Spotlight Celebrity Charity: How Princess Diana Keeps Giving

Diana, Princess of Wales

How can one heart be so big? This is the first question that comes to mind when I hear anything about Princess Diana, even now, 17 years after her death. But someone like her will be remembered forever. People like her make such an impact on the world that they never truly die.

Being a princess comes with a lot of responsibility and attention – basically the entire world watches her every move. Most of a princess’ “duties” involve performing charity work, making appearances at certain events, and always supporting and standing in when a member of the royal family is ill or in need of assistance. It is also a princess’ job to give back to the community.

Through these duties that are common to all royal figures, there was something different and remarkable about the way Princess Diana fulfilled her “obligations,” for lack of a better word. I say that because Princess Diana was never simply fulfilling “obligations.” She went above and beyond, and she did it because she had a large and selfless heart. It wasn’t enough in her eyes to donate money or to speak on behalf of certain charities. Princess Diana made herself accessible to the causes she championed. She made frequent visits to hospitals and homeless shelters, and she didn’t do it as a figure of royalty – she did it as a genuinely kindhearted person.

Princess Diana cradles an AIDS patient, a child, in her armsPrincess Diana was one of the first people to publicly touch AIDS-infected people.

Princess Diana’s interests in helping others reached beyond what her so-called duties required of her, and her interests often stretched further than a traditional princess’ involvement. She devoted her time to less popular causes at the time, like AIDS and leprosy. Princess Diana was special for so many reasons and adored by millions. Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, was the first to describe her as “the peoples’ princess.” She was a refreshing and exciting face in a monarchy that had become distant and out of touch with the people. Today, though it is still a tragedy that she is no longer with us, we can identify all the good things she did while she was here rather than just mourn her death.

Princess Diana with sons Prince William and Prince HarryDiana, Princess of Wales, with her sons, Princes William and Harry

Even while devoting so much time to the less fortunate and to other families in need, she was still able to be a mother to her own two children, Prince William and Prince Harry. At a young age, Princess Diana got her boys involved and educated in the importance of giving back; so it has been no surprise that since Princess Diana passed away, Prince William and Prince Harry continue carrying the torch that their mother lit.

The two princes have been doing things that would make their mother proud, such as donating to charities themselves and fulfilling the duties expected of them, but still managing to stay connected with people in the world around them. I think it’s safe to say that giving must be a predominate trait that she managed to pass on to both of her children. They keep her loving spirit alive by continuing her legacy in their own ways.

Prince Harry at Sentebale

Not only is Prince Harry a patron of a variety of different charities, he also holds two honorary military appointments, one in the Royal Navy and one in the Royal Air Force. But just like his mother, Harry spends most of his time focusing on the well being of children and young people. His biggest project is the charity, Sentebale which he co-founded with Prince Seesio of Lesotho. Sentebale means “forget me not,” which is the perfect name for a charity that honors their late mothers. The charity focuses on supporting orphans and vulnerable children in Lesotho.

Charity

Prince William is living up to Princess Diana’s standards in other ways. In addition to supporting charities he is an active Patron with his brother, Prince Harry, in The Foundation of The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The princes, along with Prince William’s wife, created the foundation in hopes of generating important changes in targeted areas that need such attention. Besides his impressive military background and his attention spent on charities, Prince William has also married Catherine Middleton, a woman Princess Diana would surely have accepted and adored.

everlasting-footprint-kate-middleton-charity

Catherine “Kate” Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, was, from the beginning, under a lot of pressure to follow in the footsteps of “The People’s Princess,” which is no easy task. But with class and style, the Duchess has had no problem fitting the demands of being part of the royal family, and in 2012 she was voted as one of the “Most Influential People in the World,” by Time magazine. If Princess Diana isn’t somewhere smiling at the wonderful woman her son married, impressed with the facts that the Duchess is a major supporter of many charities, that she volunteers as a scout leader in Wales, and that she focuses on the importance of programs that help drug addicts and families of addicts, Diana is most definitely proud of the fact that Kate gave birth to a beautiful boy, Prince George, who is now third in the line of succession to the British throne.

For all these reasons and more, Princess Diana’s legacy will forever live on. Though the world lost a beautiful woman with a beautiful soul 17 years ago, we can all celebrate and be grateful for those who are stepping up to continue the things that she no longer can. Visit Princess Diana’s Everlasting Footprint and share your stories and memories of the Peoples’ Princess.

About Liz Grear

Liz Greer, MFA, teaches creative writing, tutors students, and dabbles in ballroom dancing, book binding, paper making, and playing hopscotch between Chicago and New Jersey. She dreams of running a writing workshop in a prison, because she believes words can change things. Maybe not all things. But enough things.

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