Throughout her life all eyes were always on Princess Diana. Millions
came to identify with her and, when she died, they felt as though they
have lost a best friend. More than a year after the sudden end of her
privileged but imperfect life, Princess Diana's charity work still
motivates many others to donate their own time in hopes to help the
lives of others. Through the vigorous fund raising and campaigning,
Princess Diana has greatly effected the lives of the patients she has
reached out to.
The honorable Diana Frances Spencer weighed in at seven pounds,
twelve ounces when she was born on July 1, 1961. Her father
announced at the time of her birth, she was nothing less than a
"perfect physical specimen." She was the third surviving child of her
parents. In 1967 her parents, Johnnie and Frances separated, then in
1969 their divorce became final. Johnnie Spencer won custody of their
On February 24, 1981, Princess Diana's life changed forever.
Her engagement to Prince Charles, the heir to the British
throne, was announced. They were married in Saint Paul's Cathedral on
July 29, 1981. The ceremony was internationally televised. People all
over the world tuned into the beautiful day when Princess Diana was
married into one of the most powerful families in the world(Encarta).
The young Princess of Wales unofficially came of age when she
was twenty- six years old, married for nearly six years, and
the mother of two young sons. That moment was a turning point in her
life because she decided to become involved with AIDS, a subject
shunned by "the great and the good" of British society. Overnight,
Princess Diana changed from a young mum who liked to shop or listen to
pop songs on her Walkman, to a mature young woman who had created a
role for herself(Davies260).
The metamorphosis came the day in April 1987 when Diana opened
Britain's first purpose-built ward for AIDS sufferers, at London's
Middlesex Hospital. Many were shocked at the fact that she didn't wear
any protective clothing(Davies260). At
that time the average Briton knew very little about AIDS. Some
believed it could be caught and passed on by touch, kissing, or even
hugging someone who was infected. The revelation that a royal, like
Princess Diana, the mother of two young sons, one the heir to the
throne, had taken such an enormous risk with a deadly disease shocked
Many people wondered, and still to this day wonder if it was
advisable for the Princess of Wales to get involved. Buckingham Palace
was torn. Some of the Queen's advisers totally opposed the young
princess becoming involved with AIDS, a taboo subject never discussed
in polite company or at British upper-class dinner parties. In 1987,
many Britons condemned it as "that gay disease" which only affected
"homosexuals and drug addicts," two groups which received very little
sympathy from the chattering classes, many of whom believed the victims
were reaping the harvest they themselves had sown. The advisors argued
strongly that the public would be unsympathetic and warned that
becoming associated with AIDS charities could harm her position as the
future Queen. They also feared it could weaken public sympathy for the
Royal Family(Davies261). Despite much criticism, Diana was
determined. She contacted many charities to produce studies showing
how innocent babies and mothers who has nothing whatsoever to do with
homosexuality or drug addiction had caught the disease(Davies261).
The Palace bureaucracy reluctantly capitulated Diana's
determined arguments and pleas and officially met the senior
members of the charity. The Department of Health and the Charity
Commissioners had already investigated the National AIDS Trust and
reported that the charity was efficient and well run. It seemed a
highly reputable charity, one in which a member of the Royal Family
could become involved without risk of scandal by the trustees. Only
then did Buckingham Palace agree that Diana could go ahead(Brennan88).
Five years later, in 1992, Buckingham Palace adopted a
different attitude. Press spokesman Dickie Arbiter explained:
"It's abundantly clear that Princess Diana is determined to break down
prejudice about HIV. Nobody told her to adopt this cause. Everything
she does is spontaneous and nothing is premeditated. It was her own
decision to show someone infected with it(Davies262)." This quote
proves the kind heartiness of Princess Diana. It shows the only reason
she did the community service was to help others. The point that must
not be forgotten is that Diana does all this knowing that people are
misjudging her, but she's got the sense and compassion to follow her
own inner beliefs. Diana came far in helping others realize the truth
about those with HIV and disproved the many stereotypes of the sick.
"She was the first important person in Britain to show you can touch an
AIDS victim and not catch it. One cannot overestimate the importance
of what Princess
that day. Before that no one would go anywhere near them. AIDS sufferers
treated by the general public as tough were the untouchables, that to touch
death(Davies262)," said by Lady Harlech, an AIDS fund-raiser for years. This
proves again the many breakthroughs Princess Diana had with the citizens of
even with people all over the world. Princess Diana made the statement, "HIV
not make people dangerous to know, so you can shake their hands or give them
God knows they need it(Davies263)." Many people doubt Diana's motivation.
suggest she is doing it for the publicity.
It wasn't only AIDS that commanded Diana's attention and concern.
Diana was the royal patron of seventy separate charities and had a hectic work
schedule to keep up with all of them. Diana can never rest on these
occasions, or put
her feet up, or not show that she is interested, no matter how bored she may
whatever else she may have on her mind. It seldom matters how the princess is
feeling personally; she knows she has a duty to perform and she does
Initially, charities devoted to babies and child welfare were singled
out for her
attention, but soon Diana discovered other opportunities. She decided she
help young people-closer to her own age-with drug and alcohol problems, then
the unprivileged, and the young homeless(Davies269).
After AIDS, the charity Diana is most closely related to is
Birthright, of which
she became a patron of in 1984. Birthright is the appeal arm of the Royal
Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and it's aim is to raise funds for research
problems of the un born child, including stillbirth, infant death, and
her support, Birthright had struggled for funds, and it's valuable research
largely ignored when it came to handing out money. Since Diana came aboard,
that had changed.
"Her involvement with the charity has attracted stars from
the entertainment world. Big names equal big money:
They managed to raise $5,000,000 for the charity, which
has helped it improve the survival rate of some premature
infants by up to seventy percent. Diana can feel quite
proud that the turnabout is due primarily to her enthusiasm,
persuasion, and patronage(Davies271)."
This quote confirms that Princess Diana's endless help brought more people to
their time and money to a good cause where people who needed help survived.
Princess Diana did more than fund raise for different charities. She
met with the people who her hard efforts were assisting. This is just as bit
as fund raising. Meeting with the Princess brings new hope to the suffering
"There is something quite moving about the way she talks with patients. Not
she concerned about their problems, but she knows she is. She understands
the joy of
having a baby and the anguish if something goes wrong. She felt very lucky
privileged to have had one healthy child, says Vivienne Parry, one of the
Supporting charities concerned with drug addiction is another of
concerns. She never smoked and hardly drank herself. In 1987, she became
Turning Point, the largest national charity in Britain helping drug addicts,
and mental-health outpatients.
Diana has not only proved her compassion for sufferers, but has also
courage to take risks she believes are worthwhile. Without publicity
would visit clinics-some on her own without detective protcetion- to meet and
with the patients in an effort to help them kick their addiction and
back to health(Davies273).
Princess Diana's determination to help those charities rejected by
also extended overseas causes. Shocked by the gruesome effects of leprosy on
children, Diana agreed to become patron of the Leprosy Mission. In November
Diana visited many young lepers in Indonesia. One of the hospital's doctor's
the effects of her visits:
"She did so much more than she had to. She need only
shake their hand and move on, but she sat on their beds and
listened and talked to them. Then she joined the children
in a game of bowls, which they loved. She brought
happiness and smiles to those children(Davies280)."
Kate Dawson, a British doctor at the hospital, also stated,"The Princess has
much. She has shown by being so open and natural with them that lepers are
threat to anybody(Davies280)."
Diana was determined to keep up with her charity work, until her
death on August 31, 1997, in Paris, in an automobile accident with her lover
al-Fayed(Brennan136). Diana especially wanted to reach out to those patients
victims who were shunned by the rest of the world.
Not only did Diana personally reach out to victims of terrifying
she also encouraged others to donate their time and money to these worthy
Diana showed it wasn't necessary to be apprehensive towards the victims of the
various diseases she worked with. Princess Diana lived an influential life
efforts will never be forgotten.