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Happy Birthday, Princess Diana: 50 Rare Images of an Icon - Photo Essays

On the 50th anniversary of her birth, TIME looks at Princess Diana's life from her childhood to her years as a mother, fashion luminary and philanthropistBy Feifei Sun and Yumi Goto
  • wendy lowman

    Princess Diana Childhood Years | Lady Diana Family Pictures

  • Robyn Shearburn

    The Spencer family from left: The Lady Elizabeth Sarah Lavinia Spencer (now The Lady Elizabeth Sarah Lavinia McCorquodale). Charles Edward Maurice Spencer, Viscount Althorp (now the 9th Earl Spencer). Edward John "Johnnie" Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer (deceased). The Lady Cynthia Jane Spencer (now Cynthia Jane Fellowes, Baroness Fellowes), and Lady Diana Frances Spencer (later Diana, Princess of Wales).

  • Nancy Lindsay

    charles and diana portraits | Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer | Unofficial Royalty

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Princess Diana would have been 51 years old on July 1, 2012, had her life not ended so suddenly in a Paris tunnel on August 31, 1997. Only 36 when she died, the "Queen of People's Hearts" and mother of the future King of England nevertheless left a lasting legacy in photos.

  • Shannon Moody

    She was so beautiful. .it wasnt just her physical beauty, but her entire being

Diana attended the funeral of her friend Laura Lonsdale's son Louis, who sadly passed away at the age of only 11 months

Princess Diana.

  • Maureen Desquitado

    I don,t like her hair. It is too short like a boy,s haircut!!!

  • Nona Barker

    Her hair styles became more lifeless as the pressure mounted in her life, as she moved ahead unanchored. In the final years when she realized the degree of the monarchy's betrayal and as the love of the press became instead a vicious bestial hunt she was devastated. It's all reflected in the sadness on her face in those last years.

  • Carolyn Lindsay

    I think she looked awesome. He hair gleams. But I tell you something Nona, you would make a very good writer. You would be a excellent Narrator too.

  • Nona Barker

    wow. Thank you Carolyn. I am actually 'at sea' at the moment looking for a way to anchor myself professionally. You can't know how much your words mean. That is very kind of you to take the time to say that. Best, Nona.

June 23, 1997: Diana, Princess of Wales in New York City for the Christies' Auction.

Diana, Princess of Wales, wearing the Spencer tiara. This tiara is now owned by Earl Spencer.

Princess Diana - 1997

Princess Diana, esp in red // #dreambig with #41Winks

Princess Diana

WESTERN ISLES, SCOTLAND - JULY 02: Princess Diana During An Official Visit To The Western Isles Of Scotland. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)

luv the dress/••••only someone as gloriously tall & lean as she could successfully wear this dress!/

"The upward course of a nation's history is due in the long run to the soundness of heart of its average men and women."