Princess Diana wasn’t known as “The People’s Princess” because it was a nice nickname for her to have.
No, through her charitable work and warmth, she became an important person for the British people to lean on and be inspired by in tough times. As she famously once said, she didn’t wish to be the Queen on paper, but rather the Queen in people’s hearts.
The tragic accident in Paris that caused her death is one of the most shocking events in modern British history. Yet still to this day, Princess Diana’s legacy lives on, not only through her sons William and Harry but most importantly, in people’s hearts.
We’ve seen plenty of amazing photos of Diana over the years – but there are other pictures that haven’t been nearly so widely circulated.
That doesn’t make them any less amazing, though …
Princess Diana died far too young, and her life was complicated by all manner of trials and tribulations. Sadly, she was followed around everywhere she went and endured a troubled private life once she joined the royal family.
Princess Diana – raising Harry & William
Despite it all, though, Diana was a loving mother. She always made sure to put William and Harry first – the mother-of-two wanted her children to have a childhood that was as normal as possible.
Princess Diana often took William and Harry to theme parks and other fun venues. Of course, she knew what royal life entailed, including the fact that they had meals served to them at all times, and were expected to behave like proper, royal children.
Yet she was also aware of the importance of William and Harry getting the chance to be like any other child. With this in mind, she would sneak them out of the palace to go and get fast food on occasion.
“I remember the princess came into the kitchen one day and said, ‘Cancel lunch for the boys, I’m taking them out, we’re going to McDonald’s,” Diana’s former personal chef Darren McGrady told Marie Claire.
“And I said, ‘Oh my God – your Royal Highness, I can do that, I can do burgers.’ And she said, ‘No, it’s the toy they want.’”
William and Harry naturally loved spending time with their mother. She raised them to feel like they were just like any other children, which in many ways, they were!
Diana always endeavored to be the best mom possible and knew that brothers could and would fight with one another from time to time.
Wanted her sons to always be best friends
Royal historian Robert Lacey once revealed details about Harry and William’s childhood, and how their mother wanted the two brothers to make her a significant promise.
In his book Battle of Brothers, Lacey writes about the bond William and Harry developed through their early childhood and teenage years. Princess Diana was keen on them remaining close throughout their lives – she wanted the boys to promise they’d always remain “best friends.”
In the book, Lacey quotes psychic Simone Simmons, who used to consult Diana.
“You must promise me that you will always be each other’s best friends,” Simmons claimed Diana told her sons. “And never let anyone come between you.”
“Both boys promised they would keep to that,” Simmons recalled. “They high-fived each other and gave their mother a big cuddle.
“‘Anybody would have melted at the sight,” she said. “Then they went out to play soccer.”
From the beginning, it was clear that royal life wasn’t the end of the world for Diana. Her children always took priority, and she wanted to protect them from whatever might come between them.
That even included the Royal Family itself – Diana was reportedly worried that the Queen and Charles were plotting to separate her from her children.
William & Harry unveiled a statue of their mother
William and Harry may have made Diana the aforementioned promise, but their relationship has been rather bad in recent years, beginning with Harry’s decision to leave the Royal Family in 2020.
A year ago, on what would’ve been Diana’s 60th birthday, William and Harry reunited to unveil a new statue of their late mother. The sculpture, cast in bronze, of Diana surrounded by three children, was placed in the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, her former home in London.
“Today, on what would have been our mother’s 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength, and character – qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better,” William and Harry said in a joint statement.
“Every day, we wish she were still with us, and our hope is that this statue will be seen forever as a symbol of her life and her legacy.”
This year marked the 25th anniversary of Princess Diana’s passing. William and Harry made sure to honor their beloved mother, but the two brothers did it separately.
According to a royal source who spoke to People Magazine, William spent the day quietly with his wife, Kate Middleton, in Windsor.
Ahead of the anniversary on August 31, Harry spoke about his mother, saying he hoped to make her proud.
Princess Diana – Charles’s Affair with Camilla
“I want it to be a day filled with memories of her incredible work and love for the way she did it,” Harry said on the anniversary. “I want it to be a day to share the spirit of my mum with my family, with my children, who I wish could have met her. Every day, I hope to do her proud.”
Besides leading an extremely public life, Diana had personal issues like any other person. For the Princess, one of the biggest problems involved her husband, then-Prince Charles.
Just years after his wedding to Diana, Charles engaged in an affair with Camilla, who would later become his wife.
According to Prince Charles’ authorized biography, as quoted by Town & Country, their affair started in 1986. Charles was still married to Princess Diana at that time, and she found out about it.
In 1989, Diana confronted Camilla over the affair, telling her to back off.
“I know what’s going on between you and Charles and I just want you to know that,” Camilla recalled Diana saying, as quoted by Town & Country.
“[Diana] said to me: ‘You’ve got everything you ever wanted. You’ve got all the men in the world falling in love with you and you’ve got two beautiful children, what more do you want?’”
“So I said, ‘I want my husband.’ And I said, ‘I’m sorry I’m in the way and it must be hell for both of you. But I do know what’s going on. Don’t treat me like an idiot,’” Diana said, as per Camilla.
The Queen broke royal protocol at Diana’s funeral
From the public’s perspective, things continued as normal, but it didn’t take long before Charles and Diana’s fairytale life was history. In 1992, the couple announced their separation, though both continued with their official royal duties. Four years later, in August of 1996, they reached a final agreement for the divorce.
Besides getting a generous settlement, Diana was given the right to retain her apartment at Kensington Palace and her “Princess of Wales” title. However, she agreed to give up her title of “Royal Highness,” as well as any future claim to the throne.
The passing of Diana was a shock to the entire nation and the world. Her funeral was held on September 6, 1997, in Westminster Abbey before she was buried at her family home of Althorp Park.
Princess Diana’s funeral had more than 2000 guests in attendance. Her coffin was drawn through London after the ceremony, where the British people had the chance to give their beloved Princess a last farewell.
Interestingly, the Queen was never required to bow her head to anyone. At Diana’s funeral, though, she breached royal protocol, bowing to the late Princess’s coffin as it passed her on a gun carriage. It was the only time Queen Elizabeth broke that royal rule.
Rare photos of Princess Diana
For large parts of her royal life, Diana was hounded by the paparazzi press; it’s not a stretch to say that Diana became the most photographed person in the world at the time.
In short, everybody wanted their little piece of Diana. So, according to The Guardian, tabloids were offering up to $500,000 for grainy pictures of her.
Her sons, William and Harry, saw both sides of how the press treated their mother. Harry said he wanted to leave the Royal Family in his early 20s, partly due to how he witnessed his mother being treated before her death.
“Look what it did to my mum, how am I ever going to settle down and have a wife and a family when I know that it’s going to happen again,” Harry explained. “I don’t want to be part of this.”
That said, many iconic pictures of Princess Diana were taken over the years. Sure, some of them were taken by the paparazzi, desperate to sell photos of her. But there are also pictures that show great warmth and give us a stunning look at Diana’s life and career.
A look through the archives offers hundreds of never-before-seen pictures of the beloved late Princess. We’ve compiled some of them in a bid to show a side of Diana that has rarely been seen.
Diana became something of a style icon at the height of her fame, and she took that with her to the slopes while skiing.
Skiing trips, sunbathing & humanitarian work
Below we see Diana on a skiing trip to Austria with her sons, Harry and William. This picture was taken as Harry had turned nine years old. He sure is adorable – and the whole family looks stunning!
In 1990, Diana and the children – alongside her sister’s children – went to Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands. Virgin’s Richard Branson owned the island.
Dian sure knew how to have fun. Look at this beautiful picture of when she and Harry visited the amusement park Thorpe Park, in 1992.
Diana was often referred to as “The People’s Princess”. She participated in many humanitarian efforts, setting an excellent standard for how a kind and compassionate person should behave. Here, Princess Diana is seen visiting an Orthopedic workshop in Luanda, Angola, sitting with victims of land mines.
We can go on and on about these beautiful pictures of Diana. This one was taken in 1971 when she was on a summer holiday in Itchenor, West Sussex.
This one, meanwhile, was taken outside Diana’s flat in Coleherne Court, London, before her engagement to Charles.
Here, Harry is seen sticking out his tongue to people gathered around Buckingham Palace. Diana looks somewhat surprised.
The clothing brand Barbour is still a favorite among royals, but perhaps Princess Diana wore it best.
Diana loved Barbour, and during a visit to the Outer Hebrides in Scotland in 985, it was a perfect time to sport her Barbour-style waxed cotton jacket
Jayne Fincher, a royal photographer who took some of Princess Diana’s most iconic shots, followed the royal couple everywhere. She had chartered a plane to get out to the Outer Hebrides, where Charles and Diana were on an official visit.
“When I caught up,” says Fincher, “Charles said, ‘Where have you been?’”
The Outer Hebrides are exposed to the extremes of wind and rain, and Princess Diana got to experience some of that during her visit there in 1985.
But she looks terrific in the photos from the trip, and photographer Jayne realized one thing after checking the negatives.
“You don’t see Diana dressed like that very often. She looked so happy. It was pouring rain, but her makeup was perfect and un-smudged. I looked a mess, as usual,” she said.
The photo below was taken during Diana’s last summer alive. She is seen with her boyfriend Dodi Al Fayed on a boat in St. Tropez, France, jumping into the water.
We will always remember Diana as a genuinely kind and wonderful human being.