news

Sir Elton John tells Prince Harry how Princess Diana helped tackle gay Aids stigma

2017-07-24
Prince Harry proved he'd inherited his late mother's activist streak when he broadcast himself taking an HIV test live on Facebook last year, and now the fifth in line to the British throne has discussed Princess Diana's Aids work with her former friend Sir Elton John. The pair sit down to discuss the legacy of Diana's Aids campaigning in a special ITV documentary set to air on Monday night (July 24) mark 20 years since her death in a Paris car crash in August 1997. Scenes from Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy show Sir Elton John telling Prince Harry how Diana's public displays of support for those living with Aids during the 1980s and '90s helped tackle the stigma associated with the disease. In April 1987, she opened the UK's first purpose-built HIV/Aids unit that exclusively cared for patients infected with the virus, at London Middlesex Hospital, and made headlines around the world when she shook the hand of a man living with the virus without wearing gloves. "It was considered to be a gay disease," John says of the illness. "For someone who was within the Royal Family and who was a woman, and who was straight, to have someone care from the other side, was an incredible gift." As Harry looks back over pictures of his mother meeting Aids patients during he height of the crisis, he comments: "You look back to these days, when actually the reality was doom and gloom... yet everybody in that photo is smiling." John adds of the late Princess: "She had that incredible ability — which [Harry] kind of inherited — to make people feel at ease and make them feel that everything’s gonna be all right. "I haven’t experienced many people in my life who have that ability, but she could walk into a room of people and make them feel as if everything was great." Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy airs tonight at 9pm on ITV and will air in the US on HBO on Monday August 31. More stories: Queer as Folk turns 18: Where are they now? Sam Stanley hits back at relationship critics: ‘There’s a lot of hate from gay people’