Princess Diana was known as the People’s Princess for her work with charities that helped people in need, including those infected with HIV, but mainly because of the personal rapport she established with them.
She made the at the time controversial decision to shun royal protocol by not wearing gloves. This was ‘because she liked to hold hands when visiting people or shake hands and have direct contact’ according to Eleri Lynn, curator of the exhibition Diana: Her Fashion Story.
At the time, there was a stigma associate with shaking hands with Aids patients, as many thought you could catch the virus that way, and the late Princess really helped dispel that myth.
Children were always special to Princess of Wales, and she spent a lot of time visiting hospitals and centres for those in need, and often wore bright colours to do so, which was entirely planned.
David Sassoon, one of her designer friends, explained that it all started with what she called her ‘caring dress’, a floral crepe de Chine dress (main picture above) which she wore in Lagos in Nigeria, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and also while visiting a London Aids hospice.
The Princess noticed the children were really attracted to the design, and so she decided to carry on wearing bright colours to cheer them up, and make those visits less formal.
He told The Telegraph, ‘She happened to wear that dress when visiting a hospital, and children seemed to clamour round and like it. If you are like the Princess of Wales, who loved children, you don’t want a strictly formal suit for a hospital visit. You pick a very informal dress with bright colours, which that dress was. The reaction is one of awe from young children.’
Sassoon added that Diana carried on wearing the dress even though others weren’t fans. He said, ‘She would say “I keep being told not to wear it, but I love this dress, my caring dress”. Of course, Diana was the first member of the Royal family to break all the rules.’
She also stopped wearing hats even though they were considered appropriate for formal visits, as she couldn’t cuddle children in them.