For some, she was the most adored member of the British Royal family. Princess Diana would have turned 56 on July 1 this year, but sadly, her life was taken away in a tragic car crash in 1997. She was married to Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, but they divorced in 1996. Her life was constantly followed by the paparazzi, even after the divorce. But how did she spend the last weeks of her life?
The media reported her love life and charity work, but some other facts about her free time were never given much attention. Here is how she really spent her final weeks of life.
May 22, 1997
In May, Diana visited Lahore to help raise money for a cancer clinic set up by her close friend and Pakistani cricket star, Imran Khan. That’s when the speculation started about her on and off affair with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan. Three years after her death, Imran revealed Diana’s feeling for the doctor. “She had been involved with him for two years and she had wanted to marry him,” Imran said in the television documentary Diana: Her Last Love. “It was clear that she was very deeply in love with Dr. Hasnat and I just don’t think she could have got over it that quickly.”
June 3, 1997
Diana truly loved dance and after her divorce, she dedicated her time to the non-humanitarian charity for the English National Ballet. She was constantly present at fundraising galas and helped to raise thousands of pounds for the company. In June 1997, the Princess met with cast members of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall in London. She wore a turquoise Jacques Azagury dress, which became one of her most famous looks.
June 18, 1997
Diana and Mother Teresa had their last meeting on the streets of the Bronx in New York. They were holding hands as Mother Teresa blessed the Princess during her 40-minute visit. After this meeting, Diana went on to meet Hillary Clinton in The White House. On September 5th of the same year, Mother Teresa passed away at the age of 87 in Kolkata, India.
June 22, 1997
Later in June, Diana returned to New York to attend a gala party. She was about to launch an auction of some of her most iconic dresses with Christie’s. The New York Times reported that the sale of 79 cocktail and evening dresses belonging to the Princess brought in $3.25 million for the charities. Her Victor Edelstein’s ink blue velvet gown that she wore when she danced at the White House with John Travolta sold for $222,500.
June 30, 1997
Diana posed for the July cover of Vanity Fair magazine, only a month before her tragic death. She was speaking about how she was coping with the divorce and her attempts to rebuild her life after Prince Charles.
July 1, 1997
On her 36th birthday, the Princess attended the 100th-anniversary celebration of the Tate Gallery in London. She was dressed in a black gown by Jacques Azagury as the guest of honor at the celebrity-filled event. It was a special day for her, as she got many flowers and other presents.
July 17, 1997
In July 1997, Diana was seen on holiday in St. Tropez in the South of France. According to The Daily Express, the Princess was visiting Dodi Al-Fayed, the son of Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al-Fayed, in the family’s 30-bedroom villa, Castle St. Therese. She was together with her sons William and Harry. She grew close to Dodi and stayed there several times.
July 22, 1997
After her holiday, Princess Diana joined celebrities including Elton John and Naomi Campbell at a memorial service in Milan for her friend, Gianni Versace. The Italian brand was one of her favorite labels.
August 10, 1997
In August, Diana traveled to Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia, where she drew attention to the fight against landmines. She stayed there for three days and the BBC described the trip as “entirely private.” She visited the homes of landmine victims and met with local disability groups and rehabilitation specialists.
Nearing the end of the summer, she was seen on a cruise of the Mediterranean on Al-Fayed’s luxury yacht. They traveled from the South of France to Sardinia before flying to Paris on Saturday, August 30.
August 30-31 1997
Following their time in Sardinia, Diana and Al-Fayed traveled to Paris together. After having dinner at the Ritz Hotel that evening, they left by limousine. Photographers on motorbikes were pursuing them. This chase ended up tragically in an underpass in the French capital. In the early hours of Sunday morning, Diana, Al-Fayed and their chauffeur Henri Paul were killed when their car crashed in Pont de l’Alma tunnel.
September 6, 1997
Six days after her death, Diana’s funeral was held at Althorp, England. Her funeral at Westminster Abbey was watched or listened to by nearly 2.5 billion people worldwide. Also, around one million people lined the streets of London to pay their last respects. Outside her home at Kensington Palace, a carpet of floral tributes stretched out into Kensington Gardens. Two decades later, a memorial garden has opened at the Princess’ former home. That’s where her son Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, his wife the Duchess of Cambridge, and their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, now live.