Princess Diana remembered as ‘a lasting figure’ who ‘moved the dial’ on social issues

Princess Diana remembered on 24th anniversary of death

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Princess Diana’s charity work has been remembered on the anniversary of her death, with the Princess of Wales praised for her philanthropic work. Throughout her royal career, the Princess of Wales became known for breaking royal boundaries with her affectionate approach to the public, and was a Patron to over 100 organisations during her lifetime. Despite her separation from Prince Charles, the Princess continued with her charity work throughout the 1990s, and was regarded as one of the most influential people in the world. 

Historian and journalist Andrew Roberts told the Today Show: “Diana will always be a lasting figure, she was a great philanthropist, she was a person who moved the dial on many social issues.

“At the same time also, she is the mother of the next but one king of England.”

Unlike other members of the Royal Family, Princess Diana gathered popularity for her informal approach when greeting members of the public. 

She was famously photographed hugging a seven-year-old child with AIDS during a visit to Harlem Hospital Centre in New York. Despite the public stigma around AIDS, Princess Diana would often make physical contact with victims, saying: “HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it.”

She continued her work with victims of HIV throughout the 1990s, establishing a number of organisations and centres such as the Landmark Aids Centre in South London. 

Princess Diana also worked closely with charities combating leprosy and through the organisation Leprosy Mission, she visited hospitals in Indonesia, India, Nepal, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. She would often stroke the limbs and hold the hands of victims, in an attempt to offer comfort and de-stigmatise the disease. 

Her other charitable work included raising awareness for landmines, cancer patients and children’s wellbeing. 

After her separation from Prince Charles in 1992, she continued to represent the Royal Family and conducted a number of solo tours and engagements. 

Princess Diana had begun her public career at the young age of 20, after she married Prince Charles in a highly publicised wedding at St Paul’s Cathedral in 1981. 

The couple went on to have two children together, Prince William and Prince Harry, but cracks within the marriage began to appear as early as 1983. 

By 1992 the couple were separated. Both admitted to infidelity and following Princess Diana’s tell-all interview with BBC Panorama in 1995, the couple announced that they intended to divorce. 

Despite this, Diana’s popularity with the public and with the British press remained high, and she was regarded as both a style icon and the most photographed woman in the world. 

During a visit to Paris with new partner Dodi Fayed, she was tragically killed after her vehicle lost control in a tunnel on August 31, 1997. 

At the time of her death, she was being pursued relentlessly by the paparazzi. 

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Her sudden death at the age of 36 prompted widespread mourning, with an estimated 60 million flowers being left outside her home at Kensington Palace. 

Since her death, her sons Prince William and Prince Harry have taken over many of her former patronages, in an attempt to continue her humanitarian legacy. 

The brothers established the Heads Together campaign to continue her work with mental health and both Princes have worked with HIV/AIDS charities to continue her work. They are also patrons to a number of organisations tackling child poverty in Africa, leprosy and wildlife conservation. 

In order to commemorate Princess Diana, Kensington Palace opened the gates to the Sunken Garden today, for members of the public to view the new statue dedicated in her honour. 

Prince Harry and Prince William commissioned the statue in 2017, to reflect her humanitarian work and dedication towards the end of her life. 

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