Anwar Hussein/WireImage(LONDON) — Princess Diana captivated the world with her beauty, generosity and her status as a member of the British Royal Family.
Her marriage and eventual divorce from Prince Charles was constant tabloid fodder, yet she continued to tour the globe and contribute to causes she felt were worthy.
Saturday marks the anniversary of her death on Aug. 31, 1997. Gone for 16 years, Diana is still relevant and remembered today. Take a look back at some of the biggest moments in her life.
Chance Meeting: 1977
Diana Spencer, only 16 at the time, met Prince Charles at her home Althorp in Northamptonshire, estate to the Spencers for almost 500 years. Charles was dating Diana’s older sister Sarah, and the two wouldn’t get romantically involved for another three years.
A Whirlwind Romance: 1980
During the summer of 1980, Diana and Prince Charles were both guests at a mutual friend’s home, while he was playing polo. They begin dating shortly after he invited her to the Royal Family’s Scottish residence later that year. The paparazzi immediately took to this young aristocrat.
The Royal Wedding: 1981
The Prince of Wales proposed to Diana on Feb. 6, 1981 and their engagement was announced a few weeks later. The couple was married on July 29 at St. Paul’s Cathedral with more than 600,000 people lining the streets in London and millions watching on TV.
Heir to the Throne: 1982
On June 21, 1982, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis was born in the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London after 17 hours of labor. He is second in line to the Royal throne after Charles. Diana took William on her tours of Australia and New Zealand the very next year.
A Second Child: 1984
On Sept. 15, 1984, Prince Henry Charles Albert David, also known as Harry, was born.
Royal Duties: 1985 – 1991
Charles and Diana tour the world. Italy, Japan, Canada and the United States — to meet with Ronald Reagan — are just a few of their stops. In 1989, she visited the Kuwait Handicapped Society in the Middle East. This visit reflected her growing interest in children and their needs. She also hugged an AIDS patient in 1991, a time when most people weren’t sure if the disease could be transmitted through regular contact.
Tell-All Books: 1992 – 1994
Two unauthorized books were published that reportedly detailed the issues the Royal couple was having, including adultery. In 1992, Diana, Her True Story was released, detailing her bouts with depression and bulimia. Then in 1994, a biography, The Prince of Wales, raises allegations of Charles and his affair with Camilla.
Divorce: 1995 – 1996
During a 1995 interview with the TV show Panorama, Diana admitted to the affairs both she and Prince Charles had. Later that year, the Queen sent letters to them asking for a speedy divorce. The divorce was finalized Aug. 28, 1996, and Diana gets more than $20 million in the settlement.
Love of Her Life?: 1996 – 1997
Around this time, Diana meets heart surgeon Hasnat Khan and they date secretly. “Diana was madly in love with Hasnat Khan and wanted to marry him,” Jemima Khan, a relative of the surgeon, told Vanity Fair. Khan, who had trouble with Diana’s fame, later said that she broke things off with him in June 1997.
Death and Legacy: 1997
In the middle of 1997, Diana begins seeing Dodi Fayed. On Aug. 31, 1997, Diana and Dodi are killed in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel in Paris after being chased by photographers. Diana’s funeral in Westminster Abbey on Sept. 6 had an estimated 2.5 billion people watching in 60 countries around the world. Tributes to the Princess included commemorative stamps, the Queen herself giving a dedication.
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Source: ABC News Radio