The People’s Princess 20 years on

Princess Diana meets Barnardo's workers at Chatsworth House in July 1986.
Princess Diana meets Barnardo's workers at Chatsworth House in July 1986.

It is 20 years today since Diana, Princess of Wales, died.

The princess, arguably the most famous woman in the world, lost her life aged 36 on August 31, 1997, following a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris, France.

Princess Diana at Whittington Hall Hospital, Chesterfield, in June 1993.

Princess Diana at Whittington Hall Hospital, Chesterfield, in June 1993.

As these pictures from our archives show, the princess visited Derbyshire on a number of occasions and was always met by adoring crowds.

She regularly consulted Derbyshire psychic, Rita Rogers, and classed her as such a good friend that she even bought her a bath.

Speaking to us in 2001, Rita said: “I loved her to bits and still do – she was a very big believer in my work.

“Diana and I shared the same star sign – cancer.

Princess Diana with the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire in 1986.

Princess Diana with the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire in 1986.

“She said, ‘us cancers have got to stick together because we’re a breed of our own’.

“And when she came to visit, she loved coffee and bananas.

“I know she’s very happy now and extremely proud of her boys. She is very happy and I think it’s important for the public to know that.

“I feel she’s doing as good a job as she did down here.”

Princess Diana visits Riddings May 1992

Princess Diana visits Riddings May 1992

In 1997, the princess and Dodi Fayed – her boyfriend who also died in the crash – arrived at Rita’s home in Lower Pilsley in a Harrods helicopter.

Rita spoke of another time when the princess asked her: “If you could have anything in the world, what would it be?”

Rita replied: “I said a bath.

“I suffer from osteoporosis and hadn’t had a bath in five years – I had to have showers.

Princess Diana visits Riddings in May 1992.

Princess Diana visits Riddings in May 1992.

“Diana said, ‘consider it done’.

“Within a week, I had a beautiful bath installed with a chair to lower me in.

“Diana was a very warm person.”

Grassmoor’s Paul Burrell, the former butler to the princess, described her as an ‘incredible, unique and inspirational woman’.

Princess Diana in Ilkeston in December 1987.

Princess Diana in Ilkeston in December 1987.

Princess Diana greets crowds in Ilkeston during her visit to officialy open Ilkeston Community Hospital in December 1987.

Princess Diana greets crowds in Ilkeston during her visit to officialy open Ilkeston Community Hospital in December 1987.

Princess Diana in Youlgrave in March 1990.

Princess Diana in Youlgrave in March 1990.

Princess Diana in Chesterfield in November 1981.

Princess Diana in Chesterfield in November 1981.

Princess Diana in Chesterfield in November 1981.

Princess Diana in Chesterfield in November 1981.

Princess Diana in Chesterfield in November 1981.

Princess Diana in Chesterfield in November 1981.