Where did Princess Diana go to school?
Princess Diana’s first taste of education came in the form of homeschooling under the tutelage of her governess, Gertrude Allen. Diana’s formal education began in 1968, when she was enrolled at Silfield private school in Norfolk. At age 9, she began attending Riddlesworth Hall School, an all-girls boarding school, before joining her sisters at West Heath Girls’ School in Sevenoaks, Kent, in 1973.
Although not academically gifted, failing her O-levels twice, she was given an award for “the girl giving maximum help to the school and her schoolfellows”. Her school days were also characterised by love and aptitude for music and dance. After leaving West Heath in 1977, she attended finishing school at the Institut Alpin Videmanette in Rougemont, Switzerland.
Work and charitable endeavours
Returning to London in 1978, Diana embarked on a series of low-paying jobs before finding work as a teacher’s assistant at the Young England Kindergarten in Pimlico. Diana was said to be “truly in her element”, only leaving the role after marrying Prince Charles in 1981.
With her newfound royal status, Diana’s working life shifted towards public appearances and a burgeoning roster of charitable patronages. Her roles included president of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Academy of Music – among many others – but it was her ability to highlight issues such as AIDS and landmines that elevated her to the status of humanitarian icon.
Born on 1st July 1961, Diana was the fourth of five children of John Spencer, Viscount Althorp and Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp. Her older sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, was in a fleeting relationship with Prince Charles and was credited with introducing him to the future princess.
Alongside her younger sister Jane, Sarah would later serve as Diana’s lady-in-waiting and was a prominent presence in the lives of Diana’s children, princes William and Harry.
Hobbies and interests
As a child, Diana harboured dreams of becoming a ballet dancer – a passion that would endure after joining the Royal Family. At 5’10”, she was considered too tall for professional dancing, however, in 1985, she surprised a likely bemused Royal Opera House audience when she danced alongside Wayne Sleep to Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl”.
Although intended to be for the audience’s eyes only, a few black and white photos were later leaked by the British tabloids.
In the summer of 1981, royal wedding fever gripped large swathes of an exciting British nation and further afield. Cordoned off streets decked with bunting held packed street parties that would seem unfathomable today. Of greatest interest to many of the revellers was what the soon to be princess would be wearing. Designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel, the ivory silk taffeta and antique lace gown boasted a 25-foot train and a 153-yard tulle veil. Despite being crushed inside the glass coach on the way to the ceremony, the dress would inspire countless imitations after the wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral. To learn more about Princess Diana, see this Princess Diana Documentary.