Princess Diana was known throughout the world as being a well rounded, gorgeous woman, but through all of that she was also a hero in many people’s eyes. Diana was often called Princess Diana by the media and the public, but she did not enjoy such a title and did not personally think of herself as a princess. This is a point Diana herself made to people who referred to her as such. She always had a strong head on her shoulders, no matter what might have been going on at the time. Diana tried to not let various things get her down, even though some could have destroyed her. Diana also spoke with surprising truthfulness about her own personal struggles with bulimia and suicide, giving individuals struggling with these issues a role model of openness and honesty. Princess Diana
used her media popularity to bring attention to the needs of the forgotten and needy of the world. She was out to seek a symbol in everyone’s life, life itself.
Princess Diana was born into a royal family
and had a rather tough time growing up. She was the youngest daughter of Edward Spencer, Viscount Althorp, and, Frances Spencer, Viscountess Althorp. During her parents' bitter divorce over Diana’s mother’s adultery with wallpaper successor Peter Kydd, Diana's mother sued for custody
of her children. Diana went into many battles with her mother over this which led Diana to dislike her mother. Diana’s father’s rank was supported by Diana’s grandmother, on her mother’s side, in which her testimony against her daughter during the trial, meant custody of Diana and her brother went to their father.
Diana went to school not to learn but to find new things to do for the world. She failed almost all her academic courses which made her parents push harder. Diana did excel in: singing, dancing, playing sports, and working at volunteer shelters. This made Diana realize that helping people was what she was set out to do.
Princess Diana married Prince Charles, King of Wales, on July 29, 1981. It was said that the Prince married Diana just because she fit the part. The part in which every Princess has to fit: has not been married, is Protestant, and is a virgin. Diana was the first English woman to marry the heir of the throne since 1959. With Diana being in the media so much it was hard to do anything without the press knowing about it. In the mid 1980s her marriage fell apart, an event at first covered up, but then showed, by the world media. Both the Prince and Princess of Wales allegedly spoke to the press through friends, accusing each other for the marriage's failure. The Royal couple divorced three years later. The Princess lost her title as “Her Royal Highness” and was called Diana, Princess of Wales. Even after all this, Buckingham Palace still recognizes her as part of the royal family.
Throughout her life, Diana was something of a rebel. Her work with victims of AIDS could in some ways been seen in this negative light. She was one of the first very high profile people to be pictured touching those troubled with AIDS; this had a significant impact in changing people’s opinions and attitudes to the disease. It was certainly a charity not following the practice and tradition of the Royal family. She once said that “HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them hugs, heaven knows they need it.” The patients loved when Diana visited them, they warmed to the energy of her heartfelt sympathy. They were sometimes caught calling Diana their guardian angel and hero. She could understand their suffering since she had also suffered a great deal herself.
As well as working on charities, such as AIDS, she provided her name to the campaign to ban landmines. She visited landmine survivors in hospitals, toured de-mining projects run by the HALO Trust, and attended mine awareness education classes about the dangers of mines directly surrounding homes and villages. Her interest in landmines was focused on the injuries they create, often to children, long after the conflict is finished. She spoke up for those whose everyday lives were and are ruined by landmines. A famous writer, Carol Bellamy, said “A deadly attraction for children, whose innate curiosity and need for play often lure them directly into harm’s way.” Diana helped create an international ban on the use of anti-personnel landmines, and also signed a treaty that stated that someone cannot have the use of massive landmines.
Princess Diana also went forth with a campaign on Palliative care. Palliative care is an affordable approach to caring for people who are facing problems associated with life limiting illnesses. It is a way of allowing people to die with dignity and to support the families through the grieving process. A very important component is pain relief and the relief of troubling symptoms--physical, psychosocial, and spiritual. Princess Diana stated “I remember sitting in beds and holding people’s hands that had no hope, they used to be shocked because they didn’t think anybody cared, but I did.” This campaign alone has launched $5 million of ideas on Palliative care.
Princess Diana is a hero, she has used her position of power and fame to give hope and comfort to those whom society too frequently forgets--the victims of poverty, disease and social discrimination. Princess Diana will be remembered as a woman who was at once supremely royal and at the same time incredibly human. To the millions who followed her charitable work, she was most certainly the “Queen of our Hearts”.