Princess Diana would have been 58 years old this week. Both of Diana’s sons marked her birthday in quiet ways – William surprised well-wishers outside of Kensington Palace, thanking them for marking his mother’s birthday every year and keeping her memory alive. On Tuesday, Harry went to the Diana Award Mentoring Appeal event in London. He’s not a patron to the event, but the Diana Award charity have been around for 20 years, and Harry has done events with them in the past. Harry met with young people who are part of the mentoring program and with some of the businesses who are part of the program. He also made a speech:
“I’m struck by a few things today, most of which is the power of the invisible role model,” he said. “The person who may be sitting here today that doesn’t realize that someone looks up to them, that — for that person — you inspire them to be kinder, better, greater, more successful, more impactful. Perhaps it’s the newfound clarity I have as a father, knowing that my son will always be watching what I do, mimicking my behavior, one day maybe even following in my footsteps. But it’s not just my role as a father that shows me that; it’s in the people I see every day that don’t realize how inspirational they are to those watching.”
Harry added that his mother, who died in a 1997 car crash in Paris, inspired people around the world.: “My mother, Princess Diana, was a role model to so many, without realizing the impact she would have on so many lives. You don’t have to be a princess or a public figure to be a role model, in fact it’s equally valuable if you’re not because it’s more relatable,” he said. “Being a role model and mentor can help heal the wounds of your own past and create a better future for someone else.”
Prince Harry concluded his speech, “To the mentees here today, I am incredibly proud of what you’ve achieved, and I can safely say that my mother, who would have turned 58 yesterday, would feel the same.”
This just made me sad – I know there are a lot of people who are like “Diana wasn’t perfect!” and yes, that’s true. But she didn’t deserve to die at the age of 36 just because she wasn’t perfect. Her impact was incredible – she fundamentally changed the royal family across the board. She changed the nature of celebrity, and she changed so many conversations, from HIV/AIDS to gay rights to landmines to mental health and on and on. Diana would have loved this charity, and I’m glad Harry is involved with it.
Photos courtesy of Getty.