Princess Diana celebrated throughout 2017 to mark 20th anniversary of her death

Princess Diana died in 1997. Picture: PA.

Princess Diana died in 1997. Picture: PA.

3
Have your say

The 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, is to be marked by a year-long celebration of her qualities of kindness, compassion and service.

The Diana Award - a charity established to promote the Princess's belief in the positive power of young people - will commemorate her life with a range of events from the launch of a major international award, a groundbreaking app and a national Kindness Day.

Earl Spencer, Diana's brother, will be involved in the events honouring his sister's legacy.

He will host an exhibition at the family's home, Althorp, that will showcase individuals "Walking in her Shoes", and a gala fundraising event for the Diana Award in June.

In honour of the Princess, the charity has also launched its international Legacy Award for 20 exceptional young people who have excelled at creating positive social change.

Diana's sons, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry, are supporting the award and are likely to be involved with some of the many events this year, although no details have been released.

On Wednesday, William visited a bereavement centre in east London and made a rare public admission about his feelings following his mother's death, telling a grieving boy he was "very angry'' when she was killed.

The Duke's candid comment came at the start of a year that will see the 20th anniversary of Diana's death marked not just by the Diana Award but likely by events instigated by her sons.

William was 15 and his brother Harry just 12 when their mother was killed in a car crash in Paris on August 31 1997, a death that shocked the world.

Tessy Ojo, chief executive of the Diana Awards, said the charity's theme for the year was kindness, compassion and service, qualities embodied by the Princess.

She added: "What's 2017 all about? It's about celebrating the legacy of Princess Diana, 20 years on. Diana, Princess of Wales was known worldwide for her values of compassion, her values of kindness and her values of service to others.

"Twenty years on, we at the Diana Award know that her values and her legacy live on through the tens of thousands of young people who only know her as an historic figure, but are committed to continuing those values."

The Diana Awards runs a number of programmes, from its anti-bullying and mentoring initiatives to its flagship Diana Award scheme, which recognises youngsters who create positive social change.

Its new Legacy Award in memory of the Princess is open to 2016-2017 recipients of the Diana Award from across the globe, who are aged from nine to 18, and will recognise their selfless commitment to transforming the lives of others.

Nominations for the 20 awards can be be made here and the closing date is March 17.

Other highlights from the year-long programme of events will see the summer launch of a My True Selfie app which will encourage young people to show their real image - forgoing cyber enhancements like teeth whitening - surrounded by words that describe who they are.

In March a national Kindness Day will be launched, aimed at challenging people to show compassion to others, and throughout the year regional ceremonies will showcase the achievements of Diana Award holders.

Ms Ojo said of Diana's death: "Twenty years ago, I, like millions of others, woke up to that news that morning, and I, like millions of others, wanted to interact with Princess Diana and be part of that movement. Again, I, like millions of others, went to Kensington Palace and laid flowers.

"Twenty years on we want to give the public the opportunity to interact practically with this legacy. We want to give the public the opportunity to be that little bit kinder, that little bit more compassionate and to think about serving others."