Diana, Princess of Wales (July 1, 1961 – August 31, 1997)
On July 1, what would have been Diana's 60th birthday, a statue commissioned by William and Harry will be unveiled in the Sunken Garden of Kensington Palace, where the princes lived with their mother until her untimely death in 1997. William and Harry will be joined only by Diana's close family, the statue committee, the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley and garden designer Pip Morrison due to covid restrictions.
Memorials are a sincere time of reflection not only for Diana’s royal family but also for her worldwide admirers. Diana very publicly demonstrated a genuine heart for all people. She connected in a way that made her “the people’s princess.”
“Everyone of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves.” Princess Diana
There are many things about Diana that made her not only the most well-known woman in the world, but also relatable! Did you know?
• Diana had a paying job until becoming engaged to an heir.
• Diana exercised! She swam at Buckingham Palace every day until her divorce.
• Diana was attentive about writing thank-you notes. She had a "correspondence production line," in which she sat at her desk addressing envelopes and preparing her stationary before departing for an event or evening. Upon her return, still in her evening gown, Diana sat down and wrote her letter, which was always mailed the following morning.
• Diana often wore costume jewelry. Diana had access to one of the most spectacular jewelry collections in the world but was comfortable choosing the right piece of jewelry regardless.
• She was an avid supporter of the arts. (with a rock and roll heart!)
• Diana had a wicked sense of humor. Prince Harry described what his mother was like behind the cameras. "Behind closed doors, she was a loving mother and an incredibly funny person," he said. "All I can hear is her laugh in my head," he said, adding that she once told him, "You can be as naughty as you want, but just don't get caught. She was the naughtiest parent."
• Diana had a weakness for a sticky sweet British dessert, bread and butter pudding. Royal chef Darren McGrady has said that Diana loved his bread-and-butter pudding. According to McGrady, the princess used to sneak into the kitchen and eat all the raisins off the top of the rich, calorie-laden creation.
• in 1995, she said, "I would like a monarchy that has more contact with its people." This statement became something of a personal mission for the Princess. Diana was at some point patron of over 100 charities. During her many visits to hospitals, schools, and fundraising galas, she became known for spending hours talking to people and listening to their stories. Although she found the media's intrusion into her personal life “intolerable," Diana found a way to use this to bring attention to the people and the causes that needed it most. One example, Diana auctioned off 79 of her dresses, raising $5.76 million for AIDS and breast cancer charities.
After her passing others were inspired to find a way to continue the charitable efforts she embraced. You may remember Elton John performed Candle in the Wind / Goodbye England’s Rose at Princess Diana’s funeral. He released this re-written and re-recorded version of "Candle in the Wind" with the global proceeds from the song going towards Diana's charities. Also, the toy manufacturer, Ty, made the Princess Bear to commemorate Diana Princess of Wales The first-edition model came with a poem on the tag,” Like an angel she came from heaven above; she shared her compassion, her pain, her love; she only stayed with us long enough to teach the world to share, to give, to reach. Initially, they retailed between $5-$7, with proceeds benefiting the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. Throughout the year and a half of its manufacturing, the bear raised $21,880,000 for the charitable effort.
Goodbye England's rose
May you ever grow in our hearts
You were the grace that placed itself
Where lives were torn apart
You called out to our country
And you whispered to those in pain
Now you belong to heaven
And the stars spell out your name
Lyrics from Candle in the Wind (rewrite) Elton John