The iconic royal, Diana Princess of Wales, would be 55 now. Diana was an inspiration to so many, and she was aptly dubbed the ‘People’s Princess’ owing to her kindness and compassion. Although Diana sadly passed away 18 years ago, her legacy continues to live on through her children, William and Harry, and her grandchildren, George and Charlotte, of whom we are sure she would be immensely proud.
On what is likely to be a reflective day for our royal family, we also reflect on the wonderful life she led. Here, we look back at the most memorable moments that truly capture Diana Princess of Wales as a style icon, philanthropist, and – of course – a loving mother.
1. Princess Diana’s Wedding in 1981
Lady Diana Spencer married Prince Charles in 1981 in what was called ‘the wedding of the century’. Her memorably large dress was designed by David and Elizabeth Manuel, consisting of huge puffed layers of taffeta, topped with lace, sequins and tens of thousands of pearls.
2. Her first appearance with her son, William
On June 21st 1982, Princess Diana appeared on the steps of St. Mary’s Hospital to introduce the new heir to the throne, Prince William. 2 years ago, William welcomed his very own heir on the same steps, alongside Kate Middleton who also donned blue polkadots.
3. Diana’s first major tour
In 1983, Diana accompanied Prince Charles and tiny baby William for her first major tour. The young royals visited Australia and New Zealand, meeting representatives of the Maori people. It was here that Diana first demonstrated her kindness to the people she met, leading to the nickname she held throughout the rest of her life of being the ‘People’s Princess’.
4. The birth of Prince Harry
Just two years after the birth of her first child, Princess Diana welcomed Prince Harry to the world on September 15th, 1984. Today, Harry follows in his mother’s footsteps as a philanthropic figure.
5. The Travolta Dress
Princess Diana was quickly becoming a style icon, and her appearance at a White House Gala cemented her in this role. While visiting President Reagan, Diana wore a stunning midnight-blue evening gown designed by Victor Edelstein. The dress was dubbed the ‘Travolta Dress’, as she danced with American heart-throb John Travolta at the gala, and the pictures of them gliding around the room circulated widely. In 2013, the dress was auctioned for £240,000, making it the most expensive auctioned dress.
6. Her role as President of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children
Princess Diana was involved in many charitable causes, but one of her most notable was the work she did with children. In 1989, she became the president of the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, and she regularly visited the hospital and supported them in their new developments.
7. The Leonardo Prize
In June 1995, Diana visited a children’s hospital in Moscow that she had previously supported through her charity work. While in the Russian capital, Diana was awarded with the Leonardo Prize, given to the most distinguished patrons and people in the arts, medicine and sport. This was to be the first in a series of prizes rewarded to her for her philanthropic work.
8. Her work with AIDs victims
In the 1980s and early 1990s, there was a huge stigma attached to those with HIV and AIDS, and they suffered immeasurably. Princess Diana played a huge role in de-stigmatising AIDS, first by shaking hands with an AIDS sufferer in 1987 when it was still unknown whether the disease could be contracted by physical contact. In 1989, she opened the Landmark AIDS Centre in South London, where she continued to work closely with the patients. Although this venture did not have the support of the royal family, her work continues to be recognised today as an act of extreme kindness and compassion towards a highly stigmatised group.
9. Her work with the Red Cross
Among Diana’s other notable charitable causes was the Red Cross, of which she became a patron in 1988. This role led her to travel the world in support of Red Cross projects. Here, she is pictured visiting the Red Cross centre in Nepal in March 1993.