LONDON: Royal fans have already started paying tribute to Princess Diana on the eve of the anniversary of her death. Saturday 31 August marks 22 years since she was killed after a horrific car crash in Paris that also claimed the life of her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, along with the driver, Henri Paul.
This year’s anniversary is likely to hold special meaning for Harry, who welcomed his first child, Archie Harrison, with Duchess Meghan in May. William – who lives at the Palace with the Duchess of Cambridge and their children Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – has reportedly invited his brother to the Palace for lunch or dinner.
Diana would have celebrated her 58th birthday this year if she had survived the crash. William was 15 years old and Harry just 12 when their mother was killed.
The royal brothers have already planned their own permanent memorial to their mother. Sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley was chosen by William and Harry to create a statue of Diana. The design for the artwork has been chosen and will be erected in the grounds of Kensington Palace.
Princess Diana walked into the lives of the Royals when she was all of 20. The young woman, who married Prince Charles, changed the way the world viewed the royal family and witnessed unprecedented stardom at a young age. From being a mother to a wife to a humanitarian, Princess Diana left an indelible impression on the hearts and minds of thousands of people. If not for her charitable acts, Lady Diana is undoubtedly remembered for breaking away from royal traditions and infusing a breath of fresh air among the royal family.
On marrying Prince Charles, Diana received the title of Princess of Wales. In her role as a royal, Princess Diana’s popularity steadily rose. The newest member of the royal family often broke away from royal tradition and preferred to do things her way. From greeting the public to shaking hands and hugging them, Diana was well received and loved in public. One of her most significant visits was in 1987. Diana visited the London Middlesex Hospital to open the UK’s first unit dedicated to treating people with HIV and AIDS. What Diana did there took many by surprise and left many others in complete shock. The royal shook the hand of an AIDS patient without wearing gloves. The visit came at a time when AIDS was first identified back in the early 1980s.
When her relationship with Prince Charles went South, Diana did not fear or hold back on talking about the not-so-great phase of her life. In an interview to BBC, she addressed Prince Charles’s longtime relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Diana also opened up on her depression, eating disorders and mental health. Within weeks of the interview being aired, Diana’s press secretary had resigned and the Queen sent the couple a letter urging them to divorce. Eventually, Diana and Charles divorced on August 28, 1996.
After splitting from Prince Charles, Diana lost her royal title and was part of the single world again. It was widely reported that Diana was involved in a romantic relationship with billionaire Dodi Fayed. A year after her divorce, Diana and Dodi were in Paris on vacation when they both died in the fatal car crash. They had stopped in Paris en route to London. While investigations revealed that their driver was under the influence of alcohol, paparazzi chasing their car for a picture also reportedly contributed to their untimely death. What followed in the next few days was thousands across the globe mourning the death of the People’s Princess.
Lady Dianna also visited Pakistan on the invitation of today’s Prime Minister and then cricket stalwart Imran Khan and his then-wife Jamiama Khan back in 1995 and 1997.
She was honored with Nobel peace price after her death on her services in 1997.