like the rest of the British royals, the beloved princess was well acquainted with the lifestyle of an aristocrat.
Lady Diana Spencer, later the wife of Prince Charles, on her first birthday at Park House, Sandringham. | Source: Getty Images
She was born in 1961, near Sandringham, England, to Edward John Spencer and Frances Ruth Burke Roche: Viscount and Viscountess Althorp.
Diana was the third of four children. She had two older sisters, Lady Jane Fellowes and Lady Sarah McCorquodale, and a younger brother, Charles Spencer—she also became a Lady after her father inherited the Earl Spencer title in 1975.
Princess Diana is wearing the Spencer family tiara and a dress by Bruce Oldfield on 30th March 1983 | Source: Getty Images
Her family was close to Queen Elizabeth II. They even rented the Park House, a property belonging to the monarch. Diana was friends with Prince Andrew and Prince Edward, while one of her sisters dated Prince Charles.
Diana moved from her hometown to London to pursue her dream job—to work with children after completing her education in Switzerland.
DIANA'S EARLY YEARS
Diana Princess in November, 1988 at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France | Source: Getty Images
Diana's pleasant childhood memories of having her parents together were cut short when she was six years old as her parents divorced.
Her revelations in Andrew Morton's "Diana: Her True Story" confirmed that Frances was never happy in the marriage. She also mentioned that the Earl struck her mother.
Diana maintained that her parents had lost a son before her, and it strained their marriage to have a third girl child, as they had hoped for an heir to carry on the family's name.
Parents of Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales. Viscount Althorp son of the Earl and Countess Spencer with his fiancee, eighteen year old Hon Frances Roche, daughter of Lord and Lady Fermoy. | Source: Getty Images
Even when they had a boy, their marriage was beyond repair, and Diana recalled her parents arguing a lot. This dissatisfaction must have fueled her mother's passion for being with another man.
After she visited London in 1966, Frances fell in love with a man named Peter Shand Kydd, whom she met there. What followed was a romance. Once it came to light, the Earl agreed to a trial separation and a divorce. He got custody of the kids.
Little Lady Diana. | Source: Getty Images
Diana was upset about the change. She termed it "the biggest disruption" as it greatly affected her childhood, including her relationships with her siblings. According to her:
"The biggest disruption was when Mummy decided to leg it. That's the vivid memory we have… people took sides. Various people didn't speak to each other. For my brother and I, it was a very wish-washy and painful experience."
HOW FRANCES FELT ABOUT LOSING HER KIDS
Princess Diana at a welcome ceremony on 31st March 1983 | Source: Getty Images
Unfortunately for the mother-of-four, she faced criticism from society. At the time, divorce in the aristocratic circle was rare.
Many faulted her decision to find love at the expense of her kids. Even though she struggled to gain custody of her two youngest kids, Frances lost and was labeled an "unfit mother."
1953, Althorp, Northamptonshire, England, Pictured at the engagement party of Earl Spencer and Hon, Frances Burke Roche at Althorp are the engaged couple and Mr, C,E, Berry of Brampton Ash. | Source: Getty Images
Although Frances had all the love she wanted from a man, her partner, Kydd, she still missed what she left behind—her kids.
Despite leaving her ex-husband and all the unpleasantness behind, including the slander from the public, Frances often cried whenever her children visited because she did not want them to leave.
THE EFFECT OF THE DIVORCE ON THE KIDS
Diana, Princess Of Wales, Leaving The British Lung Foundation In Hatton Garden After Being Presented With A Bouquet Of The First Rose Named After Her. | Source: Getty images
Altogether, Diana described her childhood as unhappy. She explained that following the divorce, her mother always had teary eyes, and her father barely spoke about the instability and change in the home.
The effect of the divorce on their two youngest kids was also devastating. Diana was conscious of not taking sides, she did not want to show favoritism, but it was nearly impossible and traumatizing.
The kids shuffled between houses, and while both parents tried to show them as much love as possible, it was not the same as being in one household.
Lady Diana Spencer, later the wife of Prince Charles, during a summer holiday in Itchenor, West Sussex. | Source: Getty Images
Diana and her brother, Charles, hated every moment that they had to choose and could not wait to become independent to share their thoughts without influence.
In school, they also suffered the effect of their parents' separation. They stuck out like a sore thumb as most students were not familiar with the peculiarities of a broken home.
However, when they were wrapping up their studies at preparatory school, many of their peers suffered the same fate.
Diana, Princess Of Wales (R) and youngest son HRH Prince Harry (C) are seen in St Tropez in the summer of 1997, shortly before Diana and boyfriend Dodi were killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997. | Source: Getty Images
Apart from the impact of the divorce, Diana had a unique mindset. She was never an excellent student but loved dancing, swimming, and spending time with older people.
Diana made lots of female friends and never had boyfriends because she felt a need to keep herself tidy for whatever was coming her way. But that did not stop her from crushing on boys. She had serious crushes on many boys, including her older sister's boyfriends.
DIANA CROSSED PATHS WITH CHARLES
Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales on board the Royal Yacht Britannia in Gibraltar, at the start of their honeymoon cruise, August 1981. | Source: Getty Images
In I977, Charles, 29, who was dating Sarah, Diana's sister, was visiting their home in Northamptonshire, England, when he and Diana met.
The 29-year-old was smitten by a 16-year-old Diana, whom he later described as "great fun and bouncy and full of life." But on the other hand, the teenager was amazed at the attention she received from the royal.
Diana saw Charles again three years later when she visited a mutual friend, Philip de Pass, at his family home in Sussex for the weekend.
Prince Charles and Lady Sarah Spencer, the elder sister of Diana, whom he later married, watch a polo match at Windsor. | Source: Getty Images
From that moment, Diana and the Prince of Wales became close as he talked about his assassinated uncle, Lord Mountbatten. Charles proposed the following year, and the couple became husband and wife.
Diana's Lady title changed, and the princess became a resident of Clarence House. While the public was in a frenzy, writing about the Prince's love story, Diana's mother thought their union was a terrible idea.
Frances expressed her concerns about the relationship adding that the marriage was not a good match after comparing the parallels between the young couple and her marriage.
DIANA BECOMES A BRIDE
Diana Spencer at the Young England Kindergarten in September 1980 shortly before her engagement to Prince Charles, Prince of Wales was announced. | Source: Getty Images
Initially, Diana felt pleased with the relationship. Still, before their July wedding, she nearly called it off, claiming that her husband-to-be had a relatively close connection with Camilla Parker Bowles (he later had an affair with her).
Unfortunately, she did not have the backup she needed. Her sisters explained that it was too late for such a decision, leading Diana to continue in what felt like a loveless marriage from the start.
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing a wedding dress designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel and the Spencer family Tiara, ride in an open carriage, from St. Paul's Cathedral to Buckingham Palace, following their wedding on July 29, 1981 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
The couple shared their vows in Westminster Abbey with about 750 million people. However, Diana was upset with her mother after the wedding because of her tantrums. According to the Princess:
"My mother let me down terribly with the wedding. She kept crying and being all valiant and saying she couldn't cope with the pressure."
Diana was devastated by such behavior, especially since her mother purposely made her "mad" during her engagement. So she decided to stop speaking to Frances for about four years.
DIANA BEING THE BEST PARENT SHE COULD BE
Diana, Princess of Wales with her mother Frances Shand Kydd at the wedding of Diana's brother Viscount Althorp to Victoria Lockwood at St Mary's Church in Great Brington, Northamptonshire, 16th September 1989. | Source: Getty Images
Despite the past trauma of a broken home and a strained relationship with her mother, Diana was determined to give her kids the best version of motherhood.
Once she had kids—two sons, William and Harry, Diana was consumed with giving them a sense of normalcy, even if it meant breaking palace protocol.
The mother-of-two would take them on tours to be close to them. She enrolled her boys in public schools, which was unusual. They were to receive education at home due to their status.
Princess Diana with her sons Prince William (left) and Prince Harry on a skiing holiday in Lech, Austria, 30th March 1993. | Source: Getty Images
Her kids have testified to how compassionate their mother was. William claimed that she understood life outside the palace, and Harry maintained that she was a funny woman.
However, Diana was not equipped for an ideal marriage to a royal. A close friend revealed that her parents' divorce played a significant role in her marriage, and it influenced her decisions.
In 1996, the Royal couple finalized their divorce after years of infidelity and admission from both camps. Diana received a chunky sum of $22.5 million in cash and $600,000 for the year to keep her private office.
DIANA AND FRANCES HAD BAD BLOOD BEFORE HER DEATH
The Prince And Princess Of Wales During A Visit To Ottawa In Canada. | Source: Getty Images
Diana's death from a fatal accident in 1997 shocked the world. Sadly, her mother was deeply hurt because she was yet to heal the rift between them.
Frances had not been on talking terms with her daughter four months before the accident. However, she denied that their relationship was strained because she disapproved of Diana's friends.
Frances Shand Kydd, the mother of the late Diana, Princess of Wales arrives at the Central Criminal Court, Old Bailey October 24, 2002 in London. Kydd died June 3, 2004 aged 68 in hospital after a long illness. | Source: Getty Images
When she lost her daughter, Frances was a second-time divorcee and a Catholic. She immersed herself in charity, upholding the values her daughter stood for.
Frances also became interested in supporting women whose children died tragically. However, she refused to comment on criticism about her being a hypocrite by not loving Diana until after the tragedy.