PRINCESS Diana was, as Elton John sung sorrowfully at her funeral, a candle in the wind.

The former royal, who won hearts around the world for her beauty, grace and caring nature, died tragically when her car crashed driving through a tunnel in Paris in the early hours of August 31, 1997.

Born to the Spencer family, one of British nobility, Diana quickly became known as Lady Diana Spencer after her father, John, inherited the title of Earl Spencer.

However, it was her engagement to Prince Charles, the heir to the throne, that earned her worldwide recognition.

Their wedding captivated the globe with over 750 million people tunning into to watch the couple exchange vows in St Paul's Cathedral in 1981.

She quickly bore the first of her two sons, William, in 1982 with Henry, commonly known as Harry, following two years later.

Princess Diana with Prince Charles and their first son Prince William in 1983
Princess Diana with Prince Charles and their first son Prince William in 1983 Arthur Edwards

Through her marriage and royal duties, Diana showed a level of compassion and charity towards her subjects and she became one of the most beloved monarchs.

She was involved in countless charities, refused to cow to convention, visited the poorest and most vulnerable of people and, one of her lasting legacies, strove to end the horrors of landmines.

She was known by many titles, but her fans and admirers knew her simply as the 'People's Princess'.

However, her marriage was quickly falling apart with rumours of infidelity, arguments, depression and even thoughts of suicide plaguing the royal couple.

In 1991, Prime Minister John Major announced the couple's "amicable separation" and four years later they were divorced.

Diana then dated heart surgeon Hasnet Khan, but by the following year, the couple had separated and she began a relationship with Harrods heir Dodi Fayed.

Diana, travelling with Fayed, was killed when the car they were travelling in crashed in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris. The driver Henri Paul was also counted among the casualties with Diana's bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, the only survivor.

The accident became headline news around the world with Fayed's father, Mohamed Al-Fayed, claiming the crash was no accident.

An inquest was opened 2004 and finally in 2008, the jury returned a verdict of "unlawful killing".

Pop singer Elton John  plays a specially re-written version of his classic Candle in the Wind during the funeral service for Diana, Princess of Wales at London's Westminster Abbey, Saturday Sept. 6 1997. Millions of people lined the streets of London to watch the funeral procession of the Princess who died in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31.  (AP Photo/Paul Hackett/POOL)
Pop singer Elton John plays a specially re-written version of his classic Candle in the Wind during the funeral service for Diana, Princess of Wales at London's Westminster Abbey, Saturday Sept. 6 1997. Millions of people lined the streets of London to watch the funeral procession of the Princess who died in a car crash in Paris on Aug. 31. (AP Photo/Paul Hackett/POOL) PAUL HACKETT

Diana's funeral was one of the United Kingdom's most watched events in the nation's history, with 32.10 million people tuning in to pay their respects to their beloved princess.

Millions more watched from across the world - a tribute to her grace and compassion.

Diana, Princess of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duchess of Rothesay, and Countess of Chester, was 36. A candle in the wind extinguished too soon.



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