Did Queen Elizabeth II Try to Stop Princess Diana's HIV/AIDS Work?

In the aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II's death, a discussion has arisen surrounding claims that the late monarch did not approve of her former daughter-in-law Princess Diana's tireless work with HIV/AIDS charities.

Buckingham Palace confirmed the news of the queen's passing on September 8, saying in a statement that she "died peacefully at Balmoral [Castle]" in Scotland, some 17 months after her husband Prince Philip passed away on April 9, 2021.

As the Queen's legacy continues to be discussed on social media, a tweet has gone viral, claiming that the sovereign attempted to discourage Diana's charity work with HIV/AIDS patients and the bodies that supported them.

Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Diana
Princess Diana is pictured right at the opening the Broderip Ward at the Middlesex Hospital, London, the first purpose-built ward for patients with AIDS and HIV-related diseases, on April 9, 1987. Queen Elizabeth II is pictured inset on June 9, 2018, in London, England. Following the Queen's death, claims have resurfaced that she disapproved of Diana's work with HIV/AIDS charities. Anwar hussein/Getty Images;/Karwai Tang/WireImage

Diana, who tied the knot with Prince Charles in 1981, visited the Middlesex Hospital in London on April 9, 1987, where she officially opened the first dedicated medical ward for the treatment of HIV/AIDS patients in the U.K.

While at the facility, she made headlines by shaking the hand of an HIV/AIDS patient without wearing any gloves—proving wrong a then widely misguided belief that the virus could be spread through touch.

Through her philanthropic work, Diana also visited a leprosy hospital in Indonesia, where she was seen touching the bandaged wounds of patients undergoing treatment.

As news of the Queen's death circulated, a tweet showing Diana making a speech went viral, alongside the caption: "During the 1980s, the queen tried to stop Princess Diana's work in HIV advocacy, telling her to do something 'more pleasant.' But Diana ignored her, instead using her platform to tackle stigma and offer comfort to terrified people sick with what was then a terminal illness."

But did the Queen truly object to Diana's work in this area?

According to Diana's former bodyguard Ken Wharfe, the mother of princess William and Harry was, indeed, encouraged to dedicate her philanthropic efforts to a "more pleasant" cause.

Per The Telegraph, Wharfe said in 2008 during an inquest into Diana's 1997 death: "Once she returned [from the Queen] and was distressed. I asked her, 'What's the matter?' and she said, 'The Queen doesn't like me getting involved with AIDS and leprosy, why don't you get involved with something more pleasant?'

"Diana was angry the Queen could not see what she was doing. She felt a member of the royal family should be involved with campaigns to find a cure for AIDS."

While Buckingham Palace did not comment on the allegations at the time, the Queen shook the hand of an HIV-positive man during a visit to a Ugandan clinic for AIDS orphans in November 2007.

Princess Diana's HIV/AIDS charity work
Princess Diana is pictured left visiting a patient at the London Lighthouse, a centre for people affected by HIV and AIDS on October 1, 1996, in London, England. She is pictured right shaking hands with an AIDS patient at the Middlesex Hospital on April 9, 1987, in London, England. Jayne Fincher/Getty Images/Anwar Hussein/WireImage

Diana, whose divorce from Charles was finalized in 1996, was credited with working to end the stigma associated with HIV/AIDs in both adults and children, continuing to make public and private visits to patients around the world.

In 1991, Diana said in a speech: "HIV does not make people dangerous to know. You can shake their hands and give them a hug. Heaven knows they need it. What's more, you can share their homes, their workplaces, and their playgrounds and toys.

"We all need to be alert to the special needs of those for whom AIDS is the last straw in already heavy burden of discrimination and misfortune."

On the evening of August 31, 1997, a car that Diana was traveling in with her boyfriend, Dodi Fayed, and bodyguard, Trevor Rees-Jones, collided with a central structural pillar in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel in Paris.

Diana, Fayed and the Ritz's acting head of security, Henri Paul—who was driving the car at the time of the accident—died, while Rees-Jones survived but suffered life-altering injuries.

The Queen would pass away 25 years later at the age of 96.

Queen Elizabeth II visits HIV/AIDS clinic
Queen Elizabeth II is pictured meeting a family affected by AIDS at the Mildmay centre for AIDS Orphans on November 22, 2007, in Kampala, Uganda. Pool/Getty Images