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The People’s PR Princess: How Princess Diana Revolutionized Royalty

Published on February 7, 2022 at 9:29 p.m.
by Madison Traughber.

As Princess Diana assimilated into the royal family, she had to fit into their lifestyle of immense wealth, intense fame and impossible expectations. She became aware that she could not capitalize on traditional likable traits. She was not academically minded, nor was she politically inclined. However, she had a natural talent for public relations.

Diana had a sixth sense when it came to the cameras that always had a trained eye on her. Her sixth sense allowed her to curate her image and gain power.

Visual by @diana_inourhearts on Instagram

What may be seen as controversial now, is also remembered as Diana’s greatest PR move — her 1995 interview with journalist Martin Bashir. As Diana’s marriage began to fail and the media became increasingly involved, she realized that she would have to revamp her public image. She agreed to the interview to get her perspective out to the public and to shape the narrative before that narrative was shaped for her, according to a Vanity Fair article. She decided to pursue this interview in strict secrecy, as it went against royal precedent.

The interview was broadcast, and a reported 23 million people were watching. Like any skilled PR practitioner, Diana knew how to carefully choose words that would resonate with viewers. It was during this interview that she stated “there were three of us in the marriage, so it was a bit crowded” in regard to her unfaithful husband. She knew she would never be able to become queen but said, “I would like to be the queen of people’s hearts,” immediately cultivating her brand.

The day after the interview aired, a Daily Mirror survey revealed that Diana had gained a 92% approval rating. Diana won support and adoration by being natural, organic and relatable. This interview allowed Diana to distance herself from the rigid royal family and transition from being a royal to being an international icon. Her life became dedicated to cultivating her brand. Diana was all about embracing her true self, and the world was all about emulating her.

After her divorce was finalized in 1997, Diana continued to do humanitarian work and remained at the epicenter of the media’s focus. The relationship between Diana and the media was distinguished, but it ultimately led to her demise.

One month prior to her death, Diana expressed her desire to soften the royal family in an interview. She said, “I wish I could make them understand that they need to reach out more. They have to show that they are feeling people and they care,” but she could never get through to them while she was alive.

Photo by Amy-Leigh Barnard on Unsplash

Diana’s legacy will always be triumphed by her relatability. She touched AIDS patients, raised awareness about the dangers of landmines to citizens, talked openly about her bulimia and loneliness in her marriage, and did so much more that was unlike anything her predecessors had ever done.

In present times, decades after her death, Princess Diana has sealed her place in history as an international icon. She remains the subject of booksarticles and documentaries. She is the blueprint for all royal family members who have come after her.

Every female royal is compared to her, yet none will ever live up to her.

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