American (World) Icon: Princess Diana

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Everyone wishes to leave behind a legacy that will last into eternity. Some succeed in making this wish come true while some aren't so lucky. Leaving a legacy requires much more effort than many are willing to put forth. When it comes to leaving behind lasting legacies, Princess Diana is one of the 20th-century royalties who deserve mention when listing the people who have left behind legacies that have changed the world for the better.

The late Princess Diana of Wales was a British nobility of royal ancestry. She was recognized as the third-ranking female in the United Kingdom order of precedence. Diana served as a patron for organizations that fought against HIV/AIDS, Cancer, leprosy and mental illness. She also took a firm stand against environmental pollution. Her contributions to humanity redefined her roles as royalty. She ignored what people expected of her and did what she thought was right for humanity.


Diana was born into a family of British nobility, the Spencer family. She was the daughter of Frances Rocher, Viscount Althorp, and John Spencer. She grew up in Sandringham Estate and went to school in England and Switzerland. In 1975, her father, John Spencer inherited the title, Earl Spencer. Consequently, Diana became known as Lady Diana Spencer. At the age of seven years, Diana's parents divorced, and her father won custody of her. At 16, Diana met Prince Charles for the first time. They later began a relationship that would lead to marriage and the birth of Diana's two sons.


Diana's relationship and engagement to Prince Charles were widely covered in the local and international news. The official engagement was confirmed in 1981 after which Diana's popularity soared internationally. Following her engagement to Prince Charles, Diana moved to Buckingham Place until the wedding. After marrying the Prince in July 1981, the then twenty-year-old Diana became the Princess of Wales. The marriage led to the birth of two boys, princes William and Henry both of whom were in the line of succession to the British throne. As the Princess of Wales, Diana undertook royal duties on behalf of the queen, representing her in official meetings both locally and overseas. Her marriage to Prince Charles was characterized with a lot of media scrutiny. In 1990, their marriage was dissolved, and both of them proceeded to have other relationships.


Irrespective of her royal status, Princess Diana interacted with people who were socially considered outcasts. She reached out to people suffering from AIDS, Cancer, Leprosy and Drug Addiction. A famous picture of Diana shaking hands with an HIV positive man created a new perception of sufferers of HIV. More than ever, Diana wanted to use her status to eradicate the stigmatization that came with these medical conditions. She visited the sick and dying in hospital and interacted closely with them. Whenever she rubbed the hands of a sick patient dying of AIDS or hugged a patient suffering from leprosy, she communicated a powerful message that reverberated across all corners of the world- a message of love.

A famous quote by Diana states, "HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it". This quote was a reminder to put an end to the stigmatization that characterized HIV/AIDS in the 80's and 90's. She opened the Landmark AIDS center, an organization that provides treatment and support for HIV positive people. Through this organization, Diana would bring help closer to AIDS patients and increase their chances of living longer.

Diana was a patron to numerous charity organizations that promoted humanity and environmental conservation. Amongst her patronages are British Red Cross, Landmine Survivors Network, and Help the Aged.

Besides her concern and love for stigmatized people, Diana was also concerned about the state of the environment. She was vocal in her stance against the use of landmines during wars. Her condemnation of the use of landmines put her at loggerheads with most politicians who accused her of meddling in politics.

As part of the fight against the use of landmines in wars, Diana became the patron of HALO Trust, an organization that removed debris left behind in landmines. Her efforts in the fight against landmines eventually bore fruit when she managed to raise public awareness on the harm done by landmines. Diana's goal was to conserve the environment for future generations so that you and I could enjoy the healthy environment we have today.

The most remarkable thing about Princess Diana is the fact that she lived selfless life as far as humanity is concerned. She found her purpose in extending a helping hand to people who needed her. She went against her royal status and reached out to the less fortunate, and the social outcasts. Despite her tragic death at the Paris tunnel in 1997, her legacy lives on. American Sunglass is proud to call out the Princess of Wales an Icon.

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