Lady Diana Frances Spencer, Princess of Wales
Much to my own surprise, Diana, Princess of Wales, is part of my family not once, but twice, both times through my paternal side of the family. I first discovered that the "People's Princess" was related to me through my cousin, Major General Henry Trotter (4th cousin, 5x removed) through his wife, Dame Eva Gifford. Princess Diana and my cousin's wife were 2nd cousins, 3x removed.
While this did not make Diana a direct relative, I later found out that another cousin, General Ethan Allen of the American Revolutionary War fame, was also related to Diana and they were 2nd cousins, 7x removed. Ethan Allen was my 3rd cousin, 8x removed. Ethan Allen was related to Princess Diana through Nehemiah Allen, who was my cousin Mercy Burt's father in-law. So, still no direct blood between myself and Princess Diana that I have found thus far, but we do share common relatives which I found to be quite interesting.
Like millions of other people around the world, I was captivated by Diana. Diana changed our view of the British Monarchy, and ultimately changed the Monarchy as well. Prior to Diana marrying Prince Charles (to whom I also have familial ties through his current wife, Camilla), the British Monarchy was, at least to me, somewhat of a mystery. As a Canadian, I knew a little bit about Queen Elizabeth II, but beyond that, I knew little about the Royal Family. With the marriage of Lady Diana Spencer to Prince Charles, there suddenly seemed to be a focus on the newlyweds, and a renewed interest in the Royal Family. This started out innocently enough, but eventually turned bad as the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles came to an end and the tabloids were constantly filled with what can only be described as stories that even US prime-time soap operas could not replicate.
There is not much that I could possibly write about Princess Diana that has not already been written, so I won't even try. However, like millions of others around the globe, I can very clearly remember the exact moment when I heard the horrible news on August 31, 1997 that Princess Diana had died as the result of a car crash in Paris. I was driving home that Saturday evening from downtown Toronto, and when the news came across my car radio, I thought it was a horrible prank. As the news reports continued however, I realized that it was not a cruel prank, but rather the horrible, awful truth; the People's Princess was dead and what followed for a week after still seems surreal to me today.
As I write this page, it is July 27th, 2017, just a little over 1 month from the 20th anniversary of Diana's death in Paris. The newspapers, radio and television broadcasts and internet are already buzzing in preparation of marking this dark anniversary. My intent is not to "jump on the bandwagon" but rather to add a page as a tribute to a distant family member which should have been done months ago.