Two decades after her death, late Princess Diana’s was posthumously applauded for her tireless activism, reports InStyle. As Attitude Magazine celebrated Diana for helping destigmatize HIV and AIDS at the peak of the epidemic during a special event, her son, Prince Harry, stepped in to accept the honor on behalf of his late mother.
“In April of 1987, my mother was only 25-years-old,” Harry said. “She was still finding her way in public life, but already she felt a responsibility to shine her spotlight on the people and issues that were often ignored. She knew that the misunderstanding of this relatively new disease was creating a dangerous situation when mixed with homophobia.”
Reflecting on the fearful climate in the 80s, where many believed that the disease could be passed from skin-to-skin contact, the late star’s decision to shake hands with a man suffering from the illness was transformative.
“So when that April she shook the hand of a 32-year-old man with HIV in front of the cameras, she knew exactly what she was doing,” Harry added. “She was using her position as Princess of Wales, the most famous woman in the world, to challenge everyone to educate themselves, to find their compassion and reach out to those need help instead of pushing them away.”
Twenty years later, Harry is following in his mom’s footsteps, creating awareness and compassion around the devastating disease. In 2016, he worked to combat the spread of AIDS with a new campaign, in which he was photographed getting tested for HIV alongside singer Rihanna.