The Royal Family is often mired in scandal. But one royal that everyone seems to remember fondly is Princess Diana. She died tragically in a car accident in 1997. But before that, we saw her weather a doomed marriage, serve as a devoted mother, and lend her support to humanitarian causes all around the world.
In short, she was a royal we could both relate to and root for. And candid photographs of her life reveal the depths of how much she cared for the world around her. These candid photos will help you discover how many people Diana helped in every corner of the globe.
Just make sure you have some tissues nearby for the inevitable tears!
Handling rumors of her engagement to Prince Charles
The Royal Family likes to announce things in their own time, especially engagement announcements. But rumors start early, and this video shows Diana dealing with reporters asking about her rumored engagement to Prince Charles. Diana is clearly nervous, but also kindly helps the annoying reporter avoid walking into a pole!
Diana’s first public appearance after getting married
Before her tragic divorce and untimely death, Diana led the fairytale life many dreamed of: she was a common woman who married a charming prince and became a princess. And in this footage from her first public appearance since she got married, we can see a nervous young woman keeping it together in front of the whole world!
Visiting Harlem hospital
Diana visited sick people all around the world in order to offer them comfort and hope. And we can see how much she lit faces up in this photo from her 1989 visit to Harlem Hospital.
Visiting survivors of Piper Alpha disaster
Here is footage of Diana and Charles visiting survivors of the Piper Alpha disaster in 1988. A gas leak caused an oil rig explosion that killed 164 people.
Opening an AIDS ward
While she visited the sick and vulnerable all over the world, AIDS quickly became Diana’s primary cause. Fittingly enough, this video shows amazing footage of Diana opening an AIDS ward in London, using her influence to help infected patients close to both her home and her heart.
Shaking hands with an AIDS patient
While Diana was famous for visiting AIDS patients, what really raised the eyebrows of many people was that she wasn’t afraid to shake those patients’ hands with no gloves on.
This photo is from April 1987 at London Middlesex Hospital, where Diana opened the UK’s first HIV/Aids unit built exclusively for HIV/AIDS patients. This was during the height of the AIDS epidemic and there was much confusion over how it was transmitted, but Diana helped destigmatize AIDs and combat the misinformation that the virus could be spread by casual contact.
Visiting abandoned children
The recent statue honoring Diana makes a special note of how much she loved children. And this photo shows why: when visiting a hostel for abandoned children in Brazil who were diagnosed with HIV or AIDS, she didn’t hesitate to hold and embrace them.
After Diana helped destigmatize AIDS and increased awareness that the disease could not be transmitted through casual contact, adoption requests for HIV-positive children reportedly surged (via Insider).
Playing with the family jewels?
Generally speaking, the jewelry of royalty is considered very important. In fact, such jewelry usually becomes a family heirloom passed down from generation to generation. But Diana wasn’t afraid to let a small child play with the jewelry in order to earn a beautiful young smile!
Helping to destigmatize AIDS
By the end of the ’80s, this was a familiar sight: a fearless Princess Diana who was unafraid to embrace those diagnosed with AIDS.
“Nothing brings me more happiness than trying to help the most vulnerable people in society,” Diana told Martin Bashir in their infamous interview (via The Sunday Post). Here, we see her putting that philosophy into action!
Listening to patients
In her time, Diana was regarded as a great listener. And we can see that in action here as she leans in close to hear everything this man with AIDS has to tell her.
Always giving back
These days, Diana is considered something of an LGBTQ+ icon. And we can see why based on photos like this, where she visited the Toronto AIDS hospice Casey House and offered gifts to the residents.
Handling her rambunctious children
No matter how rich or famous you are, nothing humanizes someone quite like watching them handle children. And it’s genuinely difficult not falling in love with Diana all over again as you watch her chase after a young William and Harry in this video!
A personal touch with her children
Princess Diana is famous in part for her willingness to hug children (both sick and well) all around the world. And it looks like that started with the joy she got from embracing her own children. Here she is with a young Prince Harry!
Here comes the hug!
Diana was known for being a loving mother. Here you can see her going to embrace a young William and Harry.
“She would just engulf you and squeeze you as tight as possible,” Harry has said (via Hello Magazine). “Being as short as I was then, there was no escape, you were there for as long as she wanted to hold you. Even talking about it now, I can feel the hugs that she used to give us.”
A trip to the amusement park
Here Diana took William and Harry to Thorpe Park amusement park in 1993. You can see her laughing after they’ve gotten quite soaked on a log ride!
Mother and son
One thing that even Diana’s biggest critics can agree on is that she loved her children very much. Look at this adorable photo of her and Harry!
Charles (not) in charge
We mostly look back on the marriage of Charles and Diana with sadness. But in this funny photo from their visit to an iron ore mine located close to Carajas, Brazil, we can see they had fun together from time to time.
Diana attends a James Bond premiere
If you think James Bond is popular here, you should see how much the English love him! And Diana isn’t immune: here, we can see how thrilled she was to be attending the world premiere of For Your Eyes Only back in 1981.
Even a princess finds time to visit her old friends! And in this photo, we can see just how much visiting her friend Carolyn Bartholomew helped Diana to relax.
Old school cool
There are many ways we could describe Diana, but our favorite is “effortlessly cool.” If you don’t think that applies, just check out this awesome shot of her in a bikini as she took to the ocean in 1990!
Diana’s street style
It didn’t take long for Diana to establish a reputation as the people’s princess. And judging from this wicked combo of Harvard sweatshirt and bike shorts, she knew how to do comfortable just as well as she knew how to do glamorous.
Diana runs barefoot
Ever see a royal running as fast as they can? In this video, Diana is attending Harry’s sports day at school. And she wasn’t afraid to take her shoes off and run quite fast despite wearing a skirt!