This year marks the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. The tragedy occurred when the princess, still young at age 36, was killed in a car crash. The crash happened in an underpass in Paris in the early hours of August 30th, 1997. The collision resulted in Diana, accompanied by her boyfriend, Dodi Al-Fayed, and her bodyguard as they tried to evade a pursuing paparazzi car, causing the Mercedes-Benz they were in to smash into an underpass column at more than 100 miles an hour.
News of her death sent shockwaves around the world, resulting in a massive outpouring of grief for the former wife of the Prince of Wales, Charles, heir to the British throne. A year after Diana and Charles divorced, Diana died, and the entire globe mourned the passing of a woman universally loved. Countless flowers were laid at the gates of Buckingham Palace and outside her home of Kensington Palace, and tensions even simmered (whipped up by the newspapers) when the Queen remained out of the public eye.
The treatment of the Royal Family where Diana was concerned boiled over into real anti-Monarchy sentiment in the week leading up to her funeral. Her funeral was watched by 100s of millions of people worldwide, and through her sons, Diana's legacy remains strong. However, what if the series of disasters - such as the car's drunk driver, Diana wearing a seatbelt, among others - had not resulted in Diana's death?
15 William And Harry May Have Had A Step-Dad
Although the royal families of British and Middle-Eastern nations appear friendly with one another, they'd both find the idea of intermarriage distasteful. For one thing, those Royal houses are different religions, but even more so, Dodi Al-Fayed was technically a commoner, the son of the former boss of Harrods, Mohamed Al-Fayed who had to flee his native Egypt due to tax evasion - money he allegedly bought Harrods with.
The ingrained racism of the establishment was another reason that some ponder whether or not Diana was murdered because the Royals did not like Diana being seen with the son of a Muslim tycoon that was refused British citizenship twice. It also sets a quite scary insinuation that although those that divorce from the Royal Family (Diana, Sarah Ferguson, Mark Phillips) think they have left that life behind, often realize that the Royals are not so keen to let go to protect their image.
14 William And Harry May Have Had A Step-Sibling
Linked again to the conspiracy theories still and where the prejudice rears its head that Diana was pregnant and the establishment did not want a biracial relative of the royal family. Furthermore, a rigid and inflexible traditionalist monarchy would take to the idea of step-children with horror, at least 20 years ago. However, after the marriage of Prince Charles to Camilla Parker-Bowles, Royal stepkids did become a thing as Camilla had two children from her previous marriage.
So with this little modern snag, as a spoke in the wheel of the historic institution, the Royal Family needed to adjust - although Camilla was not young enough to have children when she married Charles. So at that time it was more convenient to relax the rules, even though many monarchs have had more than one wife in the past, Henry VIII the most famous of those to marry several times.
13 Camilla Parker-Bowles Might Be Accepted
Camilla Parker-Bowles always marred the marriage of Princess Diana and Prince Charles. Charles met Camilla in the 1970s, long before he met Diana when Camilla was married. The pair of them began a relationship which lasted the entire time the Prince of Wales was married - Camilla was even at his wedding to Diana - Camilla divorced her first husband in 1995, while Charles stayed married to Diana for another year after that (though they separated in 1992). In 1995, Diana gave an interview and claimed that there were three people in her marriage, referring to Camilla as the other woman. Ten years after Camilla's divorce and eight years after Diana's death, Charles finally married the woman he had been with for 30 years but if Diana lived, would public attitudes be more accepting? More than likely, Diana's presence would mean that Charles remarrying would cause a lot of strain on the Royals.
12 The Royals Would Be Less Popular
Nowadays the global brand of the royal family seems more on trend than ever, especially with the young, gorgeous couples like William and Kate, Harry and Megan Markle, new royal babies and Olympic champions like Zara Phillips. In the 90s though, the mood regarding the Royal Family was a lot more tepid than it is today with the now changing world rendered the Monarchy more and more meaningless. In 1992, the marriage of Charles and Diana fell apart, and Prince Andrew (the Duke of York) divorced his wife, Sarah Ferguson. Also, some parts of the ancient Windsor Castle caught fire, resulting in the Queen declaring 1992 as an "Annus Horribilis (Horrible Year)." When Diana died five years later, Royal's popularity was lower than ever, but it was seeing the strength of her kids that made the establishment popular again, so her being alive probably meant a more stuffy, removed monarchy.
11 William And Harry Might Not Be Close With Their Mother
William's relationship with Kate Middleton was a breath of fresh air in the post-Diana world, two youngsters meeting at college and falling in love. Meanwhile, Prince Harry's youth was marked with some serious partying and womanizing although both Diana's children have inherited their mother's sense of social responsibility. Harry's recent launch of the Invictus Games gave many injured veterans a new lease on life competing in sports on an international world stage. He has also led many expeditions to the North Pole with British veterans for charity, but with their mother around, things between her and Charles may have remained more strained. Meaning they would possibly have had less public exposure as the bitter games that divorced people play may have influenced their lives much more, with the Royals isolating Princess Diana from her sons.
10 Celebrity Culture (And The Internet) Would Meet Diana
Princess Diana was by far one of the most sought-after people in the public eye, hence the reason the paparazzi drove her to distraction and death. Her eminent status meant she had access to some of the most prominent stars and rubbed shoulders with the people like Elton John (consoling him at Gianni Versace's funeral). She was also friends with George Michael, and on her first trip to America, she requested a dance with John Travolta, a demand that was granted. It seems that there was an increased spike in reality TV spiked soon after Diana's death and although this was likely not connected, the pull of the world's media towards Princess Diana's natural beauty and grace carried so much weight that the press gravitated towards her. She certainly never needed to resort to her ass breaking the internet, or repetitive reality shows or pouting on the red carpet, just being Diana always meant a draw for the public.
9 Diana's Charitable Causes
Princess Diana's considerable star power and iconic presence was something the late Princess used to significant effect. She would use the press to her advantage and pretend to try and sneak into hospitals late at night to avoid the paparazzi, who would receive a tip-off and then her charities would get splashed all over the newspapers. Diana was the first person of her status to shake hands with an AIDS patient and do so without gloves, breaking the protocol between Royal and commoner. At the same time, she shattered the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS and humanized the people suffering from the condition. Not long before her death, Diana raised the attention of landmines, and in the age of social media, her philanthropy could be stronger still, by taking to social media in order to highlight the issues that were dear to her heart, increasing her influence even further than before.
8 She Would Be The Mother-In-Law
Kate Middleton has now taken the place of the beautiful, graceful elegance that was left behind by her mother-in-law. William met Kate when he was studying at St Andrews in Scotland, and their relationship blossomed from there, after some time apart, the pair reunited and announced their engagement. The audience for William and Kate's marriage was only eclipsed by William's parents in 1981 but what would be different had Diana lived? Would William have traveled so far to university if his mother was around, or met Kate at all? William and Kate (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) often holiday at the Middleton's in the Festive Season, Diana would have something to say about that, surely? Plus, there is Megan Markle. How would Diana take to a starlet dating her prized Prince Harry? Mothers tend not to take too well to the women who steal their son's hearts, even if that son is a future king that requires an heir!
7 Prince Harry Might Be A Bit More Stable
Prince Harry's youth was marked some wild partying and a little controversy, such as turning up to a fancy dress party in a Nazi uniform. Also, pictures of the Prince naked emerged online and caused a small stir, but he eventually brought himself around and managed to piece his life together, serving in the British Armed Forces. On top of this Harry has taken much of his mother's philanthropy on board with him, especially where army veterans are involved, which seems to have helped his mental health. Harry was 13 when his mother died, and it clearly affected him very badly, he recently recounted how dealing with his mother's death led Harry down a spiral of depression related to grief at his mother's passing, something that took him years to deal with. Obviously, Diana not passing would mean less trauma for Prince Harry and a much different life, perhaps one marked with less controversy?
6 Diana Remarries?
Although touched upon regarding her relationship with Dodi Al-Fayed who died alongside her, he was not the only man she had a relationship with. Since she split from Prince Charles and even during her marriage to him, some media speculation pondered whether or not Diana had an affair with the England rugby captain at the time, Will Carling. There is also the rumor that Diana had an affair with ex-army major, James Hewitt to the point where another conspiracy theory exists that Prince Harry is James Hewitt's son and not Prince Charles' - the fact that he looks pretty similar (due to Harry resembling his Spencer family heritage rather than Windsor relatives). Several relationships were had by Diana before she got together with Dodi, so whether their relationship got more serious or not; eventually one may have, and it is not beyond the realms of possibility that she would remarry.
5 Staying With Dr. Hasnat Khan Could Have Saved Her Life
The doctor from England is an award-winning heart and lung surgeon who remains at the pinnacle of his career and well respected by peers and the public alike. Although he also captured the princess' heart too, the pair were allegedly in a relationship throughout the mid-90's. Diana became so devoted to D. Khan that he was the love of her life, although their relationship did not work out. Being the boyfriend of the Princess of Wales would not be an easy thing with constant pressure from the media, dogged relentlessly by photographers. Splitting with Hasnat Khan left Princess Diana heartbroken, and as a result, she began a rebound relationship, with Dodi Al-Fayed. It is then perhaps worth noting that if Diana and Hasnat Khan had remained together, even for a little longer than they did, she may still be alive, meaning it would be likely that she wouldn't have even been in Paris that fateful night.
4 Diana Would Still Be A Charity Ambassador
Numerous famous people are noted for their charitable work, Paul Newman, Sir Bob Geldof, and Leonardo DiCaprio champion causes to try and make the world a better place. Angelina Jolie's work has grown so significant that she has attained a UN Ambassador status and also is a guest lecturer at a leading UK university on human rights. Princess Diana eventually became as famous for her charity as for being the wife of a future King - as well as the mother of one too. Landmines formed the bulk of her activism towards the end of her life, so it is not too far beyond the reaches of imagination to think that eventually, Diana's work would have led to collaborations with the UN, the Red Cross, and other major global organizations. Possibly even higher ranking positions in the UN too, with her connections not only to major stars but to royalty too, Diana would have been a valuable asset, as proven while alive.
3 More Memoirs And Media Attention
The spotlight remained a constant glare for Princess Diana, even when she tried to do things in private, a legion of reporters and paparazzi would appear as a combination of stalkers and hauntings alike. During her lifetime, a movie was produced about her, a book (an official biography) and much of the world remembers her intimate and rather seismic TV interview she did with journalist Martin Bashir.
Recently, new footage was released with the princess being filmed talking candidly about her life as a Royal. It is not beyond the realms of possibility then that if she had not died then more attention would get showered on her and this would come in the form of lucrative offers for interviews and the publishing of memoirs. Even now, 20 years after her death, a movie starring Naomi Watts as Diana is due for release, and Helen Mirren won an Oscar for portraying the Queen during the week of Diana's death, so a living Diana would have had far more celebrity status.
2 Paparazzi Pestering
The paparazzi are an annoying aspect for many of the rich and famous, and although some fans and the general public may think such attention is a trade-off for being famous, some can empathize with how intrusive photographers get. The paparazzi often cross the boundaries of decency, and it is little wonder that people sometimes snap when a huge camera pokes in their faces, and Princess Diana was at the receiving end of this regularly.
Diana always had to sneak around after being routinely hounded since her engagement to Prince Charles, although she did learn to play them a little, making sure paps got tipped off when she visited the charities she championed. However, as the paparazzi caused her death, special cautions are now taken where Prince William, Kate Middleton, and their kids are concerned, and even Prince Harry had room to learn from mistakes and grow into a beloved figure.
1 No Conspiracy Theories
When a major worldwide event happens, there is no shortage of conspiracy theories surrounding these shocking occasions. Everyone is familiar with the faked moon landings, and the rumors of 9/11 being orchestrated by the US government, even more, outlandish is that the moon is a hollow base or that Michelle Obama is a man! One of the more popular conspiracies is that Princess Diana's death was not an accident, one of the more popular rumors is that her death was ordered by Prince Philip, the Queen's husband, the Duke of Edinburgh.
Being somewhat old-fashioned and from a bygone era, Philip's displeasure with Diana's carefree single life angered him and tarnished the stuffy royal image. The car pursuing Diana and Dodi's was never found either, fuelling speculation further, people asking questions (including many in the media) where did the small Volkswagen go that pursued the Mercedes to its destruction?