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How Princess Diana changed the royal family

Many notes that Princess Diana was a powerful influence on the royal family. And it's not just that her death shook all the foundations of the British monarchy. She was called the queen of people's hearts because she was not at all like the typical “cold” and aloof British aristocrats. There was a lot of new, almost revolutionary for the monarchy in the way she played the role of the princess. How exactly Diana changed the British royal family, we tell in our material.

1. Communicating with people

During public events, it was always common for the royal family to walk through the crowd without stopping until Queen Elizabeth II changed that order. She was the first of the monarchs to communicate with the public during visits — it happened on a tour of Australia and New Zealand in 1970.

However, Princess Diana took this tradition to a whole new level. She was not afraid to get close to the crowd, greeted people with handshakes, and even hugged. When interacting with children, Diana often squatted on the floor to create a more informal and intimate atmosphere.

This is one of the many traditions that her sons, Princes William and Harry, have inherited from her. They also often have friendly interactions with local residents or workers of the organizations they visit, and in such conversations, they often reveal some nice details about their families. For example, Prince William often talks about his children.

2. Public displays of affection

With regard to British monarchs, there is a good reason for the expression “stiff upper lip” — it is a symbol of the fact that monarchs should keep their emotions in check and not express their feelings in public.

And before Diana came along, the royal family was always very low-key in public. Even the closest people were not supposed to hold hands, hug, and even more, so kiss each other in public.

Princess Diana with sons William and Harry

But Princess Diana also questioned this rule — tactile contact with her children was very important to her.

She could grab us in her arms and hug us as tightly as possible. And you just didn't have a chance to sneak away. She hugged us as long as she wanted. Even talking about it now, I can feel the hug that she gave us.

— recalled in 2017 Harry in a documentary dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana.

It is known that Prince Harry, when he was still performing royal duties, also hugged his fans, and Prince William and Kate Middleton sometimes show feelings for each other in public, for example, holding hands while walking.

3. Royal family tours

There was a lot of discussion in the press about the decision of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to take their son Archie, who was then only four months old, on a tour of Africa. But they were far from being the pioneers (although Archie seems to be the youngest royal child to “support” his parents on an official trip).

Previously, the heirs of monarchs stayed with nannies and governors at home, as royal tours often lasted several months. However, when Prince Charles and Princess Diana were due to tour Australia and New Zealand in 1983, they made the decision to take their ten-month-old son, William, with them — Diana seemed unable to imagine being separated from the baby.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana with their son William

The tradition was then followed by the adult William — his children were already with him and Kate on trips to Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Poland, and Germany.

4. Flights

Traditionally, two heirs to the throne should not fly on the same plane — in case the worst happens, the state should not lose two successors of the monarch at once. But when William and Harry were young, Diana insisted that she and Charles travel with their sons. She wanted the boys to feel like a normal family. Today, children also accompany William and Kate on flights.

Princess Diana with her sons

5. Hospital birth

Traditionally, birth in the royal family took place at home. So, Queen Elizabeth II herself was born in the house of her grandparents at 17 Bruton Street in London, and Prince Charles was born in Buckingham Palace. However, Diana did not like these outdated rules — she wanted a more modern hike, so she gave birth to both sons in the hospital.

How Princess Diana changed the royal family

Princess Diana and Prince Charles with their son William

By the way, Prince William became the first royal heir to be born in a medical institution. The future king of Great Britain was born at St. Mary's Hospital on June 21, 1982. His three children — George, Charlotte, and Louis — were also born there. Meanwhile, Harry's son, Archie, was born at a private Portland Hospital in Westminster, England.

6. Getting an education

Members of the royal family have always been educated outside the palace walls with governesses and private teachers. And although Prince Charles went to school at the age of seven, it was Prince William who became the first heir to the throne to complete all stages of primary education in the state system. At Diana's insistence, at the age of three, he began attending Mrs. Minor's kindergarten in 1985.

Princess Diana and Prince William

Prince William has embodied this experience in his own family. His son George entered Westacre Montessori School at the age of two and a half in 2016. In 2019, Princess Charlotte began her studies at Thomas's Battersea, which her older brother also attends. Children had to switch to homeschooling this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

7. Normal life

Born in a palace - a privilege to be proud and cherished? Princess Diana clearly had a different opinion! She decided from the very beginning that her sons would not be spoiled princes who see nothing but the walls of the palace and servants. Diana insisted that they have as many daily routines as possible so that they do not feel isolated and disconnected from the outside world when they grow up.

Princess Diana with sons William and Harry

8. A bit of hooliganism

Princess Diana's public outings are an example of elegance and good taste. But on vacation, she allowed herself and the children to relax. No polished shoes or perfect styling, but lots of genuine fun. Diana allowed the boys to spend time as carefree as their usual peers. Together with her sons, Diana visited public pools, beaches and she herself enjoyed riding with the boys on attractions.

Princess Diana with sons William and Harry

9. Breaking down barriers

The strict formal relationship between employer and employee was also reformed by the princess. She treated the assistants not as service personnel, but as close acquaintances - after all, they spent a lot of time under the same roof. Thus, Princes William and Harry were allowed to look into the royal kitchen, communicate with the staff, oversee the preparation of food (and even help if they wanted to).

Princess Diana and the butler Paul Burrell

In addition, the boys often played with the children of the palace staff. Well, the princess herself was friendly with many of her assistants, including the butler Paul Burrell. Communicating with a wide variety of people meant that from an early age, the two princes knew about life outside of their close royal circle, and this was very important to Diana.

10. The right to be funny

All the rules of formal photoshoots with staged shots for press releases and postcards were forgotten when Diana allowed herself to add emotion and humor. In public, the princess was not afraid to look a little ridiculous or ridiculous: the proof of this is this fun fuss with Sarah Ferguson on the slope of the ski resort. This undertaking by Diana also caught on - how can you not remember a cute photo of Kate and William playing snowballs during their holidays in the Alps in 2016.

Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson

Kate Middleton and Prince William

11. Courage to be an example

In the 1980s and early 1990s, the world was hit by a real AIDS epidemic, while the disease was still poorly understood. The lack of information only contributed to the growth of panic, and there were many stereotypes about the patients themselves. For example, it was believed that you can get infected almost by touching.

Princess Diana showed courage and by her example showed that you should not stigmatize such people and present them as lepers. She called for compassion and help and literally extended her hand to everyone who faced this disease.

Princess Diana

She taught her sons the same attitude towards the needy, and Prince Harry continues his mother's work, supporting HIV / AIDS patients with the help of his charitable organization Sentebale.

12. Public image

When Princess Diana supported the anti-personnel mine ban campaign, she didn't just voice the issue - she also knew how important her photographs would be to support the initiative. A report on her trip to Angola in 1997 went viral in newspapers around the world, and the founders of the campaign called this visit a turning point in the fight against this type of weapon (and they started this campaign already in 1989!).

Princess Diana in Angola, 1997

Just over three months after Diana's death, 122 governments signed the Ottawa Treaty, which aimed to end the production and use of such mines.

Prince Harry talks to a woman victim of a mine explosion in Angola. In 1997, Princess Diana met with her.

13. Frankness

The Queen was always silent when it came to her private life, which was considered quite decent behavior for a monarch. Elizabeth II was severely criticized only for her silence after the death of Princess Diana.

But the princess herself was already a representative of another generation and, perhaps, was the first to speak frankly about her experiences. When Diana was interviewed about the breakup of her marriage, it made her image closer - thousands of people could understand her feelings and identify with her.

Princess Diana

Diana's sons did not hide their pain from loss - Harry and William also spoke frankly about how their mother's death affected them. They also raise awareness of mental health issues in society and support organizations that do so.

14. Fundraising for charity

The royal family has long supported hundreds of charitable organizations, but it was Diana who popularized not only participation in events as a patroness, but, in fact, direct requests for donations. For example, she hosted a highly publicized auction at the time, selling out some of her most iconic dresses in 1997.

Princess Diana

15. Relations with the press

A tendency that Diana unwittingly provoked and which, alas, became fatal for her.

As soon as it became known that Prince Charles was dating Lady Diana Spencer, interest in the young aristocrat became incredible, and the paparazzi often went beyond decency in an attempt to get an exclusive shot. In the end, according to the official version, it was the paparazzi who provoked the accident in which Diana died. This terrible event changed the relationship between the press and the royal family forever.

Prince Charles and Princess Diana

Agreements were made between the palace and the British press to reduce the demand for paparazzi photographs obtained in questionable circumstances. These agreements are valid to this day.

Photo of Princess Diana's car, taken in Paris on August 31, 1997, shortly before the accident

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, who survived the press attention, faced a similar problem. It was this that became one of the reasons why they abandoned their royal duties. Now the Dukes of Sussex are even suing British tabloids.

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