Diana, princess of Wales (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Through her strong devotion to humanitarian causes, ranging from abolition of land mines to compassionate concern for the terminally ill, Diana revolutionized and uplifted the public image of British royalty in the 1990’s.
Diana Frances Spencer was the youngest daughter of Viscount and Viscountess Althorp, now the late Earl Spencer and Mrs. Shand-Kydd. One sister, Jane, married Robert Fellowes, later private secretary to Queen Elizabeth. The other, Sarah, was one of Prince Charles’s girlfriends before marrying Neil McCorquodale, a former army officer. Diana was especially close to her younger brother Charles, the present Earl Spencer, who fondly remembers her taking an almost maternal interest in him on his first day at school. Diana’s early childhood years also provided her with the nickname “Duchess” (or “Dutch”) by which close friends always knew her. Typical of the ironies that pervaded her life, it had no connection with royalty, being instead the name of the leading feline in Walt Disney’s animated film The Aristocats (1970). It was, however, typical of Diana’s childhood environment, emphasizing closeness with friends and animals. Although she grew up in a family with close ties to the monarchy (her birth home was on the Queen’s estate near Sandringham), she never developed a taste for country sports, especially fox hunting, which was later to prove a major...
(The entire section is 2141 words.)
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