Before her tragic death at the age of 36, Princess Diana captivated people around the world with her charm, grace and humility. She remains a source of fascination, explored in movies, documentaries, musicals and beyond.
But if you want to dig deep into Diana's legacy, it's worth checking out the best books about the late royal. Many words have been written about Lady Diana Spencer, both before and after she died in 1997. The tenor of the books change depending on when they came out.
For example, Andrew Morton's "Diana: Her True Story," published in 1992, had ramifications for Diana's life as a royal — the tell-all spilled details about her marriage to Prince Charles. After Diana's death, Morton confirmed that Diana herself was a source for the book. But Tina Brown's "Diana Chronicles," published ten years after the fatal accident, was a look back at Diana's personality and legacy, with her death providing context.
The lasting impression she left on the world has only deepened over time, as part one of Season Six of "The Crown" releases on Nov. 16, which will depict the last few months of Diana's life before her death on Aug. 31, 1997.
Whether you’re an expert on the People's Princess or would simply like to learn more about her, there are plenty of books chronicling her incredible life. These 14 are a great place to start.
Biographies about Princess Diana
Initially published in 1992, this biography gives intimate details about the princess's life, touching on topics ranging from her troubled marriage to the prince to her relationship with Queen Elizabeth II. Morton and Diana denied that she was a source for the book, but after Diana's death, Morton revealed otherwise, per Frontline. In 1997, Morton republished a revised version of the biography that included a 18,000-word transcript of tape recordings that Diana made during the creation of the book.
This New York Times bestseller is the brainchild of Tina Brown, the former editor-in-chief of the British gossip magazine Tatler, Vanity Fair, the New Yorker and Talk. Written with effervescent and witty language and informed by close access to the people who knew Diana best, the biography chronicles the relationships that played a major role in Diana's life, including her interactions with her mother, grandmother, stepmother, the queen, Camilla Parker-Bowles and Sarah, Duchess of York.
Featuring over 100 images from Diana's fascinating life, this photography book is perfect for anyone who wants a light read (or a fixture for the coffee table). Tina Brown penned a forward for the book, which follows Diana from her early days to her relationship with Charles to her motherhood journey and her philanthropic work.
This more recent release comes from bestselling novelist James Patterson, with contributions from Chris Mooney. The biography takes a close look at the private life of the Princess of Wales and her relationship with her beloved sons, William and Harry. Written by one of the world's most renowned authors, the family saga reads like a novel.
Books from people who knew Princess Diana
Where better to learn more about Lady Diana than from her son himself? Prince Harry's book, "Spare," contains memories he has of his mother, plus personal details about how he coped with her death as a child. While the memoir doesn't focus solely on Diana, those looking to learn more about her relationship with her children will be sure to find previously unreported stories about the princess inside its 416 pages.
"The Diana I Knew: Loving Memories of the Friendship Between an American Mother and Her Son's Nanny Who Became the Princess of Wales" by Mary Robertson
Mary Robertson knew Diana long before she became the "people's princess." The friends met in the early 1980s, when Diana watched over Robertson's son a few days a week. In this book, Robertson recalls the early days of their friendship and shares details about Diana's personality, lineage and life as a member of the royal family.
If you're curious about the lead-up to, and the aftermath of, the fatal accident in the Pont d'Alma Tunnel that killed Diana and two others, this is the exhaustive account to check out. Andersen, who went on to write other accounts of Diana's life including one about her relationship with her sons, zeroed in on the circumstances surrounding the late royal's death, featuring interviews from people adjacent to the accident.
You get to know a person pretty well when you work in their home, and Paul Burrell formed a close bond with Diana during his time as her butler. The author, who also worked for the queen and Charles, shares intimate details about the Diana he knew behind-the-scenes of palace life in this book.
Ken Wharfe learned a lot about the inner workings of Diana's life as a royal when he was her bodyguard, and he witnessed many difficult times in the young princess’s life. Following her death, he penned this New York Times bestseller to share his firsthand account of their time together.
Fiction about Princess Diana
Monica Ali's novel based on the Princess of Wales stands apart from the biography crowd and poses the following question: What if Princess Diana hadn't died? In the novel, Ali explores the life Diana could have had in her 40s and beyond through a fictional heroine who shares some of the struggles Diana once navigated, including disordered eating and a troubled marriage.
Books about Princess Diana's style
"Diana: Style Icon: A Celebration of the fashion of Lady Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales" by Dan Jones
Can't get enough of Diana's iconic style? This book takes a unique approach to chronicling some of her best sartorial moments with beautiful illustrations. It follows her fashion evolution with 50 looks — including a chapter entirely dedicated to "revenge looks." Yes, the "revenge dress" makes an appearance.
Princess Diana wasn't the only royal whose style left a lasting impression on society. In this glossy read, style journalist Elizabeth Holmes explores the influence that four members of the royal family had on the fashion world. In addition to Princess Diana, her sons' wives — Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex — are also included, as is Queen Elizabeth II.
Diana was a true style icon, and we're still talking about some of her most memorable fashion moments today. In this photograph-rich read, British fashion journalist Eloise Moran interprets some of the princess's most stunning outfits and speaks with several people who once dressed her for insight. “What Lady Di couldn’t express verbally, she expressed through her clothes,” the book description reads.
In one of the newest books on Diana, royal biographer Brian Hoey pays tribute to the iconic Princess of Wales. Hoey met Diana on several occasions and even interviewed her, and his 96-page book is fully illustrated with photographs featuring Diana's style and her life as a royal. Hoey is the author of three dozen other books about royalty, ranging from Diana to Queen Elizabeth II.