Diana, Princess of Wales, is to be celebrated with a blue plaque in what would have been her 60th birthday.
English Heritage on Thursday announced its 2021 plaques for six women, which also include anti-slavery activist Ellen Craft; Caroline Norton, who helped change UK divorce laws; and fashion designer Jean Muir.
Diana was chosen after being nominated by the London Assembly, which ran a campaign asking the public to send in suggestions.
“It was viewed as normal and the panel felt it was a very good case,” said Anna Eavis, Director of Conservation at English Heritage. “Diana is undeniably a truly significant figure at the end of the 20th century. She had a huge impact and was very popular. ”
Diana has also raised awareness of issues such as landmines and homelessness, and has helped de-stigmatize diseases such as HIV, leprosy and depression, Eavis said. “It seems appropriate that we erect a plaque commemorating his work and influence during what would have been his 60th birthday.”
The location of the plaque will be revealed closer to the time and will be on a building associated with his life before his marriage to Prince Charles.
The most likely location would surely be the West London apartment she shared with three friends, as featured most recently in Netflix’s The Crown. When Olivia Colman’s Queen says that Diana’s apartment is at Earl’s Court, Helena Bonham Carter’s Princess Margaret disdainfully responds: “Prostitutes and Australians. Isn’t that the one who lives in Earl’s Court?
The mansion apartment was given to Diana as an 18-year-old gift in 1979 by her parents.
Eavis said English Heritage expected to put up 12 blue plaques for the London program this year, six of which were to women. They are part of a campaign of ‘plaques for women’ launched to help correct the historic gender imbalance that has built up since the first was erected for Lord Byron 150 years ago. About 14% of the more than 900 plaques in place are for women.
“We still have a long way to go,” Eavis said. “But with the help of many great nominations from the British public, we are heading in the right direction. “
Ellen Craft’s blue plaque will highlight a 19th century story that deserves to be better known. She and her husband, William, were slaves in the state of Georgia, in the southern United States, before managing to escape, eventually arriving in England as refugees in 1850.
The couple toured the UK, giving talks against slavery, before settling in Hammersmith in the house which will bear a plaque with both of their names.
Little is known about Norton’s story today as well, although his abusive marriage and separation was one of the most high-profile cases in 19th-century Britain. His determination to fight for custody of his children and his right to own property had far-reaching ramifications.
The other plaques will be in Muir, known as “British Chanel”; Helena Normanton, the first woman in England to practice at the bar and to appear before the High Court and Old Bailey; and crystallographer and peace activist Kathleen Lonsdale.
Her plaque is due to be unveiled Thursday on her childhood Edwardian terrace in Seven Kings, Ilford, where she lived from 1911 to 1927. Recognized for her groundbreaking work on crystal structures, Lonsdale was an ardent advocate for women in science.