To commemorate the 20 years since Diana’s life tragically and prematurely ended, we look at some interesting facts that you may not know about the People’s Princess.
She was, and continues to be, a huge inspiration in so many people’s lives. Diana was known for her work with many charities – including landmine charities – where she was famously filmed walking through a live minesite field; and her work with the children of Great Ormand Street Hospital. Her sons William and Harry, have requested that this 20-year anniversary is used to remember and celebrate her specific work with charities that aim to eradicate HIV and AIDS.
- Diana was the first figure with a notable public persona who held, touched and cuddled (cwtched!) HIV and AIDS victims. Many experts credit her with removing the stigmas associated with the disease – hysterically rife in the 1980’s and 1990’s.
- Talking about his mother’s death this year, Prince Harry gave a candid interview to Town and Country magazine, discussing his struggles with mental health issues whilst grieving for his mother. Continuing in the vein of Diana; Harry’s words further opened the debate about mental health attitudes in the UK.
- In her younger days, Diana worked as both a cleaner and babysitter, before finding a job as a primary school teacher. Originally, Diana wanted to be a ballerina; and studied dance as a child – unfortunately she became too tall to dance in the ballet – but always loved and supported the National Ballet.
- Anyone who grew up in the 1980’s and 1990’s will remember the controversy surrounding Diana, the Prince of Wales and Camilla; yet not so many know that Diana’s sister dated Prince Charles first!
- Diana became engaged to Prince Charles at the tender age of 19. She married her Prince at the age of 20, who was 12 years her senior. Charles was said to be under intense pressure from the Royal house to find a ‘suitable’ bride (* in other words – not Camilla) at the time.
- As most proud welsh citizens will know; Diana’s wedding dress was designed by Welsh designer, David Emanuele; and worn for the lavish wedding ceremony in 1981.
- Just two months before her death, Diana auctioned 79 of her dresses at Christie’s New York to raise money for HIV and AIDS. She rose $5.76 million for the charity. The idea had originally come from William, when he and his mother were discussing how to raise money for one of the causes that was so important to Diana.
- Famous goddaughter of Diana, Domenica Lawson, who has Down’s syndrome, recently hit back at a reality TV star who claimed people with the condition should be ‘put down’. Ursula Presgrave (BBC3’s, The Call Centre) who comes from Swansea, made the comments on Facebook: ‘Anyone born with Down’s Syndrome should be put down, it’s just cruel to let them lead a life of a pointless vegetable.’ Unsurprisingly, Presgrave was lambasted by the public – while Lawson, who replied to Presgraves comments via an online open letter – was celebrated for her dignity and self-possession in dealing with the verbal attack. Diana’s reported best advice to Domenica was to “believe in yourself”.
- The Diana Award, is a charity legacy that builds upon Diana’s belief that young people have the power to change the world. The charity has the enthusiastic support of Princes William Harry and their team at the Royal Charities Forum of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The mission is to foster, develop and inspire positive change in the lives of young people.
- Diana is buried on an island; situated in the middle of the Oval Lake; located in the family home grounds of Althorp Park.