Prince Harry and Prince William take after their late mom, Princess Diana, in many ways, especially where it concerns their passion for charity. The two princes have vowed to keep their mom's memory alive by fighting for the causes she cared about and bestowed on to her sons, and these six causes Princess Diana was passionate about show just how much the late princess cared for others and why she earned the title of "the people's princess."
Princess Diana would have turned 58 this year, according to E! News. But in 1997, her life was unexpectedly cut short after she died in a car crash, according to The Telegraph. However, her legacy continues to live on, especially through her charity work and the causes she championed for.
When Diana joined the United Kingdom's royal family in 1981, she took on a whole bunch of causes. She became a face of the family, which meant appearing at charities and talking to others. Through this work she was able to meet with people, share her passion, and advocate for others with a voice that was less quiet than her own.
Princess Diana was known as the "people's princess" for a reason — she was known for reaching across boundaries to care for all people. The following six causes highlight why this title fit her perfectly.
1. She Brought Awareness To HIV/AIDS
In 1987, Diana opened Britain's first AIDS ward at Middlesex Hospital, according to Harper's Bazaar. During the visit, she was photographed shaking hands with an HIV-positive patient without wearing gloves, which broke a huge stigma surrounding AIDS and HIV, according to POPSUGAR. After this, she continued to embrace HIV positive patients and bring awareness to a huge issue in the world at the time. This makes sense because as a patron of the National AIDS Trust, Diana was "responsible for one of the biggest shifts in public awareness of HIV and AIDS", according to the National AIDS Trust.
When she died, she was acknowledged for being such an important figure in the community. "In our opinion, she was the foremost ambassador for AIDS awareness on the planet and no one can fill her shoes in terms of the work she did," Gavin Hart of the National AIDS Trust said at the time.
2. She Cared For Ill Children
Diana was a constant champion for those who were less fortunate than her, according to Harper's Bazaar, and took a particular interest in visiting with sick children. In 1989, Diana became the president of the first hospital in the world, the Marsden Hospital, that was dedicated to cancer treatment and research, according to PopSugar.
Diana's love of sick kids and commitment to The Marsden Hospital, is one that Prince William carries on to this day. He is the current president of the hospital (after taking on the role in 2017) and met with patients (just like his mom did) earlier this month, according to People.
3. She Supported Land Mine Victims
Princess Diana's bravery was one of the most notable things about her. Her ability to show the rest of the world that things were OK, because she had been doing them herself, was wonderful. Take her bringing attention to land mines, for example.
In 1997, Diana visited Angola, a South African nation, and walked through a live minefield. Her walk is credited to boosting the campaign for a global land mine treaty that was signed later that year, after she called for an international ban on land mines, according to the BBC.
"It was tremendously important [to have her on board]," Lou McGrath, who runs the Mines Advisory Group, told the BBC. "It was a turning point. The voice we had in the campaign brought forward the British government's resolve in signing up to the treaty and also international governments."
This year, Prince Harry spoke of his mother's impact on this cause. "I was told just the other day of the positive transformation in Huambo since my mother walked that minefield all those years ago," Prince Harry said in June, according to CNN.
4. She Was A Mental Health Advocate
Diana not only brought attention to the things that others were going through, but she brought attention to the things that she was going through herself.
In 1995, Diana opened up in an interview with the BBC about having depression and bulimia, and therefore became a huge advocate for mental health, according to TIME, which allowed others to seek treatment on their own.
In that interview, Diana talked about having postpartum depression after giving birth to her two boys. "I was unwell with post-natal depression, which no one ever discusses, post-natal depression, you have to read about it afterwards, and that in itself was a bit of a difficult time," she said. "You'd wake up in the morning feeling you didn't want to get out of bed, you felt very misunderstood, and just very, very low in yourself."
Her ability to speak so openly about her issues and vouch for others shows she cared so much about her own mental health and the mental health of others.
5. She Fought The Stigma Against People With Leprosy
Princess Diana's patronage for The Leprosy Mission was another cause where she fought to end the stigma surrounding it. In 1989, Diana visited the Sitanala Leprosy Hospital in Indonesia, where she shook hands with patients and touched their bandaged wounds.
This, once again, helped bring attention to the cause, and brought some normalcy to the issue. Diana was well aware of the strides she was making. "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," she said, according to The Leprosy Mission.
6. She Was A Champion For The Homeless
When Princess Diana became a patron of Centrepoint in 1992, she visited with homeless teens and young adults who were looking for shelter, food, and jobs, according to TIME. Diana stated in a 1995 speech for Centrepoint that "every young person needs a proper start in life," according to USA Today, proving to others that homeless people are just like them.
Prince William chose to carry on his mother's legacy in 2005 when he became a patron for Centrepoint. At the time, he cited his mom as a reason for becoming an advocate for the homeless. "My mother introduced that sort of area to me a long time ago," he said, according to the Telegraph. "It was a real eye-opener and I am very glad she did. It has been something I have held close to me for a really long time."
Thank goodness for Prince William and Prince Harry. Their devotion to carrying on their mother's legacy through the causes she cared about proves her legacy will live on.