Princess Diana had the dignity of a queen but the compassion of a nun

EVERY time I see Prince William I can’t help but think of Diana.

The same smile, the same eyes, the same pink cheeks when he’s embarrassed.

But, most importantly, he has the compassion of his mother.

This was a woman who held hands with a leper and those close to death in hospices.

When she was sitting with children in war-torn Angola, she touched their cheeks.

How could that sensitivity not rub off on her two boys?

Diana didn’t follow the rule book when she joined the Royal Family, she did it her way.

For a long time many of the royals couldn’t cope with it. But slowly they changed and now everyone works like Diana.

For me, Diana was the woman of the 21st century. She had the dignity of a queen but the compassion of a nun.

She was so young, full of energy and vitality, with a brilliant sense of humour.

I was so excited when I went on a job with her. One smile down your lens and you knew your picture was going in the paper.

Once, on a rainy day in Norwich, I was wearing a flat cap as I stood on a ladder to photograph the princess.

Diana looked up at me and said: “Are you wearing that hat for a bet, Arthur?”

She had laughter on her lips all the time. And when she smiled the world lit up. She brought joy to so many people.

She was a shining star. Acres and acres of newsprint were devoted to her. It wasn’t just because she was pretty, she did so many good things for charities and causes.

Diana’s greatest strength was the incredible kindness she showed to everyone – not just the rich and famous but also the poor and less fortunate.

We were having a raffle in the office to raise money for a children’s charity and I wrote to her asking if she could donate something as a prize.

She replied that she couldn't send any of her clothes but sent a cheque – for quite a large sum of money – instead.

And she didn’t want any publicity for her gesture. That’s classy.

She wanted her kids to be well brought up and properly grounded. She took them to homeless shelters to see how others lived. 

And, while the boys knew they were born into great privilege, she would take them to McDonald’s and the cinema to see how other kids lived.

She was a fantastic mother and William and Harry will never let the memory of her fade.

If she had lived, Diana would still be a style icon today, turning up at her charities with a twinkle in her eye and giving that smile.

A woman that made the country where her son will one day be king a more caring and compassionate place.

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