Diana Frances Spencer (1961—1997), former consort (1981–96) of Charles, prince of Wales (later Charles III); mother of the heir apparent to the British throne, Prince William (born 1982); and one of the foremost celebrities of her day.
Diana was born at Park House, the home that her parents rented on Queen Elizabeth II’s estate at Sandringham and where Diana’s childhood playmates were the queen’s younger sons, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. She was the third child and youngest daughter of Edward John Spencer, Viscount Althorp, heir to the 7th Earl Spencer, and his first wife, Frances Ruth Burke Roche (daughter of the 4th Baron Fermoy).
Her parents’ troubled marriage ended in divorce when Diana was a child, and she, along with her brother and two sisters, remained with her father. She became Lady Diana Spencer when her father succeeded to the earldom in 1975. Riddlesworth Hall (near Thetford, Norfolk) and West Heath School (Sevenoaks, Kent) provided the young Diana’s schooling.
After attending the finishing school of Chateau d’Oex at Montreux, Switzerland, Diana returned to England and became a kindergarten assistant at the fashionable Young England school in Pimlico.