The Australian Women's Weekly is proud to be the first in the world to bring you Diana: The Portrait
- the official story of the Princess's life as seen through the eyes of her sister, Lady Sarah McCorquodale and those family members and friends who loved her best. In the September 2004 issue.
Lady Sarah, head of the Princess of Wales' Memorial Trust, has also given a first-ever interview in which she talks about her younger sister, not just as the beautiful, if troubled woman the world knew, but also as the extraordinary humanitarian who did so much to break down prejudice and lift up those unable to speak for themselves.
Diana, Princess of Wales, Queen of Hearts and People's Princess, died tragically young on August 31, 1997. Dozens of books have been published since, but now - for the first time - her family has authorised her official biography, Diana: The Portrait . Sales of Diana: The Portrait will benefit The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, which continues the Princess' humanitarian work, distributing millions of dollars annually to causes that were dear to her heart.
In this special extract, her family and friends, such as the legendary Nelson Mandela, remember this extraordinary woman. In his words, "however privileged and famous she was, she had time for the most humble people - and made them feel special".
"Diana was born when a boy [the heir] was much needed, much wanted, and not a girl. Then some horrendous doctor, a so-called therapist - some ghastly woman - told her she was a disappointment at birth. It took a lot of talking with me to realise her birth was very happy."
- Frances Shand-Kydd, Diana's mother
"When news of Diana's romance broke, the kindy was under siege. I said, 'Do you think if you have a photograph taken, they will go away?' "
- Kay King, Young England Kindergarten.
"She and Charles were really in love as far as I could see. I saw them cuddling on the sofa and during rehearsals they had their arms linked and were skipping down the aisle."
- bridesmaid Sarah Jane Gaselee.
"Riding back in the carriage, I was with [bridesmaid] Catherine Cameron and Prince Edward. Catherine got asthma from the horse. One of [Lord] Lichfield's photos shows Diana bending down checking to see if she was all right."
- Prince Charles' god-daughter, India Hicks, a bridesmaid.
"We're all brought up on fairytales, and then one day we come to realise that, painful as it is, these fairytales aren't true." - Diana to a friend, Simon Barnes.
"The children were ... at the heart of her life and her absolute preoccupation. One of her biggest goals was to learn from past mistakes in the [royal] family." - hairdresser Sam McKnight.
"She would go to an official function, captivate everybody there, and then go back to Kensington Palace - often alone - and be served dinner on a tray. She found that disturbing: adulation on one hand, loneliness on the other."
- art patron and collector Lord Palumbo.
The fashion icon
"She was one of the most beautiful girls in the world. Year by year, she became more sophisticated and surer of herself. Every designer was inspired."
"I wanted to know what she looked like. Her voice sounded kind and warm. Diana knelt down so I could reach her easily. In my fingers, I can still remember the way Diana's face felt, small, and her skin was soft. It made me feel happy and special."
- Chris Anderson, resident at a SeeAbility centre.
"She had a rare gift. I have seen it occasionally in famous people. They carry an aura that creates warmth, love and affection. When they have left the room everybody looks at each other and goes, 'Wow'."
- singer Chris de Burgh
"It was not until my sister died that any of us realised what an extraordinary personal impact she had had. I take great pride in the legacy Diana left, not only in William and Harry, but also in the way in which she changed our view of what it means to be a human being. Diana's informal, caring approach quietly broke down stigma, prejudice and neglect." - Sarah McCorquodale, Diana's sister.
For the full story, and the family's favourite photos of Diana PLUS an exclusive interview with her sister and Lady-in-Waiting, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, see the September 2004 issue of The Australian Women's Weekly
Diana: The Portrait © 2004, Rosalind Coward. Published under licence from The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. Published in Australia in 2004 by Hodder Headline Australia Pty Ltd, rrp $85.