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Remembering Princess Diana: Mother, Humanitarian, And Fashion Icon

Twenty years ago, we lost the queen of hearts.

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Diana Spencer took on many roles in her short life. She went from lady to princess in 1981 and her fairy-tale wedding captivated hundreds of millions of viewers. She quickly began a family and tried to fit the mold of proper royal princess.

That wouldn't last long, however. Her two sons, William and Harry, would be the best thing to come out of what she revealed to be a "crowded" marriage rife with infidelity. The rebel princess pushed back against tradition and expectation, and channeled her time and energy into humanitarian causes — she was involved with as many as 100 charities at one point.

Much thought was put into the clothes she wore when interacting with the public, like the bright, cheerful colors she wore to appear approachable, and her avoidance of gloves and hats to make human contact and interaction possible. At the height of the AIDS epidemic, images of Diana touching, hugging, and holding those who were sick or dying were a powerful weapon in fighting the stigma of the disease.

On the anniversary of Diana's tragic death, we take a look back at how she went from shy 20-year-old to a princess beloved across the world.

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Dave Caulkin / Associated Press

Princess Diana hugs an HIV-positive child in a hostel for children living in poverty near Sao Paulo, Brazil. The princess toured an AIDS ward during the royal tour of Brazil in 1991.

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Boris Spremo / Getty Images

Post-divorce and in the months before her death, Princess Diana (seen here in 1983) had a new man in her life and spent time with her sons in St. Tropez. She continued her work on humanitarian causes with a trip to Bosnia to meet with land mine survivors. On Aug. 31, 1997, she was killed in Paris during a car crash involving paparazzi along with friend Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul.

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Laura is a photo editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Los Angeles.

Contact Laura Geiser at laura.geiser@buzzfeed.com.

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