Yet Princess Diana has rarely spoken officially to her beloved audience.
No wonder the words she left are now treated with so much respect.
It would be her 60th birthday on July 1 but, of course, she never lived to see it. Her life was taken in a car crash in Paris in 1997 at the age of 36, when hopes for a bright future outside the royal family were dashed.
But what would her life be like now if the devastating tragedy hadn’t happened?
Diana would undoubtedly have continued to selflessly work for her humanitarian causes outside of The Firm. And she has made it clear that she will also devote her time to her sons beloved by ex-husband Prince Charles, Princes William and Harry.
Her public comments give us glimpses of the woman inside.
Speaking in 1993 – the year after her split from Prince Charles – she said: “Over the next few months I will be looking for a more appropriate way to combine a meaningful public role with hopefully the, a more private life.
“My first priority will continue to be our children, William and Harry, who deserve as much love, care and attention as I can give them, as well as an appreciation for the tradition into which they were born. “
Diana was a breath of fresh air when she joined the ranks of Britain’s biggest institution. Yet, in front of the public eye, she also had to fight her demons.
She believed from her beginnings in the heart of the House of Windsor that she would never be queen.
Speaking in 1991, she said: “From day one I always knew. No one told me that, I knew it.
AIDS AND LAND MINES
“I’m going to cut a very different path from everyone else. I’m going to break with this montage and go help the man in the street.
“I hate to say ‘man in the street’, that sounds so condescending.
“But I’m pushed more and more that way. I no longer like glamorous occasions, I feel uncomfortable. I would much prefer to do something with sick people, I am more comfortable there.
She has had her own issues, including a long battle with bulimia that began after her engagement to Prince Charles in 1981.
She told her voice coach, “Everyone knew about bulimia in the family and they blamed the failed marriage on bulimia.
“It took a while for them to think differently.
“I could have gone for alcohol, which would have been obvious. I could have become anorexic, which would have been even more obvious.
“I decided to do it more discreetly, which in the end was not discreet.
“But I chose to hurt myself instead of hurting you all. “
Speaking at a conference in 1993 on eating problems, she said: “Eating disorders, whether it is anorexia or bulimia, show how an individual can transform life. ‘feed the body into a painful attack on itself, and they have a much deeper problem at the base than mere vanity.
Diana has brought a personal touch to all the causes close to her heart, such as the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and landmines in Africa.
Speaking to Time magazine, she said: “It’s vital that the monarchy stays in touch with the people – that’s what I’m trying to do. “
It is a legacy that lives on in his children, William inheriting his mother’s easy relationships with people and putting them to good use in his work advocating for frontline workers and youth.
But despite Diana’s ease with audiences, there were hints the mother-of-two was struggling with her role. Speaking the same year at an eating disorder awareness conference, she said, “I am convinced that the pursuit of perfection in society can leave the individual breathless. “
As she battled the media glare, Diana relished her role as a mother and pledged to “nurture” her two boys with love.
She worried for her eldest, William, about the expectation placed on her young shoulders.
She told friends after Harry was born, “It’s only when the baby is much older that he will realize how lucky he is not to be the oldest.”
“The second child will never have the same pressures or problems that poor William will have to endure. “
But she also had a good sense of humor about motherhood.
Actress Joan Rivers remembers the day she met Diana. William had just left for Eton and she asked Diana if she had ever redecorated her room. “I don’t know if I should make it a sauna or a gym,” Diana replied wryly.
When Liz Tilberis, former editor-in-chief of British Vogue, asked if Diana had her children with her, she replied: ‘Oh, no, they’re in Scotland filming furry little things with their father. “
Diana’s greatest gift, perhaps, was to spread kindness.
By hugging AIDS patients in the 1980s, she helped break down the stigma surrounding the disease.
This warm demeanor quietly modernized the royal family.
Speaking in a speech in 1993, she said: “Maybe we are too embarrassed to change, too afraid of the consequences to show we care. But why not risk it.
“Start today. Perform a random act of seemingly insane kindness, with no expectation of reward or punishment. Knowing that someday someone, somewhere, could do the same for you.
“Deep down in all of us, there is a need to care and be taken care of. We all have this right.
At 16, doe-eyed, Diana first caught the attention of Prince Charles as he courted her older sister Sarah.
With her lively personality, Diana quickly caught his eye and was invited to keep him company in Balmoral and Windsor.
She told her voice coach that Prince Charles loved her intensely at first.
Describing their first kiss, Diana said, “He jumped on me and started kissing me and everything.
“It’s not what people do, and he was all over me the rest of the evening – followed me everywhere, everything, pup. “
But the feeling was more than mutual and Diana quickly fell in love with the young Prince. During their engagement interview in 1981, when asked if they were in love, Diana replied, “Sure. “
To which Charles responds with the very quoted: “Whatever means” in love “. “
She later said, “Charles turned around and said, ‘All that love means,’ and that just blew me away. I thought, “What a strange question – uh, answer”. God absolutely traumatized me.
Ultimately, their marriage will officially end in divorce in 1996 – but the couple had already spent years living apart.
Although she had high hopes and dreams of continuing her humanitarian work outside of the royal family, Diana’s life tragically ended a year later in this car crash in a Paris tunnel. But his legacy will live on over the years.
Speaking at a charity lunch for the Headway Brain Injury Charity in 1993, the People’s Princess summed up her commitment to public service.
Diana said: “To the general public, can I say that I have made a lot of friends. I have been allowed to share your thoughts and dreams, your disappointments and your happiness.
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“You also gave me an education – teaching me more about life and life than any book or teacher could have.
“My debt of gratitude to all of you is immense.
“I hope, one way or another, that I have done a favor in return. “
‘Like a queen and a nun’
Every time I see Prince William, I think of Diana.
It was a woman who held the hand of a leper and those close to death in the hospices.
As she sat with children in war-torn Angola, she touched their cheeks.
How could this sensitivity not rub off on her two boys?
Diana didn’t follow the rules of the royal family, she did it her way. Many members of the royal family could not cope with it. But little by little they changed and now everyone works like Diana.
For me, Diana was THE woman of the 21st century. She had the dignity of a queen but the compassion of a nun.
She was so young, full of energy and vitality, with a brilliant sense of humor.
I was so excited when I went to work with her. A smile and you knew your photo was going in the newspaper.
JOY TO SO MANY
Once, on a rainy day in Norwich, I wore a flat cap as I stood on a ladder to photograph the princess.
Diana looked up at me and said, “Are you wearing that hat for a bet, Arthur?” She had laughter on her lips the whole time. And when she smiled, the world lit up. She has brought joy to so many people.
She was a shining star. Acres and acres of newsprint were devoted to it. It wasn’t just because she was pretty, she did so many good things for charities and causes.
Diana’s greatest strength was the kindness she showed towards everyone, not just the rich and famous, but also the poor and less fortunate.
She wanted her children to be well behaved and well established. She took them to homeless shelters to see how others were living. And while the boys knew they were born into great privilege, she took them to McDonald’s and to the movies, like any other family.
If she had lived, Diana would still be a style icon today, showing up at her charities with a twinkle in her eyes and giving that smile.
A woman who made the country, where her son will one day be king, a more caring and compassionate place.