Princess of Wales must be Northamptonshire's most famous daughter.
During her lifetime she was probably the most famous woman on the
planet - she was feted around the world and the media charted her
was seen as a fairy-tale come true when the shy English rose married
the heir to the throne and became the Princess of Wales. But illusions
were shattered when acrimony led to divorce, and then tragedy. There
was unprecedented mourning across the world as people tried to come
to terms with the sudden, cruel death - in a car crash - of a much-loved
woman. Diana was laid to rest in Northamptonshire, in the grounds
of her Spencer family estate.
Spencers were farmers during the 15th Century. John Spencer
became a tenant at Althorp in 1486. Over the generations, the
family's fortune and influence increased, with close links to
successive monarchs. In 1765, the first Earl Spencer was created.
The present Earl Spencer (the 9th) is Diana's brother and inherited
the title on the death of their father in April, 1992.
Frances Spencer was actually born in Norfolk, not Northamptonshire.
She was the youngest daughter of the then Viscount and Viscountess
Diana was six her parents split up. She and her elder sisters, Jane
and Sarah, and her younger brother Charles, became pawns in a bitter
boarding school in Kent, Diana had jobs as a nanny, cook and kindergarten
her father became the eighth Earl Spencer, he moved to Althorp with
his new wife, Countess Spencer (daughter of the romantic novelist
'Fairy tale' wedding
'wedding of the Century'
married Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales in July 1981 at St Paul's
Cathedral. Six hundred thousand people lined the route and millions
around the world watched the 'Wedding of the Century' on TV. Prince
William was born in 1982, and Prince Harry in 1984 - the so called
'heir and spare'.
The Princess adopted the official duties of the Royal Family. But
unlike other Royals, she was seen as having the 'common touch'.
She had a spontaneity and charm that the public warmed to.
The press photographers loved her and her face adorned newspaper
and magazine covers across the world. The Princess's extravagant
array of designer outfits were admired and copied.
But Diana was more than a clothes horse. Through her charity work
she publicised causes such as AIDS and leprosy.
In 1989, Charles & Diana made an official visit to Northampton.
Diana was made an Honorary Freeman of the Borough.