Princess Diana
Princess Diana's Blue 'John Travolta' Dress Sells For £240,000 Graeme Robertson/Getty Images

While Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s fairytale marriage did not work out in the end, their 1996 divorce would have meant a brand new start for the Princess of Wales. For her, it meant freedom from a loveless and miserable marriage and a chance to live her life the way she wanted to.

In fact, her fashion designer friend Gianni Versace noticed the positive changes happening to Princess Diana after her divorce. “There is a kind of serenity,” he told Vanity Fair in an interview, which was published in its July 1997 issue.

“I had a fitting with her last week for new suits and clothing for spring, and she is so serene. It is a moment in her life, I think, when she’s found herself — the way she wants to live.”

Unfortunately, Princess Diana would never be able to fulfill her dream of a new life. Just over a month later, Lady Di would perish in a Paris car accident, along with her boyfriend Dodi Fayed.

Despite her untimely death, Princess Diana was able to leave something behind for her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, as well as a few people who mattered most to her. Her last will and testament determined how her assets, valued at around £13 million after taxes, were to be divided.

In the original document, which Diana signed on June 1, 1993, she named her mother, Frances Ruth Shand Kydd, and Commander Patrick Desmond Christian Jermy Jephson, her personal secretary, as co-executors and trustees. However, she signed a codicil on Feb. 1, 1996, which removed the Commander and replaced him with her sister, Lady Elizabeth Sarah Lavinia McCorquodale.

Before taxes were deducted, Diana’s assets were valued at around £21 million, which was around $31.5 million at that time. This is composed of stock investments and other valuables such as jewelry that Diana accumulated over the years. However, the bulk of her assets reportedly came from the £17 million divorce settlement.

Princess Diana wanted 75 percent of her jewelry and other possessions to be divided equally between her two sons, William and Harry. The rest, which is 25 percent, was to be divided among her 17 godchildren. She also specifically mentioned that her royal butler, Paul Burrell, was to be given £50,000.

As for the bulk of her estate, Diana wanted it to be placed in a trust. She wanted William and Harry to have access to the trust only after they turned 25 years old.

However, Diana’s mother and sister, the named executors and trustees of her will, was allowed by the court to change a few details of her will. In fact, the biggest change affected both princes William and Harry. Instead of getting their share at the age of 25 as their mother would have wanted, they can only access the funds after they turn 30 years old, though they already received income from the fund when they turned 25.

Meanwhile, the other change affected Diana’s 17 godchildren. Instead of the 25 percent that they had to divide among themselves, the executors changed the terms so that each of Diana’s godchildren will only receive a single memento, and it had to be chosen by the executors themselves. Furthermore, it will only be given to them after Prince Harry turned 30.

Prince Harry
Prince Harry marks 70th anniversary of Monte Cassino battle. Thomas Toti/Flickr

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