Diana, Princess of Wales
Class: Civics (CHV201)
Date: May 31, 2005
The Assignment: Write an essay and do a presentation about a famous outstanding citizen.
Diana, Princess of Wales was an outstanding citizen who changed many people’s lives throughout the world. Her lifestyle was quite normal until she married into the Royal Family in 1981. She then decided to become involved with many different causes and charities, and her numerous accomplishments lead to her becoming an outstanding person.
Diana Frances Spencer was born in Sandringham, Norfolk, England on July 1, 1961. Her parents divorced while she was young and her father gained custody of Diana and her brother. She went to school at Riddlesworth Hall in Norfolk and West Heath School in Kent. Diana was a below-average student and she failed many exams, but this did not stop her from achieving a great deal of success later in her life. In 1980, she was a kindergarten teacher in Knightsbridge, and she soon married Prince Charles, making Diana “Her Royal Highness, The Princess of Wales.” In 1982, their first son, Prince William, was born and in 1984, their second son, Prince Harry, was born. Throughout the 1980s, Diana and Charles were having marriage problems, which would eventually lead to their separation in 1992 and their divorce in 1996. On August 31, 1997, Diana died in an automobile accident in Paris; she was 36 years old.
In 1992, Diana adopted charity work as her “royal duty” and much of her time was devoted to it. By the time of her death, Diana had been the head of nearly one hundred charities; notably she was the vice president of the British Red Cross and an advisor for the International Red Cross. One of Diana’s favourite causes was the campaign against landmines. The campaign started in the early 1990s when several organizations (including the International Red Cross) made public stories about death from landmines. In 1997 alone twenty-five thousand people were killed by landmines (more than one every thirty minutes). In January 1997, she visited Angola, a country with countless landmines. She talked with landmine survivors and attended seminars about landmines. Another of her major causes was AIDS. She changed the world’s opinion of people with AIDS by touching an infected person. Before that time, people thought that you could catch AIDS by simply touching someone with the disease. Diana also supported other charities concerning drug abuse victims and homeless children.
Diana’s impact was shown at her funeral in 1997. There were almost two thousand invited guests, an estimated three million people outside the funeral, and millions of people watching all over the world. Those wanting to sign an official memorial book for Diana would have to wait up to eleven hours. There were more than one million flowers left at her home. Many people were upset that the flag in front of Buckingham Palace did not fly at hast-mast (this is because the Queen was not at the palace and was not a sign of disrespect for Diana). After her death, suicide rates in England went up 45% in women between the ages of twenty-five and forty-four and 17% overall. While still living, Diana was the most photographed woman in the world, she modernized the monarchy, and changed the world’s knowledge of AIDS, landmines, and many other causes.
Diana was a very insecure person, who did not believe she was worthy of her position. To feel better, she wanted to do good for others. Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, explained that Diana told him that her pain allowed her to connect with the less fortunate. After giving birth, Diana became depressed and attempted suicide on several occasions. By involving herself with charity work, it would take her mind off her marriage and other personal problems. While her reason for being motivated was not positive, her actions affected people in a positive manner.
I believe Diana was a very strong woman. She was under constant scrutiny by the media, survived depression and eating disorders, and endured a painful marriage. Ultimately, the media would play a part in the end of her life; Diana having been chased by paparazzi on the night she died.
Diana accomplished plenty in the short time that she was known and admired throughout the world. What she did in two decades is more than equivalent to what some people achieve in a lifetime. She helped without being told and she did not ask for anything in return, which made her an outstanding citizen.
“A billion tears”. DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES: Information Centre. (newspaper article).
“Death of a Princess”. DIANA, PRINCESS OF WALES: Information Centre. (newspaper article).
__________. “Diana, Princess”. Encarta Deluxe. Microsoft Corporation, 2000. (network version).
__________. “Diana, Princess of Wales”. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana,_Princess_of_Wales>. (May 2, 2005).