Princess Diana’s Legacy Of Love, Laughter & Compassion Endures On What Would Have Been Her 63rd Birthday

Jun 28, 2024 by apost team

Princess Diana was known as the “People's Princess.” Even after her untimely passing in 1997, her popularity with the public has only grown. If anything, it has grown even stronger as her sons, Prince William and Prince Harry, have continued to honor her incredible legacy.

Diana was born on July 1, 1961. On the occasion of what would have been her 60th birthday in 2021, William and Harry paid tribute to their mother by unveiling the first official statue of her. Located at the Sunken Garden at Kensington Palace, one of Diana's favorite spots at the residence, the statue was opened to the public so that people could visit and pay their respects in person.

Sculpted by Ian Rank-Broadley, the statue depicts Diana with short hair accompanied by three children. In front, a paving stone is engraved with words inspired by the poem “The Measure of Man.” 

“The figure of Diana, Princess of Wales, is surrounded by three children who represent the universality and generational impact of the Princess’s work," Kensington Palace said regarding the statue’s special meaning.

The statement also continued, "The portrait and style of dress was based on the final period of her life, as she gained confidence in her role as an ambassador for humanitarian causes and aims to convey her character and compassion." 

Although Diana's legacy is wide-ranging — from her iconic sense of style to her ability to buck the rigid royal system — what's most lasting is her kindness and legacy of humanitarian work. In fact, her charitable efforts have been continued by her two sons and their respective wives.

In honor of what would have been Diana's 63rd birthday, let's take a look at what made the people's princess so loved by the world.

Diana, Princess of Wales (1983), (IMAGO/Bridgeman Images)

Still today, Princess Diana is remembered fondly all over the world for her kind-hearted manner and charity work. Diana's early death in 1997 at the age of 36 devastated not only the British royal family but also fans across the globe. In the wake of her passing, memorabilia related to her quickly gained prominence.

According to PEOPLE, Diana celebrated her last birthday alive on July 1, 1997, by attending a gala in London. She took time to greet fans and supporters who had gathered outside with birthday cards, presents and balloons. It was evident how she earned the moniker “The People’s Princess.”

While there have been lulls of interest, Diana remains a popular person and topic, even to this day. Documentaries and series like Netflix's "The Crown" keep people interested in everything there is to know about Diana and the tragic tale behind her rise as a beloved British royal family member.

What set Diana apart from the rest was her unwavering dedication to helping others. The Diana Award, an organization honoring young people who improve the lives of others, was set up to “empower young people to lead that change through a range of initiatives which unlock their potential, inspire action and create opportunities, ensuring that no young person is left out or left behind.”

Among her many charitable efforts, Diana worked with various organizations, including the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, made strides in helping to break down the stigma of HIV/AIDS, spent time with disabled and ill kids at Great Ormond Street Hospital, and advocated for the homeless.

Statue of Princess Diana (2021), (IMAGO/Matrix)

The statue of Diana's unveiling coincided with what would have been her 60th birthday in 2021. Fans worldwide took to social media to pay tribute to Diana and the new statue. Of course, the most important tribute came from the late princess’ children — William, Prince of Wales, and Prince Harry, who have continued her incredible legacy of helping others.

"Today, on what would have been our mother's 60th birthday, we remember her love, strength and character — qualities that made her a force for good around the world, changing countless lives for the better,” William and Harry said in their joint statement that accompanied the unveiling of their late mother’s statue. 

One of the reasons Diana's humanitarian work resonated so much with the world was that she went further than other public figures before her. Instead of just talking about her passions, she went to the front lines — literally putting her life at risk by walking through a field of active landmines or sitting with leprosy patients.

Harry honored his mother's 1997 trip to Dirico, Angola, where she walked through a field of landmines by tracing the same route himself in 2019. He shared a photo of his mother from her trip there before he posted images of himself walking the same path. 

Diana's trip had a direct impact on the region as it led to historical change by helping enact the Ottawa Treaty, also known as the Convention Against Anti-Personnel Landmines. 

Honoring his mother on what would have been her 61st birthday, William paid tribute to the 2022 recipients of The Diana Award. 

Prince Charles, Princess Diana (1987), (IMAGO/United Archives)

According to PEOPLE, the award honors individuals for their social action and humanitarian work, which Diana had valued and promoted for much of her life as a royal.

William released a letter congratulating the 2022 winners and admiring them for carrying on his late mother’s legacy. On official Kensington Palace stationery with William’s standard “W” cipher, William wrote: 

“You truly are the personification of my mother’s legacy and I know she would be so proud of you all. I believe there’s no better way to celebrate her life and work than through recognizing incredible people who dedicate so much time and effort to helping those around them.”

According to TODAY, Harry also honored the recipients. He shared: 

“My mother instilled in me, and in all of us, a drive to speak up and fight for a better world.” Harry added, “All of you have kept her voice alive by showing the world how each small action counts, how kindness is still valued and how our world can be better if we choose to make it so."

Charles Spencer — the 9th Earl Spencer and Diana’s brother — also honored his late sister on what would’ve been her 61st birthday with a photo of a stud for the Princess Diana Memorial. 

“Amazing to think of the enduring impact of a woman who died so young,” the Earl Spencer said.

Perhaps Diana left no greater influence on anyone than her sons, William and Harry, who were only 15 and 12, respectively, when she passed. While the brothers' relationship has been frosty of late, they continue to honor her legacy by continuing her charitable works.

Diana’s influence is very much reflected in her sons’ lives. Both William and Harry bestowed engagement rings made from Diana’s jewelry to their respective wives, Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex.

Prince William, Princess Diana, Prince Harry (IMAGO/ZUMA Press)

On the 25th anniversary of her death in 2022, Harry explained that he wanted the day to be “filled with memories of her incredible work and love for the way she did it.” 

“I want it to be a day to share the spirit of my mum with my family, with my children, who I wish could have met her. Every day, I hope to do her proud,” he added.

Harry has also drawn comparisons between his mother and wife when it comes to the media’s relentless coverage. During his and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2021, he said:

“My biggest concern was history repeating itself. And I’ve said that before, on numerous occasions, very publicly. What I was seeing was history repeating itself. More perhaps, or far more dangerously, because then you add race in, and social media in. And when I’m talking about history repeating itself, I’m talking about my mother.”

William has remained more reserved about speaking publicly about his mother. However, because Diana had such an incredible talent for touching people’s hearts, many have been vocal about their affection for her. Among them was former British prime minister Tony Blair, who called her a “wonderful and a warm human being” following her death.

“She touched the lives of so many others in Britain and throughout the world with joy and with comfort. How many times shall we remember her in how many different ways – with the sick, the dying, with children, with the needy? With just a look or a gesture that spoke so much more than words, she would reveal to all of us the depth of her compassion and her humanity,” he added. 

Princess Diana, Mother Teresa (1992), (IMAGO/Avalon.Red)

Images captured by photographers have played a significant role in cementing Princess Diana’s legacy. Among the most memorable were of her in her “revenge dress,” her solitary pose at the Taj Mahal and her meeting with Mother Teresa. All these photographs had been taken by Anwar Hussein, who was Buckingham Palace’s accredited photographer for over 50 years. In May 2024, an exhibition featuring some of his best snaps of the princess opened to the public in London. The exhibition allowed Hussein to showcase some of Diana’s most memorable personas, ranging from a fashion icon to a doting mother, and social butterfly to empathetic humanitarian.

“She knew how to convey a message through a photograph,” Hussein said.

Diana wore many hats in her lifetime, but perhaps the one she cherished most was being a mother. In the 2017 documentary “Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy,” Prince William said:

“She was very informal and really enjoyed the laughter and the fun… she understood that there was a real life outside of palace walls.”

In the same documentary, Prince Harry remarked:

“She was our mom. She still is our mom. And of course, as a son I would say this, she was the best mom in the world. She smothered us with love, that’s for sure.”

When recalling the fun and laughter with their mother, Harry cheekily described her as “one of the naughtiest parents.”

On July 1, 2024, Diana would have celebrated her 63rd birthday. There’s no doubt that her memory undoubtedly remains with her loved ones on this day. Although Diana is no longer with us, her legacy shines brighter than ever.

Princess Diana (IMAGO/Capital Pictures)

What do you remember most about Diana, Princess of Wales? Were you inspired by her charitable work? Let us know your thoughts and pass this along to your loved ones to honor Diana’s memory.

Please scroll below for more stories :-)