Why is Princess Diana a revolutionary?
Princess Diana was no Disney princess and she certainly didn’t get a happily ever after when her short-lived fairytale ended in a tragic car crash. Nevertheless, she was as well-known as a Disney Princess. The public was drawn to her and gave her the reputation as “The People’s Princess” because she was so relatable (Kofman). A revolutionary is a brave individual who leaves a lasting imprint on the world’s perspective about significant social issues. The connection that Diana had with her people led to the changing of the way the world viewed both mental and physical disorders, bettering the world and creating a solidified place in history as a revolutionist.
Diana lived her life a royalty, yet she struggled through many personal issues. Numerous of Diana’s problems derived from her marriage to Charles. Lady Diana Spencer married Prince of Wales, Charles, at the tender age of 19 and became Princess Diana. The brother of Diana, Earl Spencer, described her married life as “bizarre” during her eulogy (Smith). Even before they got married, there was already trouble in paradise for Diana. Diana reveals an encounter that took place before their engagement, “My husband put his hand on my waistline and said: ‘Oh, a bit chubby here, aren’t we?’ And that triggered off something in me”(Smith). Not only is this verbal abuse and a red flag of an unhealthy relationship, it does end up triggering something in Diana: bulimia. It is revealed that she suffered with eating disorders and received some treatment for it. However, Diana and others close to her never realized how serious her illnesses were (Smith). Unfortunately for Diana, this was only the beginning. In addition to making her feel inadequate and insecure, Charles had an affair with another woman (Smith). In an interview, Diana reveals, “I once heard him on the telephone in the bath…and he said ‘Whatever happens, I’ll always love you’ and I told him I’d listened at the door…and we had a filthy row” (Smith). At this point, it’s obvious that Charles doesn’t care about Diana because he’s out there having an affair with another woman, but Diana is hugely affected and tries to end her own life. Diana describes one of her suicide attempts: “I threw myself down the stairs bearing in mind I was carrying a child. Queen Elizabeth comes out, absolutely horrified, shaking she’s so frightened and Charles went riding” (“Princess Diana Told of Bulimia, Suicide Attempts”). Diana’s decision to attempt to kill herself while pregnant, reveals how she was so deeply unhappy. Obviously, Charles isn’t Prince Charming material, but the positive effect of their marriage was Diana’s struggles made her eager to change the way people viewed illnesses (Smith).
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Diana ultimately ended up changing the way people viewed eating disorders. Andrew Morton wrote a book called “Diana Her True Story”, and he described her struggle with bulimia and her decision to get treatment. When this information was revealed to the public, a domino effect occurred and there was an increase in number of bulimia cases being reported (Morris). Many people thought this was because people chose to copy Princess Diana and throw up to shed a couple of pounds. However, the numbers didn’t increase because Princess Diana glamorized eating disorders; she gave people who already had bulimia the courage to come forward and seek treatment (Morris). Diana also gave a speech regarding eating disorders and reinforced how severe they were by explaining that it could possibly lead to death (Princess Diana’s Speech on Eating Disorders). She also discusses their causes of because people were generally unaware about this topic. She not only sends the message that eating disorders are dangerous, but she also reminds parents that they can prevent them by valuing their children, so they can learn how to value themselves (Princess Diana’s Speech on Eating Disorders). Not only did Princess Diana change the world’s perception of mental disorders, she also changed the world’s perspective of physical disorders.
Furthermore, Princess Diana’s influence led to the world seeing HIV and AIDS in a different light. Diana encountered people with AIDS when she was visiting the minefields of Angola working to ban landmines. According to Halo Trust director, Paul Heslop, there has been a, “massive increase in interest she has generated in this subject” (Arnett). Not only that, during her time in Angola, she visited International Red Cross’ prosthetic center where she taught landmine victims how to use artificial limbs. She developed a personal connection with the patients and many of them were surprised because she was so down-to-earth (Arnett). Angola is just the beginning and Diana takes it a step further by opening a Landmark AIDS center in South-East London. HIV was really stigmatised in the U.K and Diana attempted to de-stigmatise it by giving Director Jonathan Grimshaw, who was diagnosed HIV positive, a firm handshake (Diana Opens Landmark Aids Centre). By doing this, Diana proves how brave she is. During the late 1980’s, there was a misconception that AIDS spread through casual contact, so by shaking his hand Diana puts herself before others. Diana also didn’t care what others thought of her because she supported the AIDS campaign, even if the Queen thought Diana should do, “something more pleasant with her charity work” (Rayner). The aim of the Landmark was to provide refuge, advice, and support for patients. Diana stays for the discussion with some of the first clients and was surprised to learn about the difficulties that patients have to deal with (Diana Opens Landmark Aids Centre). Diana obviously cared very deeply about people and is genuinely curious in hearing people’s stories because she has dealt with difficulties before. Due to this, she’s able to change the way people feel about HIV and AIDS.