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Encore Presentation: Princess Diana: Growing Up to be Princess

Aired September 1, 2001 - 11:30   ET



ANNOUNCER (voice-over): A woman the world will always remember as the people's princess.

MARK SAUNDERS, LONDON PHOTOGRAPHER: I don't think she ever really understood quite how famous she was.

ANNOUNCER: She married young and died young.

EARL CHARLES SPENCER, DIANA'S BROTHER: It was almost as if she had to die before people realized what she had done.

ANNOUNCER: Her memory is kept alive by those she helped and those she loved.

CHARLES SPENCER: This was a woman who was very glamorous, but she was also a humanitarian.

ANNOUNCER: On the four year anniversary of her death, a look at Princess Diana, with rare video of her as a child, now on PEOPLE IN THE NEWS.


DARYN KAGAN, HOST: Welcome to PEOPLE IN THE NEWS. I'm Daryn Kagan.

Four years ago this weekend, the world was shocked and saddened by the death of Diana, the people's princess. On the anniversary of her death, we look at her legacy, with seldom-seen since video of Diana as a girl.

Her brother Lord Charles Spencer gives CNN's Stephen Frazier a tour of Althorp, the family estate where Diana is buried.


CHARLES SPENCER: All over the world she was the symbol of selfless humanity, a standard bearer for the rights of the truly downtrodden.

STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As I walk around here, I'm more and more impressed with the fact that coming from all this comfort and privilege, all this private beauty, that she had developed such an ability to sense that people lived less fortunate lives, and she had become such a champion for them.

CHARLES SPENCER: She came from a rich heritage where, you know, snootiness had no place. You judged people on what they were like and you did your bit for other people. She never lost touch with what we were all about, which is to be open and to accept people for what they are.

Wherever I go, I hear about people's affection for her. And actually in one of the rooms here, we've got 14,000 condolence books from all over the world. And I think that proves the huge appeal she had. And it certainly seems to have survived.

She had such quality, such style, such beauty.

She brought some sort of freshness into the royal family.

I'm not too sure that there will ever be another Diana.

FRAZIER (voice-over): Princess Diana, for a long time the most famous woman in the world.

MARK SAUNDERS, LONDON PHOTOGRAPHER: I don't think she ever really understood quite how famous she was.

LADY COLIN CAMPBELL, BIOGRAPHER, "THE REAL DIANA": I think in some ways she was like Jackie, someone who's absolutely perfect for the time.

CHARLES SPENCER: She'll never grow old. Just as the movie icons, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe, they never grew old.

FRAZIER: Christened Diana Frances Spencer, the future princess was born July 1, 1961. She was born to the daughter of a baron and to Lord Althorp, who would become the eighth earl of Spencer. There were older sisters Sara and Jane, and later little brother Charles.

The Spencers lived a life of luxury. They spent their early years at Park House, a 10-room mansion on the queen's country estate in Sandringham, Norfolk. The boy next door was her future husband.

Prince Charles was 12 years older than Diana, so she played with royal children more her own age, Charles's younger brothers, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward. Diana celebrated her first 12 birthdays at Park House.

Her privileged upbringing did not guarantee a happy childhood, though. In 1969, Diana was traumatized by her parents' public and bitter divorce, completed when she was 7.

CAMPBELL: She was being pulled back and forth between both parents, who were using her and her brother, Charles, in a war of attrition, and she was effectively a hostage in this war.

FRAZIER: Her father, by then Earl Spencer, won custody of the children. So when Diana was 13, she and her siblings moved to the Spencer family home at Althorp, a 14,000-acre country estate 75 miles north of London.

CHARLES SPENCER: This whole room is surrounded by family portraits, going back 400 or 500 years. And actually it's nice to know, you know, I mean, people are always interested in their roots, but it's so good to be able to look round and actually place a face with these characters and sort of understand them.

FRAZIER (on camera): This whole row is of women, and you said sometimes Spencer women are more interesting than men.

CHARLES SPENCER: The women have been more interesting as personalities, certainly, much more feisty and individual.

FRAZIER (voice-over): She enrolled in the fashionable West Heath boarding school, where they called her Lady Diana because her father was an earl. Although described as a mediocre student, Diana showed talent in music and dancing.

CHARLES SPENCER: And I remember one of her great fads for a couple of years was tap dancing. And in fact, the main hall is for the working hall (ph), and that's -- it's got this wonderful marble floor, and it was perfect for that.

FRAZIER (on camera): Was she good?

CHARLES SPENCER: She was very good. I -- she could have gone on.

FRAZIER (voice-over): At age 16, Diana's path once again crossed that of the prince of Wales. He was 28.


DIANA SPENCER: It was in 1977 when Charles came to stay at a friend of my sister's house for a shoot. And we sort of met (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

PRINCE CHARLES: I liked you previous to that, but...

QUESTION: And what did you think then? What was your instant impression both of you?

What did you think about Lady Diana?

PRINCE CHARLES: Well, I remember thinking what a very jolly and amusing and attractive 16-year-old she was. And, I mean, great fun, and bouncy and full of life and everything. And I don't know what she thought of me.

DIANA SPENCER: Pretty amazing.


FRAZIER: In 1979, Diana was 18 and bored with life at Althorp. She moved to London and found work as a nanny, then as a kindergarten teacher.


QUESTION: Why did you go into teaching? What made you -- what prompted you?

DIANA SPENCER: Well, you know, I adore children, they just seemed to appeal to me.


FRAZIER: In the summer of 1980, a phone call changed the course of her life. It was Prince Charles, asking for a date. She watched the prince play polo and spent time with him on the royal yacht. Soon Diana was seeing the prince, and that meant dealing with the press.


QUESTION: How well are you coping with all the press attention?

DIANA SPENCER: Well, as you can see, you can tell.

QUESTION: Are you bearing up with it quite well, though? Because it must be quite a strain with all of us after you.

DIANA SPENCER: Well, it is, naturally.


MARLENE EILERS, ROYAL GENEALOGIST: Can you imagine coming out of a door and finding 16 photographers, all flashes in your face, and not having ever seen this before?

QUESTION: We want the window down for a picture.

EILERS: No matter what she did, the press wanted to be there.

FRAZIER: Just six months after their polo outing, Charles proposed to Diana following a candlelit dinner for two at Buckingham Palace.


PRINCE CHARLES: I'm amazed that she's been brave enough to take me on.

QUESTION: And, I suppose, in love.


PRINCE CHARLES: Whatever "in love" means.


FRAZIER: Buckingham Palace announced the engagement. Diana was the first English girl in 300 years to become Princess of Wales. LADY RAINE, DIANA'S STEPMOTHER: And they both look so happy, don't they, darling? Diana looks beautiful.


LADY RAINE: She looks beautiful.

JOHN SPENCER: Diana is lovely, I've never seen her look better.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think she's just the right person for him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why have you come here today?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To try and get a glimpse of Diana and Charles.

FRAZIER: The world got more than a glimpse. Crowds packed the London streets, and worldwide millions watched on television as Charles and Diana exchanged vows at St. Paul's Cathedral, July 29, 1981.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I, Diana Frances...

DIANA SPENCER: I, Diana Frances...

FRAZIER: But Lady Diana's fairy tale romance and marriage would not have a storybook ending.

When the story of the princess continues, Diana, struggling with her new husband and her new role as princess.


DIANA SPENCER: I understood the media might be interested in what I did, but I was not aware of how overwhelming that attention would become.



KAGAN: Ahead, a difficult adjustment for Diana.

But first, one of the most vivid memories of Diana is how she looked on her wedding day. She wore that amazing dress, truly fit for a princess. We wondered who was responsible for that dress, and "Where are they Now?"


ANNOUNCER (voice-over): For young designers David and Elizabeth Emanuel (ph), it was the assignment of a lifetime. The married couple was the surprise choice of then-Diana Spencer to make the gown of the century. So where are the designers today? The designing duo are no longer a couple. Elizabeth has stayed in fashion design, but she's had a rocky career. Before filing for bankruptcy in 1999, she had designed a wedding dress for Elizabeth Hurley's Estee Lauder ad and wardrobes for celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Collins, and Ivana Trump.

David Emanuel works in the fashion world. He came in close second for the design of Catherine Zeta-Jones's wedding dress and outfits Leslie Garrett (ph), Britain's biggest-selling opera singer.

We'll be right back.





UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everybody had gone completely Diana-mad. It was amazing, the sort of mania about her.

FRAZIER: Gone completely Diana-mad, and it didn't end with the wedding.

MARK SAUNDERS, LONDON PHOTOGRAPHER: I don't think she understood the worldwide demand. I don't think she ever really understood quite how famous she was.

FRAZIER: Less than a year after the royal wedding, an heir to the throne. Diana gave birth to William Arthur Philip Louis on June 21, 1982.


FRAZIER: Two years after, his brother, Prince Harry, Henry Charles Albert David, came into the world.

These appeared to be happy times for the royal couple, but soon there were indications of strains in the marriage.

JAYNE FINCHER, ROYAL PHOTOGRAPHER: There were signs that were from about '86 onwards, and you would see them, and they'd look really miserable at times, and she would look really, really miserable.

CAMPBELL: She said that she was in a prison behind bars. She just couldn't stand being caged any longer.

FRAZIER: The princess struggled with an eating disorder and depression.

CAMPBELL: The tremendous pressures of world fame on someone who had a very fragile personality to begin with, and she started to collapse and crack up as a personality. FRAZIER: But instead of completely collapsing, Diana decided to use her fame and the media to her advantage. There were magazines, fashion shows, celebrities, and public appearances. Diana became an activist for dozens of causes. She raised money for cancer, the homeless, for leprosy, the English National Ballet. She was most passionate about children and AIDS charities.


DIANA SPENCER: HIV does not make people dangerous to man, so you can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it.


ANDREW PARKIS, DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES MEMORIAL FUND: The image of her holding hands with somebody with HIV/AIDS, and that shattered a lot of the stigma and prejudice and fear that surrounded HIV/AIDS in the early days.

FRAZIER: Attention was once again focused on her failing marriage in the 1992 book "Diana." It included allegations of Prince Charles's long-running affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. By December of '92, Prince Charles and Diana had agreed to a legal separation.

In 1993, Diana spoke out against the press. She said the media were partly to blame for the failure of her marriage.


DIANA SPENCER: Their attention would inevitably focus on both our private and public lives. But I was not aware of how overwhelming that attention would become, nor the extent to which it would affect both my public duties and my personal life.



DIANA SPENCER: I'm going to ask you to respect my children both.


FRAZIER: After the separation, Diana appeared more at ease with the press and with herself, acting more confident.

CAMPBELL: The freedom that she had once she was out of her cage gave her a feeling of strength. It empowered her.

FRAZIER: In 1995, she spoke critically of the royal family. Diana said the monarchy needed updating and said she had begun showing her sons the less fortunate among their future subjects.


DIANA SPENCER: I've taken William and Harry to people dying of AIDS, albeit I told them it was cancer. I've taken the children to all sorts of areas where I'm not sure anyone of that age in this family's been before.


FRAZIER: And although Diana said she'd rather not divorce Prince Charles...


DIANA SPENCER: When you've had divorced parents, like myself, you'd want to try even harder to make it work.


FRAZIER: ... it was just one month later she received a letter from the queen which suggested that for the sake of the children, Diana and Charles should be divorced sooner rather than later.

The divorce was final in August 1996. Diana won a settlement estimated at $27 million, but lost the right to the title "Her Royal Highness."

After the divorce, Diana dug into more charity work, making appearances in support of a ban on antipersonnel land mines.

CHARLES SPENCER: I don't think that people would have signed up to being rid of land mines if she hadn't focused attention on it.

FRAZIER: Romantically, Diana was linked to Dodi Fayed, the 42- year-old son of wealthy businessman Muhammad al-Fayed.

CAMPBELL: But he was very soft, he was very sweet, and he gave Diana all the attention she lusted after.

FRAZIER: Dubbed "the princess and the playboy," they were pictured in Britain's tabloid newspapers. In August 1997, eight weeks after her 36th birthday, Diana joined Fayed for a vacation in Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Diana, Princess of Wales, has died after a car crash in Paris.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The death of the princess of Wales fills us all with very deep shock and with deep grief.

CHARLES SPENCER: I called my middle sister, Jane, whose husband worked for the queen, and while I was talking to her, I could hear him on the other line. And I heard him just go, "Oh, no." And then Jane said, "I'm afraid that's it. I'm afraid she's dead."

FRAZIER: In the early morning hours of August 31, Diana and Fayed died in a car crash as they sped to elude paparazzi, including photographers on motorcycles.

CHARLES SPENCER: And I was sitting there in in the kitchen at home, and my three little daughters came running through. And I said, "I've got some awful news for you, I'm afraid. I'm afraid Aunt Diana's dead." And then one of my little twins looked up at me and smiled and she just said, "Not in real life, Daddy."

FRAZIER: On the day of her funeral, millions of people lined the streets of London to say goodbye. A gun carriage carried Diana's body from her home at Kensington Palace to Westminster Abbey. Prince Charles, Diana's brother, Charles, and sons William and Harry walked behind. Attached to a wreath on her coffin, a letter from son to mother.

Diana was laid to rest at the Spencer family estate at Althorp.

When our story continues, how the work and spirit of Diana live on.

CHARLES SPENCER: It was almost as if she had to die before people realized what she had done. And we find people that come here and go away with a sense that, you know, this was a woman who was very glamorous, but she was also a humanitarian.


KAGAN: Coming up next, the legacy of Princess Diana.

But before we go to break, an update on this week's celebrity news in "Passages."


ANNOUNCER (voice-over): Tributes were held across country the country this week for late R&B sensation Aaliyah. The singer and aspiring actress was one of nine passengers who died in a plane crash in the Bahamas last Saturday at the age of 22. Fans held vigils in Los Angeles, her hometown of New York and Detroit, where she had attended performance art school. She scored her first hit at age 15, with controversial song "Age Ain't Nothing but a Number." Aaliyah made her acting debut last year in the film "Romeo Must Die," and she was booked to appear in the upcoming sequels to "The Matrix." Private funeral services were held by her family Friday in New York.

For more on the life and career of Aaliyah as well as other celebrity news, pick up a copy of "People" magazine this week.

We'll be right back





FRAZIER (voice-over): During her lifetime, Princess Diana was the best-known woman in the world. Less known was her humanitarian work, as extensive as anyone's during the past two decades.

CHARLES SPENCER: It was easy to see the cover of "People" magazine -- I gather she was on the front 80-odd times -- and see the glamorous dresses or the marital difficulties or whatever. But to get to the substance of her work, you know, it was almost as if she had to die before people realized what she had done.

FRAZIER: The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund was set up only five days after she died.

PARKIS: We will try to prioritize some of the most disadvantaged people of all who have to struggle with stigma and prejudice as well as physical suffering, because she did.

FRAZIER: The memorial foundation, which has raised almost $63 million, distributes funds to dozens of causes Diana took up, AIDS prevention, the hospice movement, and land mine clearance.

PARKIS: We try and do that in some of the most difficult areas, for example, on the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. We feel that that is in the tradition shown to us by Diana, Princess of Wales.

CHARLES SPENCER: As it's gone on, the memorial fund's done quite a lot of good, in fact, and it's really sought out the difficult causes and helped them like Diana did. She went for the messy ones, the complicated ones, the frightening ones, and made them her own.

FRAZIER: The princess's true living legacies, though, are her two sons, Princes William and Harry.

CHARLES SPENCER: Her role as mother to those two boys, that was probably the most important thing to her.

FRAZIER: Diana tried to show her boys there was a harsher side to life for many of their future subjects.

CAMPBELL: She never once say -- have to say, to her credit, ever tried to strip them of their royalty. She always tried to top up the royal gloss with dashes of ordinariness, to make them be better royals.

FRAZIER: But teenage girls find the royal Prince William anything but ordinary.

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: And I love him. And he said "hi" and he shook my hand.

FRAZIER: At 19, the prince enjoys teen idol status. William will study art history at St. Andrew's University.

16-year-old Harry will soon begin his fourth year at Eton. Like his mother, Prince Harry loves music and sports, and has a common touch.

CAMPBELL: I think they've taken her lessons to heart in the way they relate to people and the way they treat people naturally; the way they don't stand on ceremony.

CHARLES SPENCER: I really adore those boys. What I always stress to them is that I'm just always there, and that they can bounce anything off me. And that's all I can do. Unfortunately, I can't bring their mother back, but I can do what I can as an uncle.

FRAZIER: Lord Spencer has taken up some of his sister's causes, touring hospitals and visiting land mine victims in Cambodia.

But it is at Althorp where his devotion to her legacy is most apparent, in his choice of her resting place on the island in the lake.

CHARLES SPENCER: Why I really decided on this place for her resting place was because this has the tranquility. This island has it's own special atmosphere.

FRAZIER: And with a new exhibition celebrating her life and work that opened in July, visitors can see home video of the princess, letters she wrote as a child, and the silk taffeta gown she wore for her wedding.

CHARLES SPENCER: I really do appreciate everything she did, and I'm immensely proud of her. But you can't be a heroine to your younger brother. You're just a sister. And so I see her through those eyes only, really. And I try and see the superstar bit through other people's eyes, but she's still Diana, you know. And that's a good thing. That's a good memory.


KAGAN: Lord Charles Spencer says that Althorp was swamped with ticket requests for this past July for the weekend commemorating what would have been Diana's 40th birthday. And if recent years are any indication, this weekend -- the anniversary of her death -- will draw big crowds as well. By the way, proceeds from tickets to Althorp go to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

For more on Princess Diana, log on to our Web site at

Next week: A profile of America's most famous mobster. No, we're not talking Tony Soprano, but the real deal, the Dapper Don, John Gotti.

For all of us here at PEOPLE IN THE NEWS, I'm Daryn Kagan. Thanks for watching.



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