Wednesday marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, who was killed at age 36 in a high-speed car crash in Paris after being chased by paparazzi. Her death unleashed an outpouring of grief, and her funeral at Westminster Abbey drew a television audience of 2.5 billion people.
Diana was just 20 when she married Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, in 1981. Their marriage ended 15 years later in an acrimonious divorce, following charges of infidelity by both. After a messy divorce, Diana became estranged from the royal family.
Throughout her life, Diana was a devoted mother to her sons, William and Harry, and a lifelong advocate for children, AIDS-related causes, and victims of landmines. Hailed as the “people’s princess,” she is also credited with helping to modernize the monarchy.
A quarter century after her death, she is as much a fixture in popular culture as she was during her lifetime. In just the last year, she’s been the subject of an Oscar-nominated film (Spencer starring Kristen Stewart as Diana), a Broadway musical (Diana), a TV miniseries (season four of The Crown), and most recently, an HBO documentary, The Princess.