Princess Diana Honored by Brother Charles Spencer on Anniversary of Her Death

Earl Charles Spencer marked the 26th anniversary of the death of his sister Princess Diana with a heartwarming tribute.

By Corinne Heller Aug 31, 2023 5:49 PMTags
Watch: Princess Diana's Fashion Moments We're Still OBSESSED With

Charles Spencer is celebrating the life of his late sister Princess Diana.

On the 26th anniversary of her death Aug. 31, the ninth Earl of Spencer, 59, posted a childhood photo of himself the late Princess of Wales on Instagram early Aug. 31. In the throwback pic, which he did not caption, Diana stands outside wearing a pink striped dress, white socks and pink shoes with her arm around her brother, who sports a gray and navy collared shirt, blue pants and brown sandals over white socks.

Charles as previously shown his affection for the image, posting it on social media back in November 2020.

The late Princess of Wales died Aug. 31, 1997 at age 36 of injuries sustained in a car crash in Paris alongside her partner Dodi al-Fayed. Her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, were 15 and 12 respectively when they lost their mother and famously walked with their uncle, their father—Diana's ex-husband—King Charles III and their grandfather Prince Philip behind her casket during her funeral procession in London.

A Look Back at Princess Diana's Style

Diana was later laid to rest on an island located in the middle of a lake on the grounds of her childhood home, Althorp House, where Charles still resides today. In addition to him, the princess is also survived by their older sisters Lady Sarah McCorquodale, 68, and Lady Jane Fellowes, 66.

instagram / Charles Spencer

Over the years, Charles has shared rare photos of his late sister. On what would have been her 60th birthday in 2021, the earl, who posts pics on Althorp House's Instagram account, shared a moving tribute to Diana alongside a childhood pic of her.

Mark Cuthbert / UK Press via Getty Images / David M. Benett / Dave Benett / Getty Images for Charles Sabine

"1 July 1961 was an exceptionally hot English summer's day, Diana's parents always remembered," the caption read. "She was born in Park House, on the Queen's Sandringham Estate in Norfolk. Park House is seen in the background of this family photograph taken by Diana's father, the 8th Earl Spencer."

Look back at the ways Diana forever changed what it means to be a royal:

A Progressive Humanitarian

Princess Diana went far against the grain when she advocated for causes previously considered taboo amongst royals, including AIDS research, land mine removal and homelessness in the U.K. She was one of the first public figures to be photographed interacting physically with AIDS victims—a decision that helped destigmatize and lessen the public's fear around the condition. 

New Approach to the Public's Fascination

The paparazzi's role in Princess Diana's tragic passing actually brought the royal family and the press closer than ever before. After her death, the palace made agreements with the British media to ensure photographers wouldn't overstep boundaries in an attempt to satiate public interest. As a result, we see more palace-organized photo calls and greater cooperation on both sides when it comes to balancing privacy and public figuredom. 

A Remarkably Open Book

Perhaps Diana's most extraordinary influence on the royal family was her unprecedented vulnerability in the face of public scrutiny. She openly discussed her struggle with mental health (notably suffering from postpartum depression after giving birth to Prince William), and in her landmark interview with the BBC's Martin Bashir Diana remarked, "Well, maybe I was the first person ever to be in this family who ever had a depression or was ever openly tearful. And obviously that was daunting, because if you've never seen it before how do you support it?"

Years later, William and Harry have kept their mother's legacy alive by launching Heads Together, a campaign that works to change the U.K.'s conversation around mental health and wellbeing. 

Mixing Business With Pleasure

The princess made yet another impact on life behind palace doors by maintaining unusually laid back relationships with the royal staff. Her famously close friendship with butler Paul Burrell captivated headlines, and she reportedly set up play dates for Prince William and Harry with her employees' children. Princess Di also encouraged her sons to participate in the kitchen, which might have inspired Kate Middleton's decision to often prepare home-cooked meals for her family. 

Warm Welcome Home

Princess Di flipped the script on traditional royal birthing techniques by welcoming both her children outside Buckingham Palace, where Prince Charles was born decades before. This made Prince William the first future British monarch to be born in a hospital on June 21, 1982. Wills and the Duchess of Cambridge followed suit, welcoming Prince George and Princess Charlotte in the same medical center, St. Mary's in London.

Parenting as a Royal

Instead of putting her sons on a pedestal like the entire world had already done, Princess Diana made an effort to create a sense of normalcy for William and Harry. Her youngest explained in an interview, "She made the decision that no matter what, despite all the difficulties of growing up in that lime light and on that stage, she was going to ensure that both of us had as normal life as possible. And if that means taking us for a burger every now and then or sneaking us into the cinema, or driving through the country lanes with the roof down in her old school BMW to listen to Enya."

Family That Tours Together, Stays Together

When Diana and Prince Charles were to embark on their official tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1983, she insisted that Wills (then only 10-months-old) would join his parents on the road. Royal children never typically traveled on these trips, but Diana's decision to keep her family together explains why Prince George and Princess Charlotte are now always included on overseas ventures

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