“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou
Last week marked the 20th Anniversary of Diana, Princess of Wales’ death. As we’re all aware, millions of people were affected by the Princess’ death – not only in Wales, but all over the world. I remember the day it happened. I was six at the time – too young to understand the tragedy of what was going on, but old enough to recognise the disbelief and sadness in my mums face. It was the type of sadness that you can feel in your chest, the type of sadness that instantly makes you too feel sad, even if you don’t know why. I knew who Princess Diana was, she was the pretty blonde lady who was always in the papers. At least that was who I thought she was when I was a six year old girl.
Back in 2015 I went on a trip to Paris. Anyone that’s been to Paris will understand the sheer beauty of the city. You can spend hours wandering around the streets of ‘Pari’, stumbling across pretty little cafes, browsing through the pop up street stalls and of course visiting famous landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Notre-dame, Le Louvre – the list goes on. One thing I certainly didn’t expect to come across (as I didn’t even know it existed), was the memorial of Princess Diana. As I was walking back to my hotel I could see this golden monument surrounded by flowers. Even in 2015, years after her death, people were still coming to visit the place which marked Diana’s death, leaving flowers, cards, hand written letters and photographs of her. It was an emotional experience – probably made even more so because it was such an unexpected one. I wanted to learn more about Princess Diana; to understand how and why she touched so many lives.
Princess Diana was a style icon – she was constantly in the spotlight and she revolutionised the royal dress code. People copied her clothes, her hair – she was the ultimate ‘influencer’ of the 80s. If Instagram was around back then she’d probably have more followers than all of us put together. But Princess Diana was so much more than a fashion Icon. She used her fame to bring attention to worthy causes such as AIDS and the treatment of cancer. She visited countries all over the world, visiting schools, hospices, charities and fundraising galas. In Wales, Princess Diana became the first Patron for Ty Hafan, a Welsh charity that provides care for children with life-limiting conditions. In 1995, the Princess persuaded opera singer Luciano Pavarotti to give a concert to raise money so that they could open their hospice.
So why am I telling you all this? I guess it being the Anniversary of Princess Diana’s death and subsequently re-watching the documentaries about her life last week, brought that emotion back to me. Princess Diana made such an impact on so many lives because of her kindness and her compassion. She was a global icon whom people all over the world wanted to be like. But fashion, beauty and of course her marriage to Prince Charles aside, the most lasting difference she made and without doubt the main reason she will continue to go down in history as one of the most loved women of all time, was down to her philanthropic force. Nowadays it’s so easy to get caught up in all the ‘shit’ and lose sight of what’s really important. Princess Diana never lost sight of who she truly was, hence her becoming known as the “People’s Princess”. People often talk about role models and for me Princess Diana is the ultimate role model. The quote at beginning of this post is one which has always stuck with me because It couldn’t be more true. People will always remember how you made them feel – whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is down to us as individuals.
I hope you enjoyed this post. Do you have a role model? Comment and let me know 🙂