Thursday, April 28, 2011

Profile: Princess Diana – Humanitarian of Global Causes

Diana, Princess of Wales (Diana Frances née Spencer; July 1, 1961 – August 31 1997) was a member of the British royal family and an international personality of the late 20th century as the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, whom she married on 29 July 1981. The wedding, which was held at St. Paul's Cathedral, was televised and watched by a global audience of over 750 million people. The marriage produced two sons: Princes William and Harry, currently second and third in line to the thrones of the 16 Commonwealth realms, respectively.

A public figure from the announcement of her engagement to Prince Charles, Diana was born into an old, aristocratic English family with royal ancestry, and remained the focus of worldwide media scrutiny before, during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996. This media attention continued following her death in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997, and in the subsequent display of public mourning a week later. Diana also received recognition for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. From 1989, she was the president of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.

Charity work

Though in 1983 she confided in the then-Premier of Newfoundland, Brian Peckford: "I am finding it very difficult to cope with the pressures of being Princess of Wales, but I am learning to cope," from the mid-1980s, the Princess of Wales became increasingly associated with numerous charities. As Princess of Wales she was expected to visit hospitals, schools, etc., in the 20th-century model of royal patronage. Diana developed an intense interest in serious illnesses and health-related matters outside the purview of traditional royal involvement, including AIDS and leprosy. In addition, the Princess was the patroness of charities and organisations working with the homeless, youth, drug addicts and the elderly. From 1989, she was President of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children.

During her final year, Diana lent highly visible support to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, a campaign that went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 after her death.


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