by Leona

August 31st marks the anniversary of the death of Princess Diana. It’s been two decades since her passing but her legacy remains intact. She is remembered and revered as a woman of compassion, who supported numerous charity organizations globally and had touched the lives of countless from all walks of life.

While her public life through her charity work was a much beloved one, her private life was in shambles, especially after her divorce with Prince Charles. Instead of falling apart, she focused all her energy on her charity efforts, and used her fame to her advantage, promoting awareness for her causes: AIDS, leprosy, cancer, homelessness and more.

On this 20th anniversary of her death, let’s walk down memory lane and look at 11 facts about the people’s beloved princess.

1. Breaking the Royal Protocol

It’s a must for the women in the royal family to wear gloves for public events. You’ll never catch the Queen without her gloves when she waves to the scores of adoring public at official events. But not Diana, she is all about the human touch. In fact, she was so earnest and so serious about it that once, she took off her gloves to shake the hands of an AIDS patient in London. That was a significant moment, especially when back in the 80s, people where still figuring out what AIDS was all about and what she did smashed social stigmas about the disease.

2. Fulfilling Prince Wiliam’s Crush

Once, back in the 90s, she invited supermodels Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington to dinner at the Buckingham Palance because a 13-year old Prince William had crushes on them. The burgeoning teenager's bedroom walls were filled with posters of them.

3. Meet Diana, the cleaner?

Princess Diana wasn’t always the chic royalty we knew and loved. After her lacklustre ‘O’ Level results, she actually worked part-time as a cleaning lady and babysitter, before becoming a part-time nursery school aide.

4. Calling Once, Calling Twice, Sold!

As she grew into her role as a Princess, she also became quite the fashion darling. Countless of designers would kill to dress her, and Princess Diana wore and amassed a sizeable amount of couture gowns and designer frocks. However, to raise funds for her charities like AIDS and Breast Cancer, she auctioned off 79 of her dresses to a staggering amount of USD 5.76 million.

5. Not your typical Royal Mother

She may be a Princess and her sons may be princes, but Princess Diana did not believe in stifling their upbringing with only royal outings and keeping them hidden from the world. She was determined that her sons enjoyed as much of a normal childhood as possible. She would take the princes on trips to Disney World and MacDonalds, activities that normal families engage in. She would also take them to AIDs clinics and homeless shelters, giving them a peek into the reality and sufferings of ordinary people.

6. Ballerina dreams

When she was young, Princess Diana dreamt of being a ballerina, and was trained in classical ballet. However, her increasing height as she grew proved to be a challenge in ballet. She stopped her ballet classes but her love for the art remained. She became a major supporter of the English National Ballet until her death.

7. She picked out her engagement ring from where?!

Engagement rings are usually a big affair, but not in Princess Diana’s world. Her ring may be a staggering gem with 14 solitaire diamonds around a 12-carat sapphire set in white gold from Garrard jewellery, but it didn’t follow the royal tradition of being custom-made. The then 19-year old Diana actually picked it out from a product catalogue! Incidentally, the ring now belongs to the Duchess of Cambridge.

8. Practising to walk in her wedding gown

If you think the wedding gown of the Duchess of Cambridge was a scene-stealer, think again. Princess Diana’s gown had astonishing 25-foot silk train, the longest in royal history. To ensure she doesn’t fall or stumble on her big day, broadcasted in 74 countries and watched by 750 million people, she had to go through several practice sessions walking in it. After all, she was only 20 then, and the whole affair was an enormous pressure on someone just coming off her teens.

9. Famous Blood relations

We know the princess was born Lady Diana Spencer, to a family of British nobility with royal ancestry and her father, John Spencer, is known as Viscount Althorp. Apart from this illustrious lineage, she was also a distant relative of Winston Churchill, George Washington and the elegant Audrey Hepburn.

10. Refusing traditional royal vows

At her wedding, Princess Diana was the first person in royal history to refuse the traditional wedding vow of saying that she would “obey” her husband, Prince Charles. Taking a leaf out of her book three decades later, the Duchess of Cambridge followed suit, and declined to say that in her wedding vow to Prince William.

11. Movie tributes
We all remember the 2013 film Diana, starring Naomi Watts who, thanks to prosthetics, bore an uncanny resemblance to Princess Diana, but did you know that prior to that, there were at least nine other films dedicated to the life and death of The People’s Princess?


Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.