Royals

Prince Harry Says Diana "Knew Exactly What She Was Doing" When She Touched The Man With Aids

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One of Princess Diana's lasting legacies was her work fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. She saw a group of people who were being ignored and knew she had to help.

On April 19, 1987, Princess Diana visted London Middlesex Hospital, where the first ever treatment center for HIV/AIDS was opened in the UK. Then, Diana did something no one ever expected. She shook the hand of a patient with AIDS, without wearing any gloves.

John Redman/AP

To us now, this isn't necessarily a big deal. We all know that HIV/AIDS cannot be spread through a handshake. But in 1987, there was less information on how the disease spread. Because of this, more than 50% of people surveyed by the Los Angeles Times believed people with HIV/AIDS should be quarantined.

"If a royal was allowed to go in shake a patient's hands, somebody at the bus stop or the supermarket could do the same," a nurse who witnessed Diana's hospital visit once told the BBC. "That really educated people."

30 years after her historic handshake, Prince Harry spoke about his mother's desire to help.

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