All of Princess Diana's PEOPLE Magazine Covers Through the Years
The late princess, who would have been 60 on July 1, has appeared on the cover of PEOPLE magazine more than anyone else in the world
June 22, 1981: Lady Diana
At 19 years old, Princess Diana's very first PEOPLE cover was a "sneak preview" of her wedding to Charles, an article that featured details on all six of her wedding gowns, the A-list guest list and the "royal pain" of planning in the spotlight.
August 2, 1981: Good Show!
Following the couple's fairytale wedding, PEOPLE reporters uncovered all of the tiny details that went into making the big day a success. For example, to produce the silk for Diana's gown, the proprietor of Britain's only silk farm had volunteers scour the woods of two counties for the 20 bags of mulberry leaves needed to feed his hungry silkworms each day. Once the moth larvae had spun their cocoons, he and his wife reeled the silk skeins that made the cloth that was to be woven into Diana's wedding gown.
November 23, 1981: The Pregnant Princess
A baby on the way! An issue of PEOPLE leading up to the birth of Prince William offered up details on "nannies, nappies, names" and other plans Charles and Diana had for the heir to the throne.
July 5, 1982: Oh, Boy!
Diana's newborn son William didn' appear on the cover, but the beaming new mom (in a blue, polka dot dress Princess Kate channeled when introducing the world to Prince George in 2013) was a vision while leaving the hospital in London.
August 16, 1982: King of Hearts
Welcome, William! Diana's first son made his debut on PEOPLE, captured in "a touching moment for Diana and her little prince."
January 31, 1983: Diana's Ordeal
Paparazzi hounded the prince and princess on what was supposed to be a private trip to the Swiss Alps, leaving the woman called "shy Di" visibly angry at photographers and members of the press who followed her.
October 1, 1994: Di's Pride and Joy
A glowing Diana held newborn Prince Harry in photos featured on this 1994 cover, announcing that "little Prince Henry is checking into the royal nursery."
January 14, 1985: Harry
When Princess Anne and her husband, Capt. Mark Phillips, opted out of Prince Harry's late 1984 Christening, sending their young children alone, rumors of a feud between the pair and Diana grew. Diana and Charles chose not to name Anne godmother to either of their sons, and PEOPLE reported the women's matching "iron wills" often put them at odds.
May 20, 1985: Talk About Power Trips!
A 1985 story compared the simultaneous European trips of Charles and Diana — who explored Italy by yacht with William and Harry — and President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan, who had a more regimented tour through Germany and Italy.
July 22, 1985: Malice in the Palace
"Behind this facade is a willful woman who has family servants on the run and who's dancing the night away — sometimes without Charles," read PEOPLE's barbed account, which claimed Diana was "boldly displaying a new assertiveness and self-confidence" to the royal family. Stepping out alone both for official engagements and social events, "she seems eager to enjoy her unspent youth," PEOPLE editors in 1985 postulated.
November 11, 1985: What's Diana Worth to Britain?
A fashion feature on the young princess explored how Diana and her staff of three shopped for her 200-plus engagements a year. "What she wears is her choice and her taste," one close companion told PEOPLE. In contrast to the queen, a royal re-wearer, Diana often chose new looks, putting a heavy preference on British designers.
October 13, 1986: Fergie & Di, The Merry Wives of Windsor
"Eleven weeks after she wed Prince Andrew and nine weeks after their honeymoon in the Azores, the newest member of the House of Windsor has become a wildly popular costar in the royal road show," PEOPLE's story on Sarah Ferguson read. Fergie and Diana's fast friendship also gave fans something to root for, adding "a certain piquancy to the drama" of the royal family, PEOPLE's then-editors posited.
June 9, 1987: Save the Wales!
"Happily? Or just ever after?" PEOPLE asked as the couple marked six years of marriage. As a friend said of the pair's struggle to find common ground: ''He was a bachelor for a very long time before he got married. He got very set in his ways and has never made any real attempt to change.''
July 26, 1987: The Follies of Fergie & Di
The friendship between Fergie, then 27, and 26-year-old Diana was given a a misogynistic spin in much of the press throughout the 1980s. Dubbing the "naughty" royal wives "that international fun couple," PEOPLE's 1987 cover story said, "Di relishes Sarah's lighthearted company."
November 9, 1987: The Big Chill
Increasingly living apart, Charles and Diana reunited in the country for what was supposed to be a quiet weekend together, only for her to leave 21 hours after she arrived. As one insider told PEOPLE, "the bottom line is that with no completely convincing reason, the prince and princess are leading separate lives. It is clear that she is happier with her own set of friends in the south of England, while he is at his best living a rather Spartan life in the north. What is worse is that the time apart doesn't seem to bother them."
Spring 1988: All About Diana, The Private World of a Princess
A special edition about the young princess included features about her beautiful homes and jewels, her accessible fashion choices and her parenting style. "Privileged princes William and Harry have nannies and footmen, but it's Di who rules the roost," read one line.
April 25, 1988: Growing Up Royal
A photo with Harry focused on Diana's ability to keep her boys down to earth despite their pedigree.
August 1, 1988: Seven-Year Hitch
A psychologist spoke to PEOPLE about the truth beind the "seven-year itch" some say married couples face, pointing to examples of what Charles and Diana were weathering. However, the couple were still presenting a united front at times. ''There continues to be a lot of caring and mutual respect between [them]," one family source shared. Five couples married the same week as Charles and Diana spoke about their own seven-year itch symptoms, too.
October 31, 1988: Life Without Di
As Charles "fishes, paints, broods over the symbols in his dreams and dallies abroad, Diana gets a taste of single motherhood," read a cover foreshadowing the future of their relationship.
July 16, 1990: The Woman Who Will Be Queen
A thoroughly modern royal at the time, Diana gained popularity in part for her devotion to keeping things real. "She drives the kids to school, does aerobics, reaches out to AIDS patients — and struggles to make a difficult marriage work," read PEOPLE's cover.
February 11, 1991: Rich, Royal and ... Home Alone
By this time, the press was well aware that Diana and Charles, who was seeing Camilla Parker Bowles, were living separate lives. ''I believe that the marriage is stone dead,'' said a source. "I don't think there is animosity between them; it's worse than that. They just don't care anymore. It's just indifference.''
June 17, 1991: Wounded Prince
At school at Ludgrove in June 1991, Prince William was accidentally hit in the head with a golf putter and rushed into surgery with a fractured skull. The British press immediately called out Charles for leaving his son's bedside to attend to some official and private royal duties, as Diana continued to emerge as the more present parent, who "plans her professional schedule around the school calendar," PEOPLE wrote.
July 22, 1991: A Decade Later, Where Has Their Love Gone?
On the couple's 10th anniversary, many were speculating on the future of Charles and Diana's marriage. "Is he fit to reign?" read PEOPLE's cover. "Will they finally divorce?"
Fall 1990: The Decade of Diana
June 22, 1992: DIANA
''Behind the public smiles, Princess Diana is a lonely and unhappy young woman who endures a loveless marriage,'' wrote reporter Andrew Morton in his explosive biography Diana: Her True Story, which so shook the monarchy (and the country) that it was banned at Harrods. The reporter said he had cooperation from Diana's inner circle on the book. As he wrote, "[They] believed that for once the truth should be told about the difficult life Diana has led." After her death, Morton revealed that Diana herself had been his primary source via secretly recorded audio tapes.
June 29, 1992: Diana's Rival
A 1992 story on the increasing tension between Diana and Camilla told the story of Charles and Camilla's meeting years before Diana was even in the picture. Camilla, a friend told PEOPLE, "is able to relax Prince Charles. He feels cozy in her company."
April 13, 1992: Diana in Mourning
"A difficult month comes to a tragic end as the Princess of Wales copes with the sudden death of her father," read PEOPLE's cover. Diana was particularly close to her dad, Earl Spencer, who died unexpectedly of a heart attack that week at the age of 68.
August 3, 1992: Battling Bulimia, Diana's Diet Ordeal
In 1992, three different books about the royals alleged Diana struggled with bulimia, though the palace never addressed the rumors. Diana later revealed her struggle with the eating disorder in her 1995 Panorama interview.
September 14, 1992: Diana's Secrets
At the peak of the tabloid storm surrounding Diana, the August 1992 leak of a phone call between Diana and friend James Gilbey, published in The Sun, raised eyebrows as she described life with Prince Charles as "real torture," among other confessions. That same week, a man came forward to say he witnessed "indiscreet action" between the princess and her riding instructor, Maj. James Hewitt.
November 30, 1992: It's Over
The news of Charles and Diana's official separation was met with just two words on this cover.
December 21, 1992: Diana Makes a Deal
With the separation official, "she gets what she wants," PEOPLE brazenly declared. "Palace digs, co-custody of the kids and a chance to be queen."
April 12, 1993: Diana on Her Own
A post-separation cover touted "the perils — and pleasures — of life without Charles," as Diana found life without the full protection of the monarchy could be both freeing and unsettling.
September 6, 1993: Battle for the Boys
With their parents living separately, William and Harry were treated to special vacations — like their famous trip to Walt Disney World in Florida in August of 1993 — but also subject to endless press scrutiny.
December 6, 1993: Diana's Lonely Battle
One year after Charles and Diana separated, the princess joked at a Nov. 4 event, "I thought I might postpone my nervous breakdown." But it wasn't funny: a friend told PEOPLE the mom of two was "'shattered and overstressed,'' spending much of her time alone.
June 13, 1994: Diana's Daring New Life
By the summer of 1994, PEOPLE declared that Diana was "liberated" and raised an eyebrow at her then-radical pursuit of "holistic healing" and "aromatherapy." Meanwhile, the British press criticized her for having too much fun in her post-Charles life.
September 5, 1994: Diana on the Edge
The British tabloid News of the World claimed that, over a period of 18 months, the princess had made as many as 300 anonymous calls to platonic confidant Oliver Hoare. Though Hoare was acting as a go-between for Charles and Diana during a rocky time, and listening when Diana had something to say, the tabloid alleged that she would frequently call his home without saying anything, staying on the line quietly as Hoare asked who was there.
October 17, 1994: Diana's Secret Lover
When Life Guards officer James Hewitt, with whom Diana eventually admitted to having an affair, spoke for a book about his time with the princess, 75,000 copies sold in one day. Princess in Love revealed intimate details of the pair's relationship, and left Diana "bitterly hurt," a source told PEOPLE.
October 31, 1994: He Never Loved Her
In a June 1994 interview, Charles shocked the nation when he admitted to committing adultery. A November 1994 book by the journalist who conducted the interview, Jonathan Dimbleby, went even further, excerpting Charles' private diary entries about his wife, his parents and royal life. "Frequently I feel ... that I'm in a kind of cage, pacing up and down and longing to be free," he wrote in 1986, five years after his wedding to Diana.
November 6, 1995: Royal Roulette
In an example of the pervasive misogyny of the media coverage at the time, Diana's so-called "homewrecker image" was pitted against Camilla in a showdown described as "royal roulette."
December 4, 1995: Diana's Revenge: Take That
Diana sat down for an interview with now-disgraced former BBC journalist Martin Bashir in late 1995, discussing everything from her mental health struggles to her husband's affair with Camilla, famously saying, "Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded." An official BBC inquiry this year concluded Bashir used "deceitful methods" to secure the interview, which had devastating consequences for Diana and hastened her divorce from Charles.
March 11, 1996: DI-VORCE! Her Future Begins
A photo of a confident Diana set the tone for the first issue after news of her divorce from Prince Charles broke on Feb. 28, 1996. They'd been separated for four years, and as one London reporter told PEOPLE, their situation "was beginning to divide not only politicians but the people of this country. The situation can only improve."
Spring 1996: The Diana Years
Another special issue focused on Diana's life in the spotlight, from "her dazzling debut to the divorce and beyond."
June 17, 1996: Di Wows Chicago
"Putting aside her bitter divorce, a radiant princess lights up the Windy City," read the cover line following Diana's brief trip to the U.S. Fans lined the streets of Chicago to catch a glimpse of the royal as she visited Cook County Hospital — the inspiration for ER — and a fundraiser at the Field Museum of Natural History, where Michael Jordan's mother dropped off autographed Bulls gear for William and Harry. Diana's three-day visit was expected to raise $1.4 million, to be split among three charities: Northwestern University's Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center, Gilda's Club and London's Royal Marsden Hospital, of which Diana was president.
March 17, 1997: Class vs. Cash
The spring 1997 cover again pitted two royal women against each other, this time lauding Diana for devoting herself to "good works" while blasting newly single mom Sarah Ferguson for earning her own money.
August 25, 1997: A Guy for Di
Diana's relationship with Dodi Al Fayed was quite new in the summer of 1997 and had royal watchers wondering if the charming playboy was serious about the former princess — or "playing the field," as PEOPLE asked.
September 15, 1997
PEOPLE's tribute to Diana immediately following her shocking death at age 36 on Aug. 31, 1997 is the first and only issue of the magazine to run without a cover line.
September 22, 1997: Goodbye, Diana
The Sept. 22, 1997, PEOPLE focused on Diana's emotional funeral in London. Two billion people — the largest audience in television history — tuned in as the People's Princess was laid to rest following a service at Westminster Abbey. Friend Elton John memorably performed "Candle in the Wind" and her sons walked stoically behind her coffin, something Harry has since said was unbearably traumatic.
October 13, 1997: The Secret Diana Interviews
Weeks after Diana's death, British author Andrew Morton revealed that Diana had been the primary source behind his 1992 bestseller Diana: Her True Story.
October 20, 1997: The Diana Interviews
A week later, the Morton tapes, which Diana had secretly recorded, and the updated book were featured in a sequel PEOPLE cover. "She had this crying need to speak out," Morton said.
February 2, 1998: Diana's Legacy of Love
Months after her death, Diana's legacy endured in the lives of those she'd helped with her extensive charity work through the years. Several of them spoke to PEOPLE about how the princess helped them. "No one," says Ken Rutherford, a cofounder of the Landmine Survivors' Network, who accompanied Diana to Bosnia, "could bring attention to an issue like she could."
August 31, 1998: Diana's World, One Year Later
One year after Diana's death, PEOPLE scrutinized the lives of those closest to the late princess, including Prince Charles, Charles Spencer, Camilla and Princes William and Harry.
August 23, 1999: The Diana We Never Knew
Author Sally Bedell Smith released a biography of the princess. "Diana was trapped in a terrible hall of mirrors," Smith told PEOPLE. "There was a huge disconnect between her public persona and her private life." She argued, through interviews with friends and doctors, that Diana had undiagnosed borderline personality disorder, symptoms of which "include impulsiveness, feelings of abandonment and an inability to sustain relationships."
March 27, 2000: The Bodyguard's Story
Trevor Rees-Jones was the only survivor of the crash that killed Diana; in a book, he detailed the days leading up to the event and his five-week hospital stay afterward. Speaking to PEOPLE about the months following the crash, he said, "A couple of times I felt if I had died instead of [Diana and Dodi], it would have been much easier both for me personally and for everybody else."
June 25, 2001: The Sister He Knew
Diana's brother Charles Spencer spoke to PEOPLE four years after his sister's death, on what would have been her 40th birthday. "I imagine she would not have been looking forward to being 40," he said. "She was always conscious of her age and appearance. But I can't see her losing that happiness and strength she had achieved." After her painful marriage, he added, "she had reached the rebirth stage and was ready to move on."
April 3, 2006: Shocking New Evidence
Nine years after her tragic death, comments made by Lord Stevens, chief investigator of the government probe into the deaths of Diana and Dodi Al Fayed, implied the questions involved in the investigation were "far more complex ... than any of us thought."
June 4, 2007: Diana's Boys
"The most important thing to Diana was to make sure her boys grew up to be normal human beings," a family friend told PEOPLE. "And apart from the fact that everyone in the world knows their faces, they are very normal boys. That is Diana's legacy."
August 7, 2017: The Real Diana
Twenty years after Diana's death, PEOPLE spoke to some of those who knew her best, including her brother Charles Spencer, who remembered her as "incredibly brave."
Summer 2021: PEOPLE Royals
Princess Diana's most recent PEOPLE cover appeared on the summer issue of the new quarterly magazine PEOPLE Royals. In a story about how she "changed everything" in the monarchy, friends and confidants detailed how "her extraordinary life set the path for William and Harry today."