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Interest in the Princess of Wales has continued long after her death, and more recently added attraction has been found due to the 25th anniversary of her iconic documentary appearance on BBC Panorama. In the 1995 interview with Martin Bashir, Diana famously explored her marriage to Prince Charles, her health difficulties and how she was perceived within the media. Diana, who would die in a tragic Parisian car crash two years later, appeared confident, despite various reports throughout her time as a member of the Royal Family claiming she was in fact a shy individual.
Her shyness was first noted by friends and family of the woman dubbed the People’s Princess as she got to grips with her new-found fame, which came from being associated with the world’s most famous family.
According to Diana’s confidante Oonagh Shanley-Toffolo, the royal appeared a “very shy and retiring person” when she reflected on her first impression of her in 1989.
She said: “Diana emanated such sadness and vulnerability that I just wanted to give her a hug. She has matured enormously since that time.
“She now has a purpose in life and is no longer the lost soul of that first meeting.”
Ms Shanley-Toffolo was referring to the new motivations of raising her young sons Prince William and Prince Harry, as well as throwing herself into her charitable endeavours.
During and after her death, Diana has become renowned for her spirit in helping others, with one key example being her work in supporting those living with AIDS.
In one famous moment, Diana was photographed shaking the hand of a man with the illness, without gloves, in a bid to change perceptions of the disease.
But her desire to turn her attention to the world of health, as opposed to some of the more traditional royal patronages did ruffle a few feathers.
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Writing in the 1992 book Diana: Her True Story, author Andrew Morton explained that Diana’s “willingness to take on challenges and difficult causes was a reflection of her new-found confidence”.
He added: “As her interests move into the world of health she finds that she has less time to devote to her portfolio of patronages. It can have awkward results.
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“She recently endured a sticky meeting with executives from a ballet company who made it clear they would like her to devote more time to their cause.
“As she said afterwards: ‘There are more important things in life than ballet, there are people dying in the streets.'”
The second part of The Diana Interview: Revenge of a Princess, which reviews the 1995 Panorama interview, will be aired tonight on ITV from 9pm.
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