Princess Diana's most memorable moments, from shaking the hand of an Aids patient to her mischievous jokes

 Princess Diana in a pink jumper and gingham trousers sat on the steps at Clarence House holding her face in her hands .
Princess Diana in a pink jumper and gingham trousers sat on the steps at Clarence House holding her face in her hands .
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So many things come to mind when we think of Princess Diana's best moments. From her unwavering compassion to her quick wit, there's no surprise that the Princess is remembered with such fondness.

While we'll never forget Princess Diana's most iconic fashion moments, it's her unwavering commitment to her philanthropic endeavours, rebellious nature and maternal instincts that left such an impact on people. Despite her life being cut tragically short, there is no shortage of funny, admirable and impressive moments to remember her for.

These are the 32 most memorable moments that defined the 'people's princess' - from her charity work to off-duty humorous moments.

1. When she helped break down the stigma around AIDS

Princess Diana shaking the hand of a AIDS patient in Brazil, she's wearing a pink and yellow blazer and her is in a linen yellow top
Princess Diana shaking the hand of a AIDS patient in Brazil, she's wearing a pink and yellow blazer and her is in a linen yellow top

In April 1987, Princess Diana opened the first purpose-built HIV/Aids unit in the UK. It was an important step at a time when so many patients with the illness were being treated with stigma and prejudice rather than with the help and compassion they needed. At the opening, she shook hands with an Aids patient - a radical move, when there was so much stigma around the disease and fears it could be transmitted through touch. She shook 12 men's hands without gloves, publicly challenging the widely-held misconception while demonstrating her support and compassion for the community.

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2. When she danced with John Travolta

Princess Diana dancing with actor John Travolta at the whiet house, he's in a black tux and she in a black dress
Princess Diana dancing with actor John Travolta at the whiet house, he's in a black tux and she in a black dress

At an event hosted by Ronald and Nancy Reagan at the White House in 1985, movie star John Travolta asked Princess Diana for a dance. The songs playing were from two of Travolta's biggest movies, Grease and Saturday Night Fever.

3. Her revenge dress

Princess Diana shaking a mans hand whilst she wears the controversial off the shoulder black dress with a statement pearl neckalce
Princess Diana shaking a mans hand whilst she wears the controversial off the shoulder black dress with a statement pearl neckalce

A moment that will never be forgotten. The moment Princess Diana stepped out in the controversial dress, now more commonly known as The Revenge Dress, the same night as the news broke of Prince Charles's affair. Diana wore it in 1994 to a dinner at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens.

4. When she walked across a minefield

Princes Diana in angola walking past a field of mines, she's wearing protective gear and the grass is tall next to her
Princes Diana in angola walking past a field of mines, she's wearing protective gear and the grass is tall next to her

During her visit to Huambo in 1997, Angola Princess Diana was photographed walking through an active landmine field wearing protective body armour and a visor. It was part of her promotional work for the charity Halo which was fighting against the legal use of landmines and Diana's work and this photo alone were instrumental in the global clearance of mines, particularly in the region.

5. When she raced against other parents at Prince Harry's sports day

Princess Diana running down a field at a childrens sports day against 5 other mothers, shes wearing a maxi skirt and black blazer
Princess Diana running down a field at a childrens sports day against 5 other mothers, shes wearing a maxi skirt and black blazer

Known for her hands-on parenting, Princess Diana never shied away from opportunities to have fun with her sons Prince Harry and Prince William and this moment is the perfect example of that. She is pictured running against five other mums in a parent's race at a sports day event.

6. When she collaborated with Andrew Morton on her book

Andrew Morton at his desk pretending to take a call, around is are press cuttings about his tell-all book he collabed with Diana on
Andrew Morton at his desk pretending to take a call, around is are press cuttings about his tell-all book he collabed with Diana on

First published as Diana: Her True Story in 1992, the book created a media storm and was said to have not come from Diana's own words but from those of her friends and family. However, shortly after her death, Norton revealed that Diana had helped him write the book, which was then republished as Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words. This version, released in 2003, had Diana's input and proved that she authorised the biography.

7. Diana and Charles's engagement announcement

Princess Diana and Prince charles laughing with each other during their engagement announcement photoshoot
Princess Diana and Prince charles laughing with each other during their engagement announcement photoshoot

Charles and Diana's relationship was a tumultuous one. However, when the couple got engaged in 1981, they looked like love's young dream. The couple shared the happy news that they were to be betrothed through a statement via the Lord Chancellor. In their famous post-engagement interview, Charles said he was "delighted and frankly amazed" that Diana was prepared to take him on. Diana was 19 at the time and Charles 32. They were engaged for just five months before their iconic wedding at St. Paul's Cathedral.

8. Her 1995 Panorama interview

princess diana sat across from interviewer Martin Bashir in a black skirt suit, set in a regal looking living room
princess diana sat across from interviewer Martin Bashir in a black skirt suit, set in a regal looking living room

This is not only one of Princess Diana's most memorable moments but also one of broadcasting history's too. Titled An Interview with HRH The Princess of Wales, it was broadcast on the 20th of November 1995 on BBC1. Diana spoke about several hard-hitting topics, from the Royal Family's distaste for her to the struggles she'd faced after having her babies. The controversial interview was met with divisive opinions, with many arguing that Diana had been manipulated and tricked into revealing private information. However many of Princess Diana's most iconic quotes came out of this interview as she'd never been so honest about her life as a royal before.

9. Her 1981 wedding day

Princess Diana and Prince charles on their wedding day, charles in kissing her hand on their appearance to the public after the ceremony
Princess Diana and Prince charles on their wedding day, charles in kissing her hand on their appearance to the public after the ceremony

Taking place on the 29 July 1981, Charles and Diana's wedding was one of the biggest weddings of all time and around 750 million people watched it on television around the globe. It was largely regarded as the "wedding of the century" and Diana's dress is one of the all-time most iconic royal wedding dresses. It was also reported that Diana had a secret wedding dress that for some reason disappeared and was very different from the one she wore.

10. When she introduced baby Prince William

Diana and Charles coming out of the hospital with the newborn William
Diana and Charles coming out of the hospital with the newborn William

Prince William was the first royal ever to be born at a hospital in 1982 as the royal procedure had always been for the mother to have the baby at home. However, in true Diana style, she refused to do that. Instead, she had him at St. Mary's Hospital and introduced him to the world on the front steps.

11. When she rode the log flume with Prince Harry and Prince William

Princess Diana on the log flume ride at Thorpe Park with her sons Prince William and Harry they're all smiling and wet from the water slide
Princess Diana on the log flume ride at Thorpe Park with her sons Prince William and Harry they're all smiling and wet from the water slide

From taking them to McDonald's to demanding they go to school with other children, Princess Diana worked very hard to give her two boys as much of a normal childhood as possible. And that includes getting soaked on the log flume at Thorpe Park of course. It has since been revealed that young William was embarrassed by Princess Diana during their trip to the theme park.

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12. When she sat alone outside the Taj Mahal

Princess Diana sat on a bench in front of the Taj Mahal in India, there are no other tourists and she is in a red blazer sat alone
Princess Diana sat on a bench in front of the Taj Mahal in India, there are no other tourists and she is in a red blazer sat alone

While on a royal tour of India with Prince Charles, Princess Diana took a solo trip to the Taj Mahal in 1992. Charles was attending a business meeting in Bangalore as she visited the palace - symbolic of enduring love - alone. The picture has become a historic one with many visitors reenacting it when visiting the palace.

13. When she danced with Wayne Sleep at the Royal Opera House

Princess Diana smiling stood next to Wayne Sleep who is wearing a deep-v dance costume
Princess Diana smiling stood next to Wayne Sleep who is wearing a deep-v dance costume

When Prince Charles and Princess Diana attended a gala performance at the Royal Opera House in 1985, Diana had a birthday surprise for Charles up her sleeve. Halfway through the performance, the Princess quietly slipped away and joined dancer Wayne Sleep on stage. They danced together to Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl", which Diana chose herself. Reportedly this surprise was meant to amuse Prince Charles - but his reception was cold.

14. When she brought baby William along for her first major overseas tour

Princess Diana and Princes charles with baby prince william whilst in australia for their royal tour
Princess Diana and Princes charles with baby prince william whilst in australia for their royal tour

For their very first royal tour together as a married couple, Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited Australia and New Zealand in 1983. By then they were parents to a baby Prince William. Ignoring the royal tradition to leave the children behind, Diana insisted they bring him along. Of course, he stayed with a nanny when the two were out completing royal duties, but it was an early sign of Diana's loving parenting style.

15. When she became the president of the Great Ormond Street Hospital

Princess Diana in a black suit sat talking to a child whos a patient at the Great Ormand Street Hospital
Princess Diana in a black suit sat talking to a child whos a patient at the Great Ormand Street Hospital

Princess Diana was the patroness of around 100 charities at the height of her royal duties as the Princess of Wales. From 1989 she became the President of Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and remained so until she died in 1997. She would often visit the hospital to see the children and would attend charity events for the hospital.

16. When she refused to say "obey" in her wedding vows

The wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles in 1981, Diana is in her voluminous wedding dress with her veil over her face and Charles next to her in his military attire whilst they say their vows
The wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles in 1981, Diana is in her voluminous wedding dress with her veil over her face and Charles next to her in his military attire whilst they say their vows

By now we know that Princess Diana was not one for blind conformity and slight modification of her royal wedding vows is another example of this. Despite Queen Elizabeth insisting that it remain as part of her vows when marrying Prince Phillip, Diana omitted the line that said she would obey Prince Charles. Instead, she said she would, "love him, comfort him, honour and keep him, in sickness and in health." Princess Catherine and Meghan Markle are amongst the female royals who have upheld this omission.

17. When she was open about her post-partum depression and eating disorder

Princess Diana and Prince Charles sat next to one another in black chair both looking rather upset and not looking at each other
Princess Diana and Prince Charles sat next to one another in black chair both looking rather upset and not looking at each other

During her iconic Panorama interview, Princess Diana did not hold back and went into detail about her mental health struggles. She spoke about how troubled she became after having William, that it triggered a lot of insecurities in her and led to her developing an eating disorder. Many women came forward to show their admiration for Diana's public candour as it shone a light on the issue and normalised a taboo topic at the time.

18. When she auctioned off her clothes for charity

Princess Diana looking at a white gown she is auctioning off for charity in a showroom
Princess Diana looking at a white gown she is auctioning off for charity in a showroom

In the summer of 1997, Princess Diana decided, with some inspiration from a young Prince William, that she would auction off 79 of her most iconic dresses. The money raised was spread between several charities close to her heart, with the auction bringing in millions. She even sold the iconic revenge dress! Even decades later some of Princess Diana's most famed dresses are going up for auction and being sold for millions.

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19. Her first public appearance with Charles

Princess Diana arriving to her first public outing with Prince Charles, both are in black tie attire
Princess Diana arriving to her first public outing with Prince Charles, both are in black tie attire

For her first official appearance as a couple, the then-Lady Diana and Prince Charles attended a 1981 gala evening at Goldsmith's Hall which was raising money for the Royal Opera House in London. The newly engaged couple looked very dapper in matching black tie attire.

20. Her first solo Royal engagement

Princess diana stood on a balcony in front of a podium on Regents street in London with shrubery around the buidling
Princess diana stood on a balcony in front of a podium on Regents street in London with shrubery around the buidling

In a festive celebration that also marked Queen Elizabeth II's 30th anniversary on the throne, Princess Diana was asked to turn on the iconic Regent Street Christmas lights in London. This was her first solo royal engagement, thousands watched on as she stood on the balcony at Austin Reeds and switched on beloved lights. She delivered a well-received speech and even re-emerged to wave at fans after the switch-on.

21. Her first official balcony appearance

Various members of the royal family stood on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, Diana is in a blue co-ord with matching hat, the rest are in their military dress
Various members of the royal family stood on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, Diana is in a blue co-ord with matching hat, the rest are in their military dress

Just one month before marrying Prince Charles, Princess Diana made her first official appearance on the Royal Balcony for her first Trooping the Colour ceremony. She stood alongside Charles and the rest of the royal family whilst they all looked out at the display.

22. When she visited Harlem, New York

Princess Diana in Harlem New York meeting a crod of people with a bouquet of flowers in her hand
Princess Diana in Harlem New York meeting a crod of people with a bouquet of flowers in her hand

Another solo visit for the Princess, this time to New York City in 1989. Although the trip was primarily meant to promote the works of the Welsh National Opera, which she was a patron of, she visited several charities too. While there, she toured the Harlem Hospital Center where she became extremely moved seeing the patients there, so much so that she unexpectedly picked up and hugged a 7-year-old AIDS patient.

23. Her visit with Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa in her tradition white and blue attire holding hands with Princess Diana in a white skirt suit
Mother Teresa in her tradition white and blue attire holding hands with Princess Diana in a white skirt suit

When two compassionate and inspirational people meet, it doesn't come as a surprise that they would get along so well. They first met in 1992 and from that point continued to share a very special friendship, so much so that when Diana passed, the rosary necklace given to her by Mother Teresa was buried alongside her.

24. Her first solo trip to Nepal after the divorce

Diana dress all in pink in Bali meeting leoprasy patients, she's holding a mans hand and their smiling at one another
Diana dress all in pink in Bali meeting leoprasy patients, she's holding a mans hand and their smiling at one another

Following the official announcement of Prince Charles's and Diana's separation, the first trip she embarked on solo as a single woman was her 1993 official visit to Nepal. Here she visited a leprosy hospital where she met and chatted with patients. During her visit, she was her usual compassionate self and ended up being one of the first dignitaries the patients had ever touched.

25. Her final official engagement before her death

Princess Diana in a red scoop neck dress stood between two men in suits as they present her with a check thats being donated to Northwick Park Hospital
Princess Diana in a red scoop neck dress stood between two men in suits as they present her with a check thats being donated to Northwick Park Hospital

In July 1997, Princess Diana unknowingly attended her final official engagement at the Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow London. There she unveiled a foundation stone for the children's casualty department and accepted a donation for the hospital.

26. Her 36th and final birthday at the Tate

Princess Diana in a black square neck dress taking flowers and balloons from the crowd on her 36th birthday
Princess Diana in a black square neck dress taking flowers and balloons from the crowd on her 36th birthday

In true Diana fashion, Princess Diana celebrated her 36th birthday in style in 1997 by attending a gala held in her honour at the Tate Gallery's Centenary in London. She reportedly thoroughly enjoyed her evening and received an overwhelming amount of gifts and love from the crowds outside.

27. When Time Magazine awarded her Woman of the Year for 1987

Diana sat at a desk while chatting to someone at a charity event for women suffering with AIDS
Diana sat at a desk while chatting to someone at a charity event for women suffering with AIDS

In 2020, Diana, Princess of Wales was named the Woman of the Year for 1987. In the retrospective Time Magazine's 100 Women of the Year list, she was awarded the Person of the Year title in 1987, because of her incredible work during the AIDS epidemic - de-stigmatising the illness, raising money for numerous charities and her unwavering support and allyship with the gay community.

28. Being the first royal to work a paid job

Prince Charles kissing a young Princess Diana at a polo match, he's in his polo kit and she in a sailors blouse,
Prince Charles kissing a young Princess Diana at a polo match, he's in his polo kit and she in a sailors blouse,

This may come as a shock but Princess Diana was the first woman who married into the Royal Family while she was working a regular, paid job. She was a nursery teacher's assistant when she got engaged to Charles, having previously held nanny roles.

29. When she visited Meghans school-to-be

Diana stepping out in Chicago in a vibrant purple dress next to a man in black tie
Diana stepping out in Chicago in a vibrant purple dress next to a man in black tie

In June of 1996, Diana visited Northwestern University in Chicago. The school would later be attended by Meghan Markle, Prince Harry's Wife with the two only missing each other by two years.

30. When she invited Cindy Crawford over

A collage picture of young Princess Diana in a black dress and a young Cindy Crawford in a leather jacket with curly hair
A collage picture of young Princess Diana in a black dress and a young Cindy Crawford in a leather jacket with curly hair

Perhaps one of Princess Diana's more mischievous moments, when Prince William was just a teenager Diana started to notice he was paying more attention to models. With this knowledge, she invited Cindy Crawford round for tea and surprised her two boys.

31. When she fell asleep at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Princess Diana with her head slumped as she falls asleep at an event in an off the shoulder organza gown in light blue
Princess Diana with her head slumped as she falls asleep at an event in an off the shoulder organza gown in light blue

At The Splendours of The Gonzagas Exhibition Gala at the Victoria and Albert Museum on November 4th 1981, Diana quickly picked up the nickname of sleeping beauty. This was because she dozed off slightly for a second during the performance, however, it came to light the next day that she was pregnant with Prince William.

32. When she debuted her post-divorce makeover

Princess Diana in a baby blue square neck dress with a diamond necklance on
Princess Diana in a baby blue square neck dress with a diamond necklance on

When the announcement of their separation was made to the public, something shifted in Diana and the way she presented herself in public settings. One of the most obvious signs of this was her look, she started dressing differently and of course, got her iconic short haircut which was symbolic of her newfound independence. While her blue eyeliner was undoubtedly one of the most iconic makeup looks of the 80s, she ditched it in later years, favouring a more subtle eye makeup look.

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