Princess Diana captured the world’s attention as a royal trendsetter. But, during her time in the public eye, she also became a prominent philanthropic force.
Diana worked tirelessly on behalf of charities around the world.
20 years after her death, here’s why Diana will always be remembered as the “People’s Princess”.
She changed the face of the British monarchy.
Through all her charity work, Diana highlighted how royalty, could be in touch with the public. In her interview with BBC in 1995, she said: “I would like a monarchy that has more contact with its people”.
This statement became something of a personal mission for the Princess. Diana was the patron of over 100 charities. During her many visits to hospitals, schools and fundraising galas, she became known for spending hours talking to people and listening to their stories.
She changed the world’s perception of HIV and AIDS.
In April 1987, when speculation around the virus was rife, Diana was invited to open Britain’s first AIDS ward at Middlesex hospital.
Also read: How William, Kate, Meghan And Harry Are Free Because Diana Made Huge Sacrifice?
A photograph, which made front-page news around the world, showed her shaking hands with HIV-positive patients without wearing gloves.
This publicly challenged the notion that HIV/AIDS was passed from person to person by touch and highlighted Diana’s affection and compassion for people living with this disease.
She raised awareness of leprosy.
Like her AIDS efforts, Diana travelled to countries with a high leprosy rate in order to remove the stigma surrounding the disease.
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As patron of The Leprosy Mission, she visited hospitals in India, Nepal and Zimbabwe and by spending time with patients, she dispelled one of the myths surrounding the illness, that it can be passed on by touch.
She made regular personal visits to London’s homeless centers.
Despite relinquishing most of her charitable work after her divorce with Charles in 1996, Diana became patron of Centrepoint in 1992. She remained in the role until her death in 1997.
Both William and Harry were taken by the Princess to see the help offered at the charity’s shelters and at the age of 23, William followed in his mother’s footsteps when he became patron.
She reached out to children.
Diana displayed a great affinity for young people and became a champion for some them, who were the most vulnerable.
As patron of The Royal Marsden Hospital, known for treating childhood cancers, she was often pictured comforting children and made a personal connection with almost all of them.
Also read: Princess Diana’s Death Anniversary: Queen Pays Tribute To Diana.
Speaking about her work with the Royal Brompton Hospital, she said: “I make the trips at least three times a week. And, spend up to four hours at a time with patients holding their hands and talking to them”.
“Some of them will live and some will die, but they all need to be loved while they are with us. I try to be there for them as much as I can”.