More than a Princess

Video highlights from Diana: In Her Own Words

Clearing landmines in Angola, raising awareness for AIDS and leprosy just a few of the 100+ charities she supported

Princess Diana was one of Britain’s most lovable Royals and perhaps the most controversial in our lifetime, she was a hot topic for tabloid gossip and was front page news consistently. Despite the conspiracy that surrounded her, Diana is remembered for so much more than just a headline, earning her the title: “the people’s princess.”

Diana revolutionised how we view royalty. n a time where royals were divorced from the public, she worked and interacted with the people, she is famously quoted saying:

I would like a monarchy that has more contact with its people.

Until her untimely and controversial death, this was her mantra and became a patron of 100 different charities at one time.

Diana visited hospitals and schools and spent days speaking with ‘the people.’ She is said to have called the constant media coverage of her “intolerable”, but she famously manipulated tabloid media and paparazzi in efforts to call attention to her various charities.

Diana: In Her Own Words Premieres Tuesday 15th August 7.30pm AEST on National Geographic 

Of her charities, Diana’s role clearing landmines in Angola was particularly prominent. So much so, she visited Angola in 1997, a trip that was heavily covered by various media companies. She was captured walking among a recently cleared minefield in the famous documentary: Heart of the Matter.

I’d read the statistics that Angola has the highest percentage of amputees anywhere in the world, that one person in every 333 had lost a limb, most of them through land mine explosions. But that hadn’t prepared me for reality.

The coverage of Diana in Angola seized the world’s attention on a relatively unknown issue, and since, support for the cause continues. Prince Harry now leads the Charity, The Halo Trust.

During a time where HIV/AIDS was so feared people thought it was transmitted via touch, Diana opened and visited Britain’s first AIDS ward at Middlesex Hospital. She famously spoke to and visited the patients in the wards even shaking hands with HIV-positive patients without wearing gloves, demystifying AIDS and how it’s contracted.  She has been praised for bringing awareness to the disease. Gavin Hart of the National AIDS Trust said of Diana at the time of her death:

In our opinion, Diana was the foremost ambassador for AIDS awareness on the planet, and no one can fill her shoes in terms of the work she did.

She was the Patron of The Leprosy Mission and helped remove the stigma surrounding the disease. She visited Leprosy hospitals in Zimbabwe, Nepal and India and spent time with the patients, again dismissing the myth that Leprosy may be spread through touch.

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,

Diana’s contribution and commitment to charity work should be how we remember her. So much so, that at the time of her death she inspired the public to donate 44 million dollars to the Princess Diana Memorial Fund which has since awarded 727 grants to 471 organisations, and spent 145 million dollars on different charities.

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