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princess-dianaDiana, Princess of Wales, was famous for her beauty, sense of fashion, and her transition as a young 20-year-old into a determined, savvy women after marrying into the royal family. However it was Diana’s reputation for working endlessly on behalf of charitable causes that has kept her in the hearts of people around the world since her early passing due to a car accident on August 31, 1997.

She was in a unique position to help, not just because of status and fame. Diana had a passion for giving not because it was a tradition of the royal family, but instead because she had a sincere desire to help others. Diana, who suffered tremendously with bulimia, depression and anxiety in the years after she married Prince Charles, was able to empathize well with others who were suffering.

Princess Diana often reached out to the outcasts of society and did so fearlessly and with compassion. She was led to work with victims of HIV, AIDS and leprosy and was the first member of the royal family to touch a person suffering with HIV/AIDS without gloves. At the time, it was believed the disease could be transmitted through touch. Princess Diana demonstrated that she cared by taking patients hands during difficult times. The gesture went on to become a global sensation, and changed how people thought about the disease.

“I think the biggest disease this world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved,” she said in an interview with BBC in 1995. “I know that I can give love for a minute, for half an hour, for a day,for a month-I’m very happy to do that and I want to do that.”

In her lifetime, Princess Diana helped over 100 charities. Two decades after Princess Diana’s untimely death, her sons are continuing to carry on her passion for giving.

Princes Harry and William and William’s wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, all have come together in their philanthropic efforts. Prince Harry is currently a patron of the Halo Trust, the world’s largest humanitarian min clearance organization, which Princess Diana also worked with during her time on earth.

Prince William is patron of Centrepoint, a homeless hostel to which Diana brought her sons for visits when they were children. Princess Diana spent time instilling the importance of helping others in her two boys. “I want them to have an understanding of people’s emotions, people’s insecurities, people’s distress and people’s hopes and dreams,” she said of her sons.

It’s evident that Princess Diana go through to her boys. The princes’ have embraced a transparency about giving back that has never been seen from the royal family before. In July 2016, Prince Harry was tested for HIV in a live video broadcast in an effort to destigmatize the disease. The video was said to be a groundbreaking moment by HIV charities.

In addition, Prince William became the first member to appear on the cover of a gay publication following the massacre at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. In the issue, William was quoted saying, “No one should be bullied for their sexuality or any other reason. You should be proud of the person  you are, and you have nothing to be ashamed of.”

Continuing their mother’s legacy, William and Harry along with Kate have spearheaded the charity Heads Together, which focuses on opening up the conversation about mental health. Princess Diana was very open about her struggles with mental health and become the first person in the royal family to be openly tearful, which gave her sons the courage to do the same. This year, Harry broke the royal family’s code of silence and opened up about his personal life, stating he suffered mentally following his mother’s death.

In 2012, the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry absorbed the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund. This fund, established in 1997, was meant to further Diana’s mission of helping the outcasts of society and “unfashionable” causes. So far, 47,000 people around the world have recieved the Diana Award, presented to young people aiming to improve the lives of others. There is a whole new generation of people who are carrying on her work to change the world for the better.

Dana once said,”Carry out a random act of kindness with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you.” She could never have predicted how her sons and their loved ones would come to embody this sentiment as passionately as she did. But today, they continue to live out her legacy and provide help to those who need it most.

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