Princess Diana and the Causes Close to Her Heart
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL
Diana smiles while holding a small child during a visit to a hostel for abandoned children during a visit to Brazil in 1991. Many of the residents were HIV positive or suffered from AIDS. Two years prior, Diana had made headlines when she hugged a young child with AIDS – at the time, the stigma around the disease still persisted.
A glamorous shot of the late Princess, to be sure, but full of meaning. Diana decided to auction off a number of her dresses to benefit AIDS and cancer charities. Here, she takes a look at the auction preview in London with Christopher Balfour, Chairman of Christies. The offerings included the black number she wore when she danced with John Travola at the White House, which sold for a record-breaking $222,500. In total, the auction earned more than $3 million.
During her famed trip to Angola, Diana spoke with people who suffered serious injuries from land mines. Later, when recalling her trip during a seminar hosted by the Mines Advisory Group and the Landmine Survivors Network, she said: "When you look at the mangled bodies, some of them children, caught by these mines, you marvel at their survival."
Unlike many of the other causes she championed, homelessness didn't take Diana far from England's borders. Here, she speaks with young homeless people in London as part of her duties as a patron of Centrepoint, a position Prince William now holds today.
Diana's advocacy efforts were perhaps most poignant when she was working directly with people, but she made an impact in other ways, too. Here, Diana prepares to give a speech at the Royal Geographical Society, in which she called for the end of the use of land mines worldwide.
On a Red Cross mission, Diana chats with Sandra Tigica, who lost her leg to a land mine, at an orthopedic workshop in Neves Bendinha. "There was not much hope for me or my country then," Tigica had said of Diana's Jan. 14, 1997, visit. "But Diana turned that around. Because of her, Angola was able to get help from the world."
A staunch opponent of land mines, the Princess – clad in a flak jacket and face shield – toured a minefield on Jan. 15, 1997. Diana, who was the British Red Cross vice president, later called for an international ban on mines and faced accusations in the UK that her actions were politically motivated. "I am not a political figure," she countered. "My interests are humanitarian. That is why I felt drawn to this human tragedy."
The Princess reaches out to a young cancer patient while visiting Pakistan in February 1996. Cancer charities were special to Diana, who once remarked, "I would suggest that now might be a good time to consider another 'C' word which may threaten us. It is the word 'complacency' [in the fight against cancer]."
Checkmate! Diana enjoys a game of chess with young leprosy patients while visiting the Sitanala Leprosy Hospital on Nov. 5, 1989. "It has always been my concern to touch people with leprosy," she had said, "trying to show in a simple action that they are not reviled, nor are we repulsed."
Diana – who helped reduce the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS when she was photographed shaking hands with a patient in 1987 – remained active in the fight against the disease. Here, she talks with AIDS patient Wayne Taylor at the Casey House AIDS hospice in 1991.
The Princess reaches out to a patient at Mother Teresa's hospice on Feb. 15, 1995. Diana was a dear friend of the nun, who had said, "She was very much concerned about the poor. That's why she came close to me."
"Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society," said Diana, who toured war-torn Bosnia on Aug. 9, 1997. While there, she met with the Soljanik family, who were victims of land-mine injuries.
In the U.S. to raise money for cancer research, Diana toured Cook County Hospital on June 5, 1996, and visited Cantrice Johnson, 13, a patient in the pediatric intensive care unit. "If she ever wanted to give up her day job as a princess she'd make a wonderful hospital administrator," said John Barrett, head of the trauma ward.
As a patron of Tushinskaya Children's Hospital, Diana chats with nurses during a visit on May 16, 1996. After her death, her work in Russia was not forgotten: President Boris Yeltsin issued a statement praising her, saying, "Many exceptional projects that touched the lives of ordinary people have been put into practice in Russia with her direct participation."
A month after the Jan. 17, 1995, earthquake that devastated Kobe, Japan, the Princess returned to the country, flying into Tokyo and greeting children at the National Children's Hospital. "I know that I can give love for a minute, for half an hour, for a day, for a month, but I can give," Diana once said of her charitable missions. "I'm very happy to do that and I want to do that."