Princess Diana of Wales’ legacy lives on years later after her premature death on Aug 31, 1997. Known as an independent thinker, Princess Diana used her media limelight 20 years ago to humanize the British monarchy and brought attention to the public relating major philanthropic issues around the globe.
Remembered as the ‘People’s Princess’, Princess Diana used the media frenzy surrounding her to bring attention to the causes and people that needed her the most during her reign. In 1996, a year before a deadly car crash in Paris, Diana was linked to more than 100 charities and organizations. Though Princess Diana often felt her role in the public eye and media to be intrusive, she used it to make waves. Among the most notable, Princess Diana changed the perception of HIV and AIDS when photographs emerged worldwide showing the princess shaking hands with AIDS patients after the opening of Britain’s first AIDS ward at Middlesex Hospital in 1987.
The photograph shocked the world and battled the thought of HIV and AIDS being transmissible from person to person by touch. The late princess additionally dismissed negative thoughts surrounding Leprosy patients, and was an advocate for The HALO Trust, an organization that works to protect and restore lives that are threatened by landmines and the debris of war.
Having belonged to a multitude of different organizations concerning the public and their well-being, Diana spent her time changing attitudes about several important humanitarian issues, and devoted her time to raising awareness.
On the 20th anniversary of her death, Aug. 21, 2017, the people of London remembered their late princess by visiting her former home, Kensington Palace. Photographs, flowers, and candles were left outside the palace as a tribute to Diana. Though her time was cut short, she is remembered today for her genuine interest in the people and dedicating her life to the improvement of lives for those who are disadvantaged.