- Diana, Princess of Wales, spent her last birthday attending a gala held in her honor at Tate Gallery’s Centenary in London.
- Before entering, the princess took the time to greet and accept gifts from royal fans waiting outside for her, a moment that would serve as a poignant reminder in the years after her death that she was the “People’s Princess,” People points out.
- Prince Harry honored his mother today in a virtual address.
July 1 would have been Princess Diana‘s 59th birthday. As many royal fans commemorate her life, we can also look back to the last birthday she celebrated while she was alive.
Just two months before the fateful 1997 car crash that ended her life, Diana attended a gala held in her honor at the Tate Gallery’s Centenary in London. Dressed in a beaded black gown by Jacques Azagury, per People, Diana took some time before entering the gala to greet and accept gifts from fans awaiting her arrival outside. Photos show a smiling Diana holding bouquets of flowers and a heart-shaped balloon, a small reminder of how she served as the “People’s Princess” up until the last moments of her life.
Her son Prince Harry has continued her legacy to fight for social justice. Today, the Duke of Sussex surprised attendees of the virtual Diana Awards with a sentimental address for the charity’s honourees, in which he also addressed the current Black Lives Matter movement.
“I know that my mother has been an inspiration to many of you, and I can assure you she would have been fighting in your corner. Like many of you, she never took the easy route or the popular one or the comfortable one. But she stood for something, and she stood up for people who needed it,” Harry said. “Right now, we are seeing situations around the world where division, isolation, and anger are dominating, as pain and trauma come to the surface. But I see the greatest hope in people like you, and I’m confident about the world’s future and its ability to heal, because it is in your hands.”
Prince Harry recorded a video for the @DianaAward #2020DianaAwards taking place today (on what would be Princess Diana’s 59th birthday).
In it, he says institutional racism is still “endemic” in our societies and has pledged that he and Meghan will be “part of the change” needed. pic.twitter.com/5tbE263b3k
— Omid Scobie (@scobie) July 1, 2020
He also briefly mentioned Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. “My wife said recently that our generation and the ones before us haven’t done enough to right the wrongs of the past. I, too, am sorry—sorry that we haven’t got the world to a place you deserve it to be,” said Harry. “Institutional racism has no place in our societies, yet it is still endemic. Unconscious bias must be acknowledged without blame to create a better world for all of you.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s BAZAAR US.