Panorama interview
Diana reveals all on the BBC's Panorama programme

The Life of Diana, Princess of Wales
1961-1997

Separation And Divorce

Diana continued her charity work after the separation. She spoke out on social problems and sometimes, as with bulimia, her contributions were borne out of personal suffering.

Wherever she went, on public or private business, often with her children to whom she was devoted, the media were there to record the event. And in what became something of a public relations battle with her estranged husband after they had separated, the Princess showed herself to be adept at using the media to cast herself in a favourable light.

She later told of steps she believed her husband's camp were taking to make her life difficult.

Diana/Hewitt
Diana with James Hewitt who later published a book about their affair
She gave an unprecedented and remarkably open interview with the BBC's Panorama programme on November 20, 1995. Watched by millions, she described her post-natal depression, the breakdown of her marriage to Prince Charles, her tense relationship with the Royal Family as a whole and, most shocking of all, she claimed that her estranged husband did not wish to be king.

She also predicted that she would never become Queen and that, instead, she wished to become a Queen "in peoples' hearts".

The pressure on her by the popular papers was relentless and stories of her men friends damaged her image as the wronged wife. One of those friends, an army officer, James Hewitt, to her horror, was the source of a book about their relationship.

dresses
Diana's ballgowns: up for sale
Diana accepted divorce only after pressure from the Queen. When it came through - on August 28th 1996 - she told a friend it was the saddest day of her life.

Diana, now officially, Diana, Princess of Wales, gave up all but a small nucleus of her charity work as she sought a new role for herself. She had a clear idea of what that role as "Queen of Hearts" should be and she illustrated it by visits abroad. In June 1997 she visited Mother Teresa who was in poor health.

Also in June, Princess Diana auctioned off 79 dresses and ballgowns that had appeared on front covers of magazines around the world. The auction raised 3.5m for charity and also seemed to symbolise a break with the past.

Dodi and Diana
August: newspapers expose her relationship with Dodi Fayed
In the summer of 1997, Diana was seen with Dodi Fayed, the son of millionaire businessman Mohamed Al Fayed. Pictures of the Princess with Dodi on his yacht in the Mediterranean were splashed all over the world's tabloids and magazines.

The couple returned to Paris after one more holiday in Sardinia on Saturday August 30th. After dining at the Ritz that evening, they left by a limousine and were pursued by photographers on motorbikes who wanted more snapshots of the Princess and her new friend. The chase led to tragedy in a Paris underpass.

Diana began by bringing a breath of fresh air and a measure of glamour into the House of Windsor. But she became a sad figure to many as the story of her failed marriage unravelled.

Her critics blamed her for helping to strip the monarchy of some of the mystique so important for its survival.

But her strength of character in difficult personal circumstances and the unflagging support she gave to the sick and disadvantaged earned her scontinued respect. And, to the end, she remained a figure of public fascination and affection.