Princess Diana died tragically 20 years ago on Aug. 31.. On this date in 1997, she died due to complications resulting from a car crash, and it’s safe to say the world has never been the same.
Princess Diana was known as the “People’s Princess” because of her humanitarian efforts and her popularity. And 20 years later, fans around the world are still mourning her loss.
She left behind two sons, Prince William and Prince Harry who are now ages 35 and 32. They were 15 and 12 when their mother died.
This year, the two have been more vocal than ever before about what it was like to lose their mother, especially in such a public way and at such young ages.
“There’s not a day that William and I don’t wish that she was … we don’t wish that she was still around, and we wonder what kind of a mother she would be now,” Harry said in a documentary about Diana that aired in July. “And what kind of a public role she would have, and what a difference she would be making.”
But, she does still continue to make a difference, as her children have done a great job of carrying out her charitable nature and legacy.
1. She Was A Humanitarian
Even behind the scenes, Princess Di was very active in causes she cared about. She supported the National AIDS Trust, Great Ormond Street Hospital, the Leprosy Mission and more.
“One of the things our mother taught William and I was the value of doing good when no one is watching,” Prince Harry said at an awards ceremony in May. “She visited hospitals late at night to comfort patients. She spent hours writing letters to privately support the work of others. She achieved a lot by shining a spotlight, but she worked just as hard when the cameras were gone.”
2. She Was A Fashion Icon
From her everyday attire to her iconic wedding dress, Princess Di was a symbol of elegance that many people looked to for style inspiration.
“It was a magical time,” David Emanuel, one of the designers of the princess’ wedding dress recalled to E! News. “She was young, she was beautiful, so how to start to design for someone like that? So whatever you do, you have to make the gown young. But, she was going in Lady Diana Spencer, she’s coming out the Princess of Wales, so this dress had to be young and sweet, but it also had to be glam because she was going to be a royal princess. She couldn’t do a quiet-looking, low-key little gown.”
And the gown was anything but low-key. It was extravagant and definitely worth remembering.
3. She Loved Working With Children
Princess Di could always be spotted with her young boys, and even before she became a royal and a mom herself, she had a great love for children.
According to Biography.com, she was an assistant at Young England Kindergarten before her courtship with Prince Charles began.
4. She’s Still Influencing Her Kids
In many ways, she’s continuing to influence her own children, and therefore helping kids all over the world.
Inspired by the difficult time they had coping with their mother’s loss and their mother’s love for helping others, Prince William and Prince Harry created Heads Up, a charity to aid those dealing with mental health issues.
Through the campaign, they encourage youths and anyone struggling to do something they didn’t necessarily do when their mother passed away—talk about it.
“You know, even (Kate Middleton) and I have not talked enough over the years about our mother,” Prince William said in a video for the charitable organization.
He went on to note, “You have to prioritize your mental health.” And they’re hoping their story can help people do just that.
5. She Left A Mark On The Public
In honor of the anniversary of her death, people have set up tributes both at the site of the car crash and outside of the place she called home, Kensington Palace.
“It’s like it was yesterday still, which means she is still here in our hearts,” one fan, Linda Grant, told Time. “She has never gone away and she never will. She never will.”
People are leaving flowers, photos and cards. Prince William and Prince Harry have even visited the areas to speak with the mourners.
“The Duke and Prince Harry are grateful for the many flowers, letters, and messages they have received about their mother,” Kensington Palace said Wednesday, according to ABC News. “They wanted to say thank you to those who made the journey to Kensington Palace.”
Much like the song written about her, it really seems as though “[her] candle’s burned out long before [her] legend ever will.”