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Marrying into the royal family brings a lot of change — especially if you are a commoner like Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. That said, Princess Diana wasn’t exactly a commoner before she married Prince Charles. She wasn’t a member of the royal family but, unlike her daughters-in-law, she came from a noble family that dates back all the way to the 15th century. And, due to her status, she had a royal title long before she became part of the Mountbatten-Windsor family.

Princess Diana
Princess Diana had a royal title long before she met Prince Charles. | Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images

What was Princess Diana’s title before marriage? Find out, plus how her royal title changed when she married — and divorced — Prince Charles, ahead.

What was Princess Diana’s title before marriage?

As the daughter of Viscount Althorp (and later an Earl Spencer), Princess Diana was born with a prominent title. Upon her birth, she was officially called The Honorable Diana Frances Spencer. But, when her father, John Spencer became the 8th Earl Spencer in 1975, she received a new royal status. From 1975 until her royal wedding day, Princess Diana was Lady Diana Frances Spencer — or, Lady Diana for short.

Lady Diana, Princess of Wales and Charles, Prince of Wales are seen during their wedding at St Paul Cathedral in London 29 July 1981
Lady Diana became Princess of Wales on her royal wedding day. | AFP/Getty Images

Princess Diana’s royal title

When Princess Diana married Prince Charles on July 29, 1981, she received a major title upgrade. After all, Diana went from Lady to Princess. Because she married the Prince of Wales, Diana automatically became Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales. In addition, she also adopted a few other royal titles, as Prince Charles was (and still is) also the Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay.

On top of being the Princess of Wales, Princess Diana was also Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall and, in Scotland, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Rothesay. However, in her life as a royal wife, most called her Princess Diana or the Princess of Wales.

Princess Diana
Princess Diana’s title changed after she divorced Prince Charles. | Royal Reviewer via YouTube

Princess Diana’s title after divorcing Prince Charles

After she and Prince Charles Divorced in 1996, the queen didn’t strip Princess Diana of her royal title. Instead, she changed it to a less prominent variation. From her royal wedding day until her and Prince Charles’s official split, Diana was known as Her Royal Highness The Princess of Wales. However, upon divorce, Princess Diana was simply Diana, Princess of Wales.

Despite remaining the Princess of Wales, losing Her Royal Highness status was a symbol of her connection to the royal family. She was no longer married to the British heir and therefore — as the crown probably saw it — no longer required such an important status.

In addition to Diana, Princess of Wales, the public and press continued to call her by her maiden title, Lady Diana or Lady Di. And, today, the late princess is still often referred to as Lady Diana, Lady Di, and Princess of Wales.

Princess Diana’s title after her death

Today, Princess Diana technically doesn’t hold a royal title. And, Camilla Parker Bowles is now the Princess of Wales. However, out of respect for the late princess, Prince Charles’s wife doesn’t go by the Princess of Wales. Instead, she goes by the Duchess of Cornwall.

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