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Letters from Princess Diana Surface, Reveal Just How Compassionate She Really Was

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From working in a nursery school to gaining the title of princess, the story of Princess Diana has fascinated the world for years and earned her the estimable legacy as the “People’s Princess.”

And though every storyteller differs in their opinion on the way things played out in her life, one constant remains the same: that Diana was beloved by her people and the whole world.

From helping children and the homeless to raising awareness for HIV and leprosy, the late Princess was world-renowned for her charitable efforts.

So when letters recently surfaced in the U.K. detailing the correspondence between Princess Diana and an AIDS victim — no doubt proving her compassionate nature towards others — rarely anyone is surprised.

In 1996, three letters had been sent by Margaret Bendon, a friend of AIDS and bowel cancer victim Vincent Hickey, requesting the Princess’s help on behalf of her friend.

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Soon after, Princess Diana sent a check for £580 ($812) so that Hickey and Bendon might be able to visit the Catholic shrine of Lourdes in Southern France, and her kindness didn’t stop there.

In a letter dated Oct. 3, 1996, the Princess of Wales thanked Bendon after she’d received a gift from the pair during their trip to Lourdes.



“I was most touched to receive your very kind letter about your visit to Lourdes with Vincent,” she wrote in the letter.

“I was delighted to be able to help and so glad that he was well enough to travel.”

“It is so important that every bit of comfort is given to people like Vincent who, as you know, need all the care and help we can give them,” she added, signing with the response, “with love from Diana.”

The letters themselves will be auctioned off on Feb. 24, by Henry Aldrige & Son, where estimates suppose their pre-sale value is already £2,000-3,000 ($2,802-$4,202).

A different set of letters sold for thousands of dollars last year, as the details from the late Princess revealed that Prince Harry had been “constantly in trouble” during his years at boarding school.

“[The letters] demonstrate the empathy and generosity Diana was able to show to some of the more vulnerable members [of] society and just illustrate what an incredible person she was,” said auctioneer Andrew Aldridge.

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The letters also demonstrate her sheer willingness to expose false attitudes in regards to those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and by April 1987, the whole world watched as the Princess shook hands with a man suffering from the disease — all without wearing gloves.



The gesture is still spoken as one of the most influential moments in the advocacy of the disease, with journalist Judy Wade stating it was “the most important thing a royal’s done in 200 years,” as it helped to dispel fears that the illness could be transmitted by casual contact such as a handshake.

Although the beloved Princess died in August 1997 after a fatal car crash in Paris, her legacy of charitable works has continued to thrive and inspire many, including sons Prince William and Prince Harry, who have continued much of her work.

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ASU grad who loves all things reading and writing.
Becky is an ASU grad who uses her spare time to read, write and play with her dog, Tasha. Her interests include politics, religion, and all things science. Her work has been published with ASU's Normal Noise, Phoenix Sister Cities, and "Dramatica," a university-run publication in Romania.
Education
Bachelor of Arts in English/Creative Writing
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Science/Tech, Faith, History, Gender Equality




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