On Thursday, English Heritage released the names of six women throughout history who are set to receive a blue plaque in 2021.
Other notable figures include designer Jean Muir, anti-slavery campaigner Ellen Craft, scientist Kathleen Lonsdale, barrister Helena Normanton and social reformer Caroline Norton.
The location of the Princess of Wales’ plaque, for which she was nominated by the London Assembly, will be revealed closer to the time of its unveiling but the Heritage said it will be placed on a building associated with her life before her marriage to Prince Charles.
It's widely believed the location will be the west London flat Lady Diana Spencer shared with three friends, as depicted in Netflix’s The Crown, prior to her engagement.
‘Diana would have celebrated her 60th birthday this year, on July 1, 2021. It seems fitting that we should erect a plaque commemorating her work and influence in what would have been her 60th year,’ curatorial director at English Heritage Anna Eavis tells ELLE UK.
‘She was an inspiration and cultural icon to many, raising awareness of issues including landmines and homelessness, and helping to destigmatise illnesses such as HIV, leprosy and depression. It seems fitting that we should erect a plaque commemorating her work and influence in what would have been her 60th year.’
During her life, the late princess devoted countless years to charity work, from campaigning against landmines - symbolised by walking through a minefield in Angola in 1997 - to destigmatising health conditions such as HIV when fear, misinformation and a lack of societal understanding were at a high.
In 2017, Prince Harry accepted Attitude's Legacy Award on his mother’s behalf. During his acceptance speech, the Duke of Sussex noted: ‘In April 1987, my mother was only 25 years old.
‘She was still finding her way in public life, but already she felt a responsibility, to shine her spotlight on the people and issues that were often ignored. She knew that AIDS was one of the things that many wanted to ignore and seemed like a hopeless challenge. She knew that the misunderstanding of this relatively new disease was creating a dangerous situation when mixed with homophobia.’
He added that he often wonders what she’d be doing to continue the fight against HIV and AIDS today if she were still alive.
‘I believe that she would be telling everyone across society – not just those most at risk – that with effective treatment being free and available in the UK, that we must all embrace regular testing – both for our own sake and for those that we love,’ he noted.
Last year, only 14% of around 950 blue plaques from the London scheme celebrated women. In 2018, English Heritage called on the public for more nominations, saying the figure was ‘far too low’.
‘'The plaques also tell us a lot about who we, as a society, consider worthy of recognition. It's only relatively recently that the role of women in history has been acknowledged and the blue plaques scheme partly reflects this historic blindness,' Eavis previously told ELLE UK.
Of the Princess' plaque, Eavis tells us: 'Our Blue Plaques scheme relies upon nominations from members of the public. When the London Assembly polled Londoners to find out which women they thought most deserved a plaque, Diana, Princess of Wales came out as a firm favourite. She was therefore nominated by the London Assembly, on behalf of the people of London.'
Source: Elle Magazine