Queen of Humanity
Diana's social commitment:
Although after her divorce Diana pulled out of being patroness or president over 100 social institutions and charitable organizations, she took her role as patron of the English National Ballet, the Leprosy Mission and the British AIDS Help seriously. As well as these she remained president of the children's hospital Great Ormond Street and the Royal Marsden Hospital. To the many accolades which were given to Diana, belong the acceptance as Honorary Citizen of Northampton (1989) and the "Prize for Humanity".
Who sees just a beautiful, elegant, well-travelled person in Diana, does her a bitter injustice. Certainly she bathed herself in camera light when she made public appearances. But there was hardly an evening function, hardly a meal, hardly a society duty, for which the Princess was not following a goal: she needed money. Money for children in need, money for people who had nothing more to expect from life and then suddenly did experience more help. Through the serious participation of the Princess of Wales, who at the start of her marriage with the Heir to the Throne had gone calmly naive from hospital to hospital, been given flowers from nurses and serenades from choirs of children, the theme of being charitable acquired a completely new quality in England.
Members of the Royal Family were always participants in charitable organisations, opened homes and hospitals. That there was suddenly someone who really was interested in the suffering of the sick, in their chances of recovery, had an effect of almost baffling people. Diana involved herself. And by doing that she very suddenly achieved the respect which was denied to her inside the Windsor family. Certainly Princess Anne was one of the hardest working Windsors for do-good organisations. But she always failed to do what Diana knew she could achieve by mastering her charm: she collected a great amount of money in order to do a great deal of good.
Diana danced at balls, the gentlemen paid up to æÃ7000 entrance fee in order to hold her just once in their arms. She auctioned her most beautiful dresses in order to help cancer sufferers with the proceeds. She was one of the most active people in raising money for the AIDS foundation in her country, and the Red Cross was more grateful to her than it was possible to express with orders and words. She spoke to and comforted innumerable sick, poor and lepers. She fought for people who had been victims of landmines. Two days after her death a conference was opened in Oslo over the theme of landmines and their terrible consequences for the civilians. This international congress began with a minute's silence for the princess, who had visited landmine victims in Bosnia a few weeks earlier.
After her separation and final divorce from Prince Charles, Diana had declared her withdrawal from charitable duties for the time being. But she didn't stick to this statement for long. She quickly realised that in spite of her personal needs and problems the poor and sick in the whole world desperately needed help, her help. There are people who already have simply endured far too much misery in their lives, to let themselves be hoodwinked by beautiful appearances. Such a person is Mother Theresa. After she had met the Princess of Wales a close contact developed between the two apparently so dissimilar women.
Mother Theresa (who died one day before Diana's burial ) respected the beauty from Kensington Palace, Princess Diana spoke full of reverence for the ninety-year-old, who worked miracles in Calcutta in India. The two women could have achieved so much more together. A chance which remained denied to the pair.
Only two stories from the life which speak for themselves:
Winter 1994. Diana drives through the streets of London. It is bitterly cold. She stops by a bridge under which junkies and homeless people are spending the night. Flotsam and jetsam of society. The 23 year-old social worker Paul George: "Diana spoke with us, the poor people!" Diana didn't just take official appointments seriously, but was also there where she was needed.
A ballet dancer is infected with HIV. His death is just a question of time. Diana got to know him through her work with the AIDS-Help. She accompanied him on his difficult way with the illness, and asked him to phone her when he was reaching the end. For two days and three nights she held the hand of the AIDS sufferer, until he breathed his last breath.
"The worst illness of our time is
that so many people have to suffer from
not ever being loved."
Diana showed the people her love for them. For this she was loved.