Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are kicking off the month of June by showing their support for the LGBTQ+ community. The royal couple took to social media on Saturday to honor Pride Month — and they even managed to work in a sweet tribute to Harry’s late mom, Princess Diana, and the incredible advocacy work she proved so passionate about during her life.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex marked the start of this special month by sharing a collage of photos on their official Instagram account. “Continuing with our tradition to rotate the accounts we follow based on causes and social issues that matter to us: For the month of June we ‘proudly’ shine a light on PRIDE,” the couple captioned the collage. “This month we pay tribute to the accounts supporting the LGBTQ+ community — those young and old, their families and friends, accounts that reflect on the past and are hopeful for a deservedly more inclusive future. We stand with you and support you. Because it’s very simple: love is love.”
The couple went on to note that the colorful images comprising the collage are from artist Ruben Guadalupe Marquez as well as from Instagram accounts the Duke and Duchess now follow. Among the people featured in the nine photos, one familiar face stands out: Princess Diana’s.
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Continuing with our tradition to rotate the accounts we follow based on causes and social issues that matter to us: For the month of June we “proudly” shine a light on PRIDE. This month we pay tribute to the accounts supporting the LGBTQ+ community – those young and old, their families and friends, accounts that reflect on the past and are hopeful for a deservedly more inclusive future. We stand with you and support you 🌈 Because it’s very simple: love is love. Images above from the accounts we are now following and artist Ruben Guadalupe Marquez
Per Harper’s Bazaar U.K., the image carries significant personal weight, as it is an iconic representation of Princess Diana’s “revolutionary” charity work in the LGBTQ+ sphere. In the photo, which was taken in 1996, Lady Di sits upon a hospital bed, smiling at an AIDS patient seated beside her. The photo was taken at the London Lighthouse, a hospice center for people affected by HIV and AIDS. And notably, it serves as a reminder of the then-radical support Princess Diana showed LGBTQ+ people at a time when there existed a deep-seated social stigma surrounding the community. In fact, in 1989 Diana opened the first HIV unit in London at Middlesex Hospital, where she made headlines for shaking and holding the hands of patients without wearing gloves.
Princess Diana was also quite memorably close friends with gay icon Elton John, who addressed her inclusivity in a 2017 documentary titled Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy. “(AIDS) was considered to be a gay disease. 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,” he said in the film.
Along with Meghan, Harry is clearly following in his mother’s footsteps. In April 2018, a month ahead of their wedding, the couple made a commitment during a meeting with Commonwealth Youth Forum delegates to champion LGBTQ+ issues. According to Australian delegate Jacob Thomas, who was recognized for helping to reduce his nation’s suicide rate within the LGBTQ+ community, Harry was bolstered by recent progress.
“Prince Harry said that what was so amazing was that 10 or so years ago, we wouldn’t have been having this conversation and how incredible it was that we now were,” Thomas said, adding that the matter was very cut-and-dry for Harry’s then-bride-to-be. “Miss Markle said, and these were her exact words, ‘This is a basic human rights issue, not one about sexuality.’”