Princess Diana and Mother Teresa

June 29, 2011 at 5:04am

Princess Diana and Mother Teresa


Both admired each other. Mother Teresa always said “Diana is my daughter.” With utmost humility Diana said “I am a very, very small Mother Teresa."



Traumatic year


The year 1997 was a traumatic year for so many people around the world. Two iconic people, Diana, Princess of Wales and Mother Teresa of Calcutta died within days of each other. Mother Teresa died only 5 days after Diana (5th September 1997). In New York the media claimed that Mother Teresa died of massive heart failure brought on by the grief she suffered because of the death of her friend, Princess Diana, with whom she shared so much in common.

In fact it is hard to imagine how two women could be more different. Coming from opposite sides of the world their lives were truly worlds apart. One was a young mother, beautiful, tall and Protestant; the other elderly, diminutive and Catholic. Yet suddenly, in 1997, their similarities seemed more obvious than their differences. When Mother Teresa learnt of Diana's tragic death it is said that she immediately sent a condolence message. "She was very concerned for the poor. She was very anxious to do something for them. That is why she was close to me."



Media attention


Both lived with the constant attention of the media and understood how this could enable them to reach a worldwide audience for their charitable works; yet both remained able to reach out to individuals with respect and dignity, providing real comfort to the suffering and their families. Mother Teresa had written to Diana in 1991 and their first meeting was to have been in London for the presentation of an award, but it was called off because of Mother Teresa's poor health. In fact they first met in February 1992 at Mother Teresa's convent in a working-class district in Rome, where they prayed together. In loving memory of these two remarkable ladies, so different in age and background yet so similar in their wish to help those who suffered, a single stamp has been released which depicts this first meeting. Their final meeting was in June 1997 when the two met privately and then embraced as Princess Diana left the Missionaries of Charity house in the Bronx.



Admiration for Princess Diana


The tragic death of Princess Diana, Princess of Wales on 31st August 1997 elicited the most public global mourning for an individual since the death of President John F. Kennedy. During her lifetime Diana was a role model to her admirers who respected her sense of style, charisma and humor and marveled at her high profile charity involvement. Princess Diana possessed the gift to reach out and touch those who suffer and used her influential status to positively assist an array of charitable projects including her campaigning against landmines. For this cause the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997. Her efforts to change the public opinion of AIDS sufferers were widely admired.