Diana, Princess of Wales (1961–1997): Humanitarian

Princes Diana - Landmines

Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, paid tribute to Diana’s work on landmines:

All Honourable Members will be aware from their postbags of the immense contribution made by Diana, Princess of Wales to bringing home to many of our constituents the human costs of landmines. The best way in which to record our appreciation of her work, and the work of NGOs that have campaigned against landmines, is to pass the Bill, and to pave the way towards a global ban on landmines.

Diana, Princess of Wales, was involved in many charities throughout most of her life. The day after her divorce in 1996, she announced her resignation from over 100 charities to spend more time with just six: Centrepoint (homeless charity), English National Ballet, Great Ormond Hospital, Leprosy Mission, National AIDS Trust, and the Royal Marsden Hospital. She was one of the first very high-profile people to be pictured touching those afflicted with AIDS, which had a significant impact in changing people’s opinions and attitudes to the disease. Clearly, Diana was reaching out to charity from the usual protocol and tradition of the royal family. During her final year, Diana lent highly visible support to the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. In January 1997, pictures of Diana touring an Angolan minefield in a ballistic helmet and flak jacket were seen worldwide. It was during this campaign that some accused her of meddling in politics and declared her as a “loose cannon.” Her interest in landmines was focused on the injuries they create, often to children, long after a conflict is over. She is believed to have influenced the signing, though only after her death, of the Ottawa Treaty (1997), which created an international ban on the use of antipersonnel landmines.

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