17 Things You Didn't Know About Princess Diana

Seriously surprising stuff, right this way.

Princess Diana
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We love seeing photos and hearing stories about Prince William, Duchess Kate, and their adorable kids! But it was Princess Diana who truly captured our hearts through her many philanthropic activities, her role as a mum (opens in new tab), her chic fashions (opens in new tab), and her nontraditional approach to royalty (opens in new tab). And despite all we know about her public life, we were able to dig up a few little-known facts about our beloved princess.

She was homeschooled until age 9

Princess Diana as child

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At the time, it was common for upper-class children to be taught at home by a tutor. After her parents' divorce, Diana attended Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk, where her family resided. At 12, she was sent to an exclusive boarding school (opens in new tab), the West Heath School.

She was not a strong student

Princess Diana

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After failing two exams (opens in new tab), she left the West Heath School when she was 16. Her father enrolled her in a Swedish finishing school but she insisted on returning home.

She was a kindergarten teacher

Princess Diana with children

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After leaving finishing school in Sweden, Diana worked part-time as a cleaning woman and babysitter before finding a job at the Young England School (opens in new tab).

She wanted to be a ballerina

Princess Diana with ballerinas

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She studied ballet as a child (opens in new tab), but became too tall to continue to excel. But her love of classical dance led her to become a big supporter of the English National Ballet until her death. Here, she greets ballerinas at the Royal Albert Hall before a performance of Swan Lake.

Her grandmother, Ruth Fermoy, was lady-in-waiting to the Queen Mother

Princess Diana's Grandmother

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Lady Fermoy served the Royal family for nearly 40 years (opens in new tab). She was a close friend of Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, and many assumed the two encouraged the marriage of their grandchildren. However, they denied this and it was reported that Diana was not on speaking terms with Lady Fermoy, who died in 1993.

Her sister dated Prince Charles first

Princess Diana's sister & Prince Charles

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While Lady Sarah Spencer and Prince Charles were seeing each other (opens in new tab), Diana met the Prince at a family gathering. She was 16.

She became engaged to Prince Charles at age 19 and married him at age 20

Prince Charles & Princess Diana

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The Prince, who was 12 years her senior (opens in new tab), was under increasing pressure to find a bride.

She selected her engagement ring from a catalog

Princess Diana

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Although royal engagement rings are usually custom made, Diana selected hers from the Garrard (opens in new tab) jewelry collection catalog. The ring, which consists of 14 solitaire diamonds around a 12-carat sapphire set in white gold, now belongs to Duchess Kate Middleton (opens in new tab).

The heavy, 25-foot silk train on her wedding dress is the longest in Royal history

Princess Diana at her wedding

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The dress was decorated with sequins, embroidery, and 10,000 pearls. Diana had several practice sessions (opens in new tab) walking in it.

She chose to abandon the royal wedding vow tradition of saying she would "obey" Prince Charles

Prince Charles & Princess Diana

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Three decades later, William and Kate followed Princess Di's lead (opens in new tab).

Her favorite dessert was bread and butter pudding

Bread and butter pudding

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Her long-time personal chef, Darren McGrady, said the Princess would often enter the kitchen while he was making this dish and snack on the raisins off the top. You can find Diana's favorite recipes, including this one, in McGrady's book Eating Royally. (opens in new tab)

She took her sons on outings not typical for royal children

Princess Diana & her children

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They ranged from Disney World and McDonald's to AIDS clinics and homeless shelters (opens in new tab). Here, the Princess rides a log flume with both boys at Thorpe Park in Chertsey, England.

Her favorite color was pink

Princess Diana

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And she was often seen wearing outfits in all shades of the color (opens in new tab).

She bears a striking resemblance to her niece

Princess Diana & her niece

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Lady Kitty, the daughter of Princess Diana's younger brother Charles Spencer, was most recently spotted at Milan Fashion Week (opens in new tab).

She was also a devoted godmother

Princess Diana's godchild

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Her goddaughter, Domenica Lawson, now 20, recently responded to comments by a British television star who criticized people with Down's Syndrome (opens in new tab). Here, Domenica attends the grand opening of The Princess of Wales Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens in June 2000.

She auctioned off 79 of her dresses, raising $5.76 million for AIDS and breast cancer charities

Princess Diana

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Prince William actually suggested to his mother that she sell some of her dresses to raise money for charity (opens in new tab). Christie's New York held the auction just two months before Princess Diana's death.

She's buried on an island

Place where Princess Diana is buried

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The island sits in the middle of Oval Lake on the groun (opens in new tab)d (opens in new tab)s of Althorp Park, her family home (opens in new tab). Originally, Diana was to be buried in the Spencer family vault of a church, but the plan was altered to find a more private location.