Before Princess Diana, it would have been hard to imagine a Princess embracing her subjects or crouching down to touch, kiss or cuddle a young child. Today’s more progressive, hands-on royals are the inheritors of her crusade to make monarchy move with the times. As we celebrate her life and legacy 20 years on, we look at the Queens and Princesses following in her footsteps.
The most popular of these, such as Queen Rania of Jordan, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands, Queen Letizia of Spain and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark, exude a regal dignity combined with the warmth of a school-run mom, which is what many of them actually are. They are perfectly in tune with these more informal times and understand how a single image can criss-cross the globe via social media.
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VIEW GALLERY Queen Letizia and King Felipe bring their kids to school like Diana with her boys
Like the People’s Princess, Queen Rania has bravely championed thorny issues including refugees, the fight against terrorism and child abuse. Of her humanitarian campaigns, the mother-of-four has said: “I don’t think of myself as courageous. I think of myself as representing those who are voiceless.”
Another doyenne of this fresh new style is Argentine-born Maxima, wife of the Dutch King, who could quite rightly be described as the European country’s own Queen of Hearts. The vivacious royal is not afraid to show emotion publicly in a similar manner to Diana, who always wore her heart on her sleeve.
VIEW GALLERY Queen Rania and Diana took numerous visits to hospitals to console the sick
Diana, who regarded herself as a mother first and foremost, would also be delighted with the way her successors are dealing with parenthood. Princess Charlene of Monaco loves tending to her twins, while Crown Princess Mary of Denmark happily talks about cooking porridge every morning for her flock of four.
VIEW GALLERY Lady Di and Princess Charlene's focus has always been their children
This generation’s choice of spouses from outside royal circles may also be a direct result of Diana’s democratizing influence. When Prince Haakon of Norway met his wife Mette-Marit, she was a single mother. He welcomed her son Marius, who is now living in California, and helped raise him. Over in Sweden, future queen Crown Princess Victoria wed her former gym trainer, telling crowds at their wedding: “Dear friends, I would like to thank the Swedish people for giving me my Prince.”
These happy modern love stories may owe more than a little to one kindergarten assistant-turned-royal superstar.
To find out more about Diana’s lasting legacy, pick up your copy of HOLA! USA’s 20th anniversary souvenir edition celebrating the Queen of Hearts.