July 1st marks 61 years since the Birth of Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales in 1961. During her reign, Diana earned the title of a princess of people’s hearts around the world.
As a humanitarian, Diana’s passion guided her as she used her privileges and voice to help others. Even after her divorce from Charles Windsor, Prince of Wales in 1996, Diana continued to captivate millions with her pure heart and philanthropic efforts. During her lifetime, Diana worked to destigmatize people affected by the HIV and AIDS virus, help disabled and sick children, and campaigned to ban dangerous landmines. In her life, which was tragically cut short, Diana left her mark on the world and its people by always leading with her heart.
Apart from her Altruism, the world remembers Diana as a cultural icon. Along with her enviable beauty and iconic fashion movements, the press often focused on Diana’s friendships with many high-profile celebrities, including Freddie Mercury and Elton John. Additionally, Diana was related to the prominent author Barbara Cartland.
As a young girl, Diana loved to read, and her favorite genre was romantic fiction. Renowned romantic fiction novelist Dame Barbara Cartland was Diana’s favorite author, and her step-grandmother.
The Iconcic Legacy of Barbara Cartland
Cartland wrote across several genres, but most of her body of work consists of romantic stories that narrate tales of young heroines and dashing gentlemen who gallantly rush in to sweep them off of their feet. Cartland was a very busy writer, and she is credited with writing 723 books in her lifetime. As of today, Cartland holds the Guinness World Record for writing the most books in one year, when, in 1983, she wrote 23 books. 160 manuscripts, known as The Pink Collection, were published posthumously by Cartland’s son after her passing in 2000.
Born to a well-to-do family in Birmingham in 1901, Cartland began to write at 18 after moving to London with her mother following the death of her father after the First World War. In London, Cartland landed a job with Daily Mail, where she had an opinion column. Cartland published her first novel Jigsaw in 1925, which was very successful and marked the beginning of a prolific career in writing.
Apart from her writing, Cartland is known for her distinct flamboyant and feminine style.
Diana and Barbara’s Connection
Barbara’s daughter married Diana’s father, John Spencer in 1976, effectively making her Raine Spencer and, consequently, Diana’s stepmother. The union resulted in Barabara Cartland, Diana’s favorite author, becoming her step-grandmother.
Diana loved reading romance novels and was an avid reader of Barbara Cartland’s work prior to her joining the Spencer family. Enamored by Cartland’s tales of fairytales with young women falling in love with prince charming and stories ending in a happy marriage, Diana enjoyed nearly all of Cartland’s novels. Although Cartland was not in attendance at Diana’s 1981 wedding to Prince Charles, she is quoted to have said on Diana and Charles’ engagement that their relationship mirrored a plot out of one of her novels, with Diana being a pursued young woman who marries a man of nobility like Charles.
Books, Movies, and Television Series About Diana
Even after her death, Diana continues to captivate the world. Movies, books, and TV shows have chronicled the life of the “People’s Princess.” Netflix’s The Crown introduced a young Diana as a leading character in the most recently released season of their show in 2020, and she will be returning in the next season of the show set to be released in later 2022. Kristen Stewart portrayed Diana in the 2021 film titled Spencer, which garnered several Oscar nominations.
In the early 1990s, Princess Diana sat down with author Andrew Morton to secretly record herself in a series of interviews that exposed some of the sad truths of her life and the Royal Family. By 1992, Morton’s bombshell book, Diana: Her True Story- In Her Own Words, was published and shocked the world with a candid glimpse into Diana’s life.
In 2017, several books were released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death. Click here to learn more.
Click here, to find more books about the life of Princess Diana.