Lara Walsh
Oct 13, 2017 @ 7:30 am

Gone, but not forgotten.

Two decades after her untimely passing, Princess Diana's legacy displayed its longevity on Thursday evening, as the royal was posthumously applauded for her tireless activism.

As Attitude Magazine celebrated the mom of two for helping destigmatize HIV and AIDS at the peak of the epidemic during a special event, her youngest son, Prince Harry, stepped in to accept the honor on behalf of the late princess. "In April of 1987, my mother was only 25-years-old," the flame-haired royal began, calling for regular HIV and AIDS testing.

He continued: "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 the misunderstanding of this relatively new disease was creating a dangerous situation when mixed with homophobia."

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Reflecting on the fearful climate in the '80s, where many believed that the disease could be passed from skin-to-skin contact, the late star's decision to shake hands with a man suffering from the illness was transformative.

"So when that April she shook the hand of a 32-year-old man with HIV in front of the cameras, she knew exactly what she was doing," the royal said. "She was using her position as Princess of Wales, the most famous woman in the world, to challenge everyone to educate themselves, to find their compassion and reach out to those need help instead of pushing them away."

Twenty years later, Prince Harry is following in his mom's footsteps, creating awareness and compassion around the devastating disease. In 2016, he worked to combat the spread of AIDS with a new campaign, in which he was photographed getting tested for HIV alongside Barbadian songstress Rihanna.

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