Princess Diana decided to use her power

35 years since Diana’s historic visit to Middlesex Hospital, playwright Bren Goslin has revisited those days to create Moment of Grace

In 1987, as TV cameras rolled, Princess Diana walked into an Aids ward and shook hands with staff and patients.

At a time when many people (falsely) believed the virus could spread through touch, she was not wearing gloves.

Aids patients at Middlesex Hospital were so afraid of public exposure that a third of them asked to be moved to other wards during Diana’s visit.

Only one agreed to be photographed, and the shot was carefully set up so that his face was invisible.

So why did Princess Diana decide to show her support for HIV patients, at a time when the world was turning its back on them?

At the time of her hospital visit, Princess Diana was being hounded by the tabloid press, which predicted a “Royal break” after she didn’t join her husband Charles on their usual summer trip to Balmoral.

“She knew she was in a position where people were looking at her, so she decided to use that power”