What Was Princess Diana Known For? 10 Ways She Changed The Royal Family

Princess Diana was known for being the “people’s princess.” She was incredibly kind, dedicated and affectionate towards the public and it showed in almost everything she did — especially when it came to charity work. Diana’s passion for human connection brought her closer to those in need and, in many ways, broke the barrier between the royal family and the public.

Princess Diana

Princess Diana had a strong connection with the public. | Pierre Verdy/ AFP/ Getty Images

How Princess Diana changed the royal family

Diana might be known for her charitable work and kind-heartedness, but she also had an instrumental role in changing the public’s view of the royal family. Before Diana came around, royals weren’t as accessible as they are now and were often regarded and cold. Although the queen was making a bigger effort in connecting with the public, it was Diana that upped the ante. Discover how Princess Diana changed the royal family, below.

1. She wasn’t afraid to show affection

In public, the royal family was hardly affectionate. However, all that changed when Diana married Prince Charles. The princess was known for showing affection in public, especially towards her children. Now, Prince William and Kate Middleton take a similar approach with their kids.

2. She let her guard down

Diana broke many rules in her lifetime. One of the most notable? She refused to wear gloves when on official duty. The princess preferred to shake hands and hug everyone she met — especially those in hospitals and shelters. Today, her children treat the public with a similar openness.

3. Her children went on royal tours with her

Before Diana, it was uncommon to bring children on royal tours. However, she insisted they travel with her and Charles. Today, William and Kate have brought their young kids on several royal tours.

4. She got her hands dirty

She might have been a princess, but that didn’t stop her from rolling up her sleeves and getting to work. Diana was deeply passionate about certain causes and even put her life at risk to make a statement. Today, her sons take on charitable work with a similar approach.

5. She made the royal family seem like normal people

At the time, no one really saw how Diana was creating a more normal life for her family. However, now that her boys are older, we see how the “normal” things she did — like take them to Disneyland, let them eat McDonald’s, bring them on trips with her — helped shape who they are and gave the family a sense of normalcy. Now, William and Harry are married to commoner women and continue to break the family’s barriers to create a life that feels as normal as possible, given the circumstances.

6. She modernized motherhood

Because Princess Diana wasn’t born into royalty, she had much more modern views on motherhood. One of the biggest ways she changed motherhood in the royal family was by giving birth at a hospital. Before Diana, royal women gave birth at home (aka at one of their castles or estates).

7. Her boys went to public school

Diana insisted her boys went to public school and, as a result, Prince William met the love of his life. Before Diana, members of royalty went to private schools and were often set up by their parents. William and Harry’s schooling gave them a glimpse at normalcy.

8. She was honest and emotional

One of the biggest changes Diana made to the royal family was the way they handle emotions. While the queen might still handle things in her own way, Diana taught her boys to be honest and emotional. As a result, William and (more so) Harry are honest with the media and public and show much more emotion than their family members.

9. Her death changed the royal family forever

Diana might have modernized the royal family, but her death taught them more than her life. After an immense public uproar, the queen and the rest of the family realized how important it is to be accessible to the public. Her death helped bring them up-to-date and — by the looks of it — inspired them to be more like her.

10. The queen respected her

At Princess Diana’s funeral, the queen did the unthinkable and bowed towards her coffin — a massive sign of respect from the monarch. This showed the public — and Diana’s family — that the queen respected her former daughter-in-law.

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