Diana, from monarchy rebel to revered figure

From her engagement to Prince Charles as a teenager to her role as a caring mother and humanitarian activist, the fascination with Diana lives on 25 years after her tragic death.

Young, beautiful and funny, she seemed like a breath of fresh air when she married the heir to the British throne in 1981, aged 20, after an affair portrayed by the palace and the press as a fairy tale.

But the bitter rupture of her relationship with Carlos, of which intimate details emerged, shook the foundations of the monarchy.

The image of Diana that remains in the collective memory is that of the extraordinary 1995 interview in which she revealed her feelings about her husband’s affair with Camila Parker Bowles and her own extramarital affair.

The way in which he exposed bedroom secrets, stripping the monarchy of its mystique and casting doubt on Charles’s fitness to reign, horrified the ruling classes and those in power.

But in the eyes of many people, she became more popular and loved.

In recent years, the memory surrounding Diana has changed again, prompted by the strong defense of her children, who did not hesitate to use the alleged mistreatment of the press in their own battles against the media.

"Now she is the holy figure and they have elevated her as such, because they have repeatedly talked about how she was hounded to death by the media"explains the historian specialized in the monarchy Ed Owens.

Interest in Diana’s life regained strength after the recent film "spencer"by Chilean Pablo Larraín, and the popular Netflix series "The Crown".

"I think ‘The Crown’ will do a lot when it returns to our screens this fall to embellish this idea of ​​human tragedy, of a holy figure."Owens adds.

Thirteen dates before the wedding

Born on July 1, 1961, Diana grew up in an aristocratic family with ties to the monarchy: her father worked for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II.

He grew up with three brothers, whose childhood was marked by the breakup, also conflictive, of their parents.

He left school at 16 without a high school diploma, though he studied for a further year in Switzerland, before going to work in a London nursery.

Her life changed drastically when she became involved with Prince Charles, who at the age of 32 proposed to her, pressured to marry and ensure the continuation of the dynastic line.

Diana explained that they had only dated thirteen times before getting married, but she quickly fulfilled her mission and gave birth to a first-born son a year after their marriage, Guillermo. Two years later Enrique arrived.

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The princess turned out to be an outgoing and loving mother, far from the sobriety of her mother-in-law, she had style and was committed to defending the marginalized, breaking taboos.

His manner attracted media attention and brought a wave of popular enthusiasm for the monarchy. But under the surface of her were the first problems, the bulimia, the doubts, all made worse by the feeling that her husband did not love her and the rest of the royal family cared little.

"Fear, paranoia and isolation" 

Rumors that the marriage was in trouble surfaced in 1992, thanks to a book by Andrew Morton strategically blessed by Diana.

The year ended with the bomb announcement of the separation.

With her 1995 interview on the BBC’s Panorama program, Diana admitted her affair with officer James Hewitt, criticized the royal family and Charles’s abilities.

The BBC has since admitted the interview was obtained by deception and vowed not to re-broadcast it in its entirety, after William criticized the station’s methods for fueling the "fear, paranoia and isolation" of his mother in her later years.

At that time, the queen asked the couple to divorce.

On August 28, 1996, the divorce became official and Diana was stripped of the title of Her Royal Highness. The fairy tale was over.

"The queen of people’s hearts"

Still a princess, Diana remained in the public spotlight.

She found a new partner in Dodi Fayed, the son of billionaire businessman Mohamed Al Fayed, who died with her on August 31, 1997, when his car crashed in a Paris tunnel while trying to escape paparazzi.

The signs of pain were enormous. Millions of flowers were placed in front of his residence and more than a million people lined the streets of London for his funeral.

There was room for outrage, directed mainly against the royal family, not least Elizabeth II’s initial refusal to return to London from her Scottish castle at Balmoral, where she was on vacation. Republicanism gained ground.

A quarter of a century later, it seems that the monarchy has regained popular support. The image of Carlos has been widely rehabilitated and Isabel II granted Camila the title of queen consort.

But it will be difficult for him to enjoy the popularity of Diana, who set out, in his words, to be "the queen of people’s hearts".

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