Life Lessons Learned from Princess Diana (Revisited)

Princess Diana photographed by Patrick Demarchelier

The basis of this post was originally posted September of 2012 right around the 15th anniversary of Princess Diana's death. I've updated and refreshed it and thought it would be fun to share a few life lessons I learned from Princess Diana.

I can hardly believe it's been this long since the world heard the shocking news that Princess Diana had died. Do you remember where you were?  It was August 31st, Labor Day Weekend of 1997, and I will never forget that day.  I was vacationing with my family at our cottage at Lake Tahoe and struggling to put my own life back together following a devastating divorce.  We heard the announcement on a news bulletin, following dinner out, and watched the story unfold in disbelief. I watched follow-ups from London most of the night, hoping it was a tragic mistake. How could a woman so full of life be suddenly gone?

The tribute flowers piled up at the gates of Kensington Palace for months to come. Many of us watched her funeral, as her grief-stricken sons followed her flower-draped casket, and cried, for their loss and ours. It was undeniable, our beautiful Princess, our recovering Princess, creating her own life for the first time, had died.


Patrick Demarchelier Photography

I was in London for the holidays that December and personally viewed the hundreds of memorial bouquets that were still being laid at the gates of Kensington Palace in memory of  Princess Diana. The season in London, somber and grieving, had lost some of the traditional sparkle that year.


Diana's story has always captivated me. Perhaps it is because she was almost exactly my age, born just two weeks before me, in July of 1961. Her wedding of the century was the summer I became engaged.  I watched through the night with my mom and sister, enjoying tea and crumpets, just like so many others around the world sharing that moment.  It was the stuff of fairy tales.


Diana's fashion sensibility certainly had a huge impact on international fashion marked with ruffles, bows at the neck, feminine styles, full sleeves and skirts of the early 1980's.  Her iconic hairstyle was copied around the world. I sported that same style for several years myself.


Clearly, Diana found her greatest joy in being a mom to William and Harry.  Their humanitarian efforts clearly have a direct link to how they were raised by Diana in my mind. I think she would be very proud of them today.


As I watched the Royal Wedding of William and Kate, I couldn't help but feel Princess Diana would have been pleased with William, and his choice of his beautiful new bride, Kate.  I was sorry that she missed out on being part of that momentous day and seeing a royal wedding about true love.

It would have been interesting to see how she would have handled the 'blended family' aspect of a family wedding and socializing with Charles and Camilla. My guess is she would've worn a knock out outfit, held her head high and smiled her signature smile.


Socialite Life

As I watched the younger generation of Royals presiding at the Queen's Jubilee and hosting the Summer Olympics 2012,  I could sense renewed pride and energy in London. On my most recent visit to London, the city again shines with a renewed sense of energy and life.


Over the years we witnessed Diana's metamorphosis from that painfully shy bride, through her difficult marriage as Princess of Wales with some scandalous moments of surviving and finding herself, all intently watched by millions of onlookers around the world.  At last evolving into a confident, self-assured woman who was recreating her own life on her terms this time.


 Diana's story gave me hope during my own time of heartbreak, and painful rebuilding. 


Diana was finally having some fun!


Her fashion sense showed a renewed confidence and updated body conscious style.


Diana wore this chic LBD on the same evening Charles was announcing his longtime affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles on national Television. This is a great example of how to make the best out of a challenging situation. #LBD saves the day.

I would have enjoyed seeing Diana at this stage of life. We would have both turned 52 last July, had she lived. I wonder how her style would have evolved and how she would have handled the challenges of the aging process.

Would she have ever found true love? Or had she already?

Or had she already?



                                   Life lessons learned from Princess Diana:

1- Marrying at 19 (or 20) is not necessarily a good idea. Additional growth, maturity, independence, and life experience can all enhance the decision-making process for such a huge commitment. Take it from the experiences of both Diana and me, there is no rush to marriage.

2- Doing for those less fortunate makes you happier and more fulfilled in life, even in the worst of times.

3- Play-even if you have to wear your roller-blades and walkman in the palace.

4- A hand written thank you note is a lovely gesture and a gift in and of itself.

5- Wearing a fabulous little black dress can always make you feel confident and sexy no matter how challenging the evening.

6- Getting away on a yacht in the Mediterranean is the perfect distraction from real life (second best is drooling over them on Pinterest).

7- A diamond encrusted tiara can't make your life a fairy tale, or bring true happiness. You have to create your best life for yourself.

8- Genuine love is worth the wait.

I'm not sure that Diana had yet found true love, but it seems she was beginning to find herself......

 the most important journey of all. 


Heather Lindstrom Signature