Would Princess Diana Have Celebrated Pride Month?
Arguably one of the most beloved royals of all time, Princess Diana was truly seen as the princess of the people. She used her power and influence to draw attention to important issues such as cancer, human rights, and mental health. Using her title, she devoted herself to philanthropic efforts and charity work across the globe. Though she tragically lost her life whilst fleeing the paparazzi at the very young age of 36, Princess Diana is seen as ahead of her time due to her forward and innovative thinking. So much has changed in the nearly 22 years since her passing. But, Princess Diana leaves behind a legacy that alludes to how she might have chosen to celebrate certain events, most specifically, Pride Month.
Prince Harry & Meghan Markle
The month of June marks Pride Month. Pride is seen as a celebratory time for the LGBTQ+ community to reflect on and celebrate the amazing contributions of LGBTQ+ people around the world. Furthermore, the month pays tribute to the Stonewall riots that took place in New York City in June of 1969. Just days ago, Princess Diana’s son, Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan Markle showed their support of Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ community via an Instagram post. Including a photograph of the late Princess Diana in the collaged post, they said the following:
“Continuing with our tradition to rotate the accounts we follow based on causes and social issues that matter to us: For the month of June we “proudly” shine a light on PRIDE. This month we pay tribute to the accounts supporting the LGBTQ+ community – those young and old, their families and friends, accounts that reflect on the past and are hopeful for a deservedly more inclusive future. We stand with you and support you Because it’s very simple: love is love. Images above from the accounts we are now following and artist Ruben Guadalupe Marquez.”
Princess of the people
The image they chose of Princess Diana was taken at The London Lighthouse in October of 1996. It features the princess sitting in a red suit next to a patient whilst beaming at him. Harper’s Baazar UK, reported the following on the picture, “The historic image was taken in October 1996, less than a year before her death, and demonstrates how the late royal used her global platform to challenge the social stigma surrounding HIV and AIDS.”
Indeed Princess Diana did use lots of her influence to reduce the negative stigma placed on those who were suffering from the diseases. In fact, she is thought to be a key figure in changing the attitude and global mindset of the way HIV/AIDS was contracted and spread. In 1987, the princess famously opened the very first HIV/AIDS unit in the U.K at London Middlesex Hospital. When Princess Diana visited with the patients at the new unit, she elected not to wear gloves when meeting them and shaking their hands. At the time, there was lots of confusion on how the disease could be contracted, and with just a simple visit the princess managed to dispel lots of those damaging myths.
Though it’s hard to say how exactly Princess Diana would have celebrated Pride if she were still alive today, it’s hard to believe that she wouldn’t be openly supportive. With the opening of the unit in Middlesex, the princess may have also begun to destigmatize the idea that HIV/AIDS was a disease that solely plagued the LGBTQ community. Unfortunately, this belief is still held today, but in smaller numbers. We’d like to think the princess of the people would absolutely have a hand in shattering those disparaging beliefs were she still alive today.