Celebrities : Remembering Diana, the People’s Princess
Twenty years after Princess Diana’s tragic car crash in Paris that led to her untimely death, people around the world continued to love her. And not surprisingly.
Dubbed the People’s Princess, Diana lived a life of service to others. She did numerous charity works worldwide and used her name and fame to raise awareness on several causes and humanitarian issues of today such as poverty and homelessness, landmines, sick children, and various diseases most notably leprosy and HIV/AIDS.
Much of Princess Diana’s work on leprosy and HIV/AIDS was dedicated to removing the stigma attached to the aforementioned diseases. Her visits to the hospitals in countries with high leprosy rates such as India, Nepal, and Zimbabwe made waves because she would be photographed touching patients as she spent time with them. On leprosy, she was quoted as saying, “It has always been my concern to touch people with leprosy, trying to show in a simple action that they are not reviled, nor are we repulsed.”
When Princess Diana opened UK’s first AIDS ward in April 1987, she was photographed shaking hands with a patient. Without her gloves on, and this is apparently a huge deal because royal etiquette dictates she kept it on because yes, there is such a thing as royal protocols (According to a historian named Dr. Kate Williams, monarchs were “divinely appointed to rule by God” and that “they are treated as people set apart from the rest of us” meaning that “you don’t kiss them, you don’t touch them, you bow – over and over again.”)
Also, while more people now dared to shake hands or hug people with HIV/AIDS, this was not the case in the ’80s when too little information about the disease was known. Princess Diana’s display of compassion changed perceptions by showing that HIV/AIDS won’t spread through touching, hugging, or holding someone else’s hand. She reportedly once said, “HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them hug – heaven knows they need it.” And this was how Princess Diana earned her status as a gay icon, and rightfully so.
For her 20th death anniversary, HBO released a documentary titled Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy.
Thoughts? Share it with us in the comments section below.