It’s been exactly 25 years since the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. But her legacy of activism and charity (not to mention the bike shorts) lives on.
Diana died at age 36 on August 31, 1997, of injuries sustained in a car crash in Paris, which also killed her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul. About a decade later, a jury attributed her death to the reckless driving of both her chauffeur and the paparazzi who were pursuing them (her sons also blame the BBC for the role its bombshell 1995 interview — obtained through a scheme of forgery and deceit — played in her death).
The so-called “people’s princess” wasn’t just beloved by the public. She also entirely changed how people view celebrity, according to British journalist Bidisha Mamata.
“In the 21st century we completely take it for granted that famous people will also be a U.N. special envoy or that they’ll use their privilege to do good,” she explains. “Princess Diana invented the idea of the famous person who does good, and she was extremely radical.”
Diana used her fame to draw attention to a number of humanitarian issues and philanthropic causes, and at one point was linked to more than 100 charities.