Take the likes of Kim Kardashian, Nicki Minaj, or Mariah Carey— They're all well-established women in the entertainment industry with a massive fan base behind each one of them. Now, I'm not demeaning these three women, the work that they do, or the people who appeal to their culture in any way. Instead, I'm going to use these influential women to demonstrate how the late Princess Diana should receive that same notoriety.
Do you notice how I'm continuously using the Princess of Wales, who died tragically in a car accident 20 years ago this year, in the present tense? Idols don't have to be living for them to become your idol. Through family recounts, social media, and the press, we continue to see all the good Princess Diana gave to the world and those she cared about most, to this day.
Now, think about the way in which Kim Kardashian came to fame, the type of show Nicki Minaj likes to perform, and the rumored (yet all too truthful) ego that can come from Mariah Carey. I've continuously seen entertainers like these in the interests of the easily manipulated youth and young adults, but I've rarely seen an affection towards the woman who decided to handle her fame on a road less traveled by.
Again, the fact that Princess Diana has passed and no longer displays what she's going to do next in the media and press on a daily basis plays a big part in her ability to become a great influencer. I completely understand this methodology, but that's what I hope can change for our future generations. Let's educate and inform society about the achievers who continue to walk among us, and remind them of the late achievers whose legacies should continue to be remembered just as so.
Here are just a few of the ways Princess Diana is an underrated idol for all:
1. Her necessary courage to be different.
When Princess Diana married into the royal family, she felt the need to lessen the strict, private, and emotionless life that came with it. Unlike generations before her, Diana abandoned a royal wedding tradition and wrote her own vows explaining in her own words her love for her husband. Diana talked openly and honestly with the press, going into details about her married life and her own struggles with bulimia and mental illness.
She showed her flaws and humanized herself, something the traditional royals would never convey. She held meaningful conversations with commoners, as she initiated the action of kneeling down at a child's eye-level when talking to them, something her daughter-in-law, Kate, has carried on. Diana became known as "the people's princess."
2. Her devotion to her children.
Diana gave up her job as a nursery school teacher to attend to her royal duties and, although such a demanding and high-profile new "job" left her children to be in the care of nannies for some time, she would do her best to mark her calendar and reserve some quality time with her children whenever it worked for them.
Diana also refused to leave her children behind when it came to attending royal tours in other countries. When Prince William was nine months old, she took him and his nanny with her on an excursion to Australia, refusing to be separated from her child during Christmas time. She was even the first royal to send her children to public school and amongst commoners, which often spoke to Diana's influence.
3. Her love for charity and everything not royalty.
Princess Diana loved to be involved when it came to helping others and "wasn't afraid to get dirty." Though it was notable for a royal to divulge in charity work, no one took it as far as she did. She infamously walked across a partially cleared minefield in Angola in the hopes of spreading awareness for land mines.
She physically shook hands with a patient battling AIDS and visited Brazilian AIDS orphans back when the disease was very stigmatized in the late '80s. She got her children out of the palace lifestyle and brought them to the streets to witness and meet the less fortunate's way of life under overpasses and in tunnels. She held no belief that her family was more entitled than anyone else's.
4. Her iconic sense of fashion.
Though this was a less modest look that came later in Diana's life, she was always known for her bold style choices. In 1985, the Queen gifted Diana with an emerald and diamond choker, but she wore it as a tiara to an appearance in Melbourne, Australia instead. It's clear she was not much of a follower of the queen's dress code, but the inner beauty she possessed only highlighted her outer beauty as well.
5. Her strength and honesty.
This video is the epitome of everything Diana stood for, and truly demonstrates her unwavering ability to remain true to herself and to do what's best for the interest of the public. A royal divorce and a disapproval from such a hierarchy can really take a toll on a person, but Diana never let anything that happened in her life slow her down from "leading from the heart." And that's how her legacy shall remain.