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By Niyah Martin, Intern
Princess Diana has left an unbelievable mark on history. She was a free spirit and a fierce activist that sought to bring about change. After falling in love, her life would never be the same as she was thrown into an unfamiliar, royal world. Despite the incessant harassment that she faced from the media, she continued to stay true to herself and nurture everyone around her. It was her shy, humble nature and her noble philanthropy that captivated the world. Today, she is endearingly remembered as a powerful icon with many contributions to the betterment of society.
Diana Frances Spencer was born in July of 1961 in Norfolk, England. Her family had ties within royalty as both her mother and father were heirs. However, this commonality, did not stop them from separating later in their marriage. Following her parents’ divorce, her father raised her and her three other siblings in a comfortable environment on Royal grounds. After her father’s inheritance of the Earlship, Diana Frances Spencer became Lady Diana in 1975.
Lady Diana had a brilliant mind with a talent for the arts and she went to many schools as a young girl. She received her education from Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk and West Health School in Kent. She would go on to complete her education at Chateau d’Oex in Switzerland. After finishing school, she returned to England to pursue her bright dreams of becoming a teacher.
Shortly after beginning her career, Diana fell in love. She and Prince Charles, the direct heir to the British throne, began their courtship in 1980. As a result of the courtship, Diana was thrust into the media spotlight. The nation became enthralled with Prince Charles’ new romantic interest. Diana was a beautiful woman with a unique sense of style that was unbeknownst to any Royal before her time. Her coy and reserved demeanor captured the hearts of millions worldwide and she quickly became a popular figure.
The media followed the couple on their journey to the altar as the world demanded more of Lady Diana. Charles and Diana were married at St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1981, a widely televised event. After the marriage, Lady Diana became Princess of Wales, and with that title came with larger-than-life changes. Media frenzies would become more frequent and torment the young princess, especially after the birth of her sons, William, and Harry.
Diana gave birth to Prince William in June of 1982 and Prince Harry in September of 1984. Despite the overwhelming attention from the press and the burdensome responsibility of being a princess, Princess Diana never let anything get in the way of the relationship with her sons. She made sure that William and Harry went to school, took trips, and enjoyed fun activities just as they were regular people. One of her famous qualities was her devotion to her children, and her number one priority to ensure that they experienced the simple joys of life.
Princess Diana was just as committed to the betterment of the world as she was to William and Harry. She was not just any Royal, but a personable, compassionate human being. During her reign, she visited with citizens and listened to their worries. In her lifetime, Princess Diana became the patron for over one hundred charities such as the Royal Marsden Hospital NHS Trust and The Leprosy Mission. These charities advocated for disabled victims, childhood cancer patients, the homeless and many others. These charities allowed her to travel the world and visit the areas of need.
Princess Diana is most known for her contribution to the National AIDS Trust. HIV/AIDS took the world by storm in the early 1980’s and many members of society looked down upon victims. Princess Diana spoke out for those affected, helped educate the masses, and funded further research surrounding HIV/AIDS. She used her media influence to motivate a change in attitude regarding those affected by the epidemic.
Princess Diana also worked adamantly to ban land mines. Her concern for child safety was the main motivation for her work with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. The campaign persuaded countries with significant amounts of landmines to sign the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty. The Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty prohibited the use and production of land mines. Due to their efforts, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. Today, the campaign works to support landmine victims and continues to prevent the construction of landmines internationally.
The media painted Princess Diana as the epitome of feminine beauty, and she dominated many headlines for her graceful image. Due to the media’s obsession, she became the most photographed person of her time. In 1999, she was featured in the TIME magazine 100 Most Important People list.
Princess Diana would give to others until her unfortunate and untimely death in late August of 1997 at the age of 36. She is remembered amongst the world as the ‘people’s princess’ because she made the public feel seen and heard. Not only did she nurture and care for those around her, but she used the resources that were at her disposal to help others. She will always be cherished as a strong woman with an enormous heart. Princess Diana was a caring mother, a powerful activist, and a media icon. Her contributions to society are unmistakable and her name will remain in high regard for years to come.
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