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Paris to name square after Princess Diana near the site of the fatal car crash

Diana was revolutionary in her work to combat the stigma around HIV/Aids

2019-05-30

Words: Steve Brown

Paris will be paying tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales, by naming a square after her.

On August 31, 1997, Diana was involved in a fatal car crash under the Alma Bridge and she tragically died in hospital as a result of her injuries and her companion Dodi Fayed was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

The square near the site of the fatal car crash was to be named after opera diva Maria Callas but now, Parisian authorities have announced that part of the Place de l’Alma will now be called ‘Place Diana princess de Galles’.

A City Hall official said: “We decided to rename the square because it has already been claimed on behalf of Diana by Parians and tourists.”

The new name will be officially inaugurated after a vote by the Paris council in June, but officials say the decision is certain to be approved.

Over the course of her life, Diana was involved in charities helping the homeless and the mentally ill as well as the campaign to ban anti-personnel landmines — none of these safe, expected choices for a princess.

But it’s for her contribution to combating the stigma around HIV/Aids at the height of the epidemic that she made the most impact on the gay community.

Diana’s involvement in HIV activism began in April 1987, when she opened the UK’s first purpose-built HIV/Aids unit at the Middlesex Hospital in London.

When she refused to wear gloves as she met and greeted patients and was photographed shaking hands with a patient, the pictures made headlines around the world.