Princess Diana Reaction to 'Loose Cannon' Jab Goes Viral—'Burst Into Tears'

Archive footage of Princess Diana reacting to criticism that she was a "loose cannon" for supporting the abolishment of landmines just months before her untimely death has gone viral on social media.

A clip of the princess being confronted with the news that an unnamed member of the U.K. government had condemned her position on landmines during a Red Cross visit to Angola was filmed and released as part of a documentary narrated by the princess to promote the landmine appeal.

Princess Diana Angola 1997 Controversy
Princess Diana photographed on her Red Cross visit to Angola in January 1997. The princess faced criticism in Britain for her strong views on landmines. Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty Images

Uploaded to TikTok by user dianaversion61, the video shows the immediate aftermath of the princess being told about the comments, where she is heard to say she felt as though she could "burst into tears."

The viral video has been viewed over 160,000 times and received in excess of 7,000 likes and 100 comments.

Diana traveled to Angola with the Red Cross in January 1997 to see firsthand the devastating effects that anti-personnel landmine explosions were having on the lives of the people.

No longer a member of the royal family, having divorced officially a year earlier in 1996, the Angola trip marked a new era for Diana as she forged a new public role outside the monarchy. This earned her criticism by some who felt that she should still be apolitical and non-partisan in the work she undertook.

Part of the princess' post-royal work involved a desire to make documentary films. The first followed her through Angola, which was later narrated by the royal and broadcast by the BBC.

After the princess made comments during her visit, calling for governments to ban the trade, manufacture or imports of landmines without compromise, the British media widely published commentary from an unnamed government minister condemning her.

It was also alleged that some in Britain felt the royal's position on landmines aligned too closely with the position of the Labour government.

Cited in a number of newspapers, the unnamed minister said: "Britain is one of the goodies on landmines. We are helping draw up a sensible worldwide compromise package. We do not need a loose cannon like her."

Princess Diana Angola Landmines
Princess Diana photographed walking through a minefield on her visit to Angola in January 1997. The princess' trip was filmed for a documentary film shown by the BBC. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

After the comment was published, BBC royal correspondent Jennie Bond (who was covering the Angola trip), questioned Diana about it.

"Ma'am, a government minister at home has said you're a loose cannon by supporting this campaign. Do you have any reaction to that?" she asked in front of the documentary and press cameras.

"Jennie, I'm only trying to highlight a problem that's going on all around the world. That's all," the princess responded.

Bond then pursued the line, asking: "It's been said though that you're aligning yourself with Labour policy. Do you think that's wise?"

To which Diana answered: "Labour? I don't know what you're talking about. I don't know?"

In the documentary, titled Diary of A Princess, the footage is then followed by Diana getting into her car which features in the viral clip.

"It really makes me burst into tears now," she told a Red Cross member who was traveling with her. "Am I—who said I'm a loose cannon?"

In response to the controversy, the princess went on to say in a voiceover for the scene that: "I am not a political figure, nor do I want to be one, but I come with my heart and I want to bring awareness to people in distress whether it's in Angola or any part of the world. The fact is I'm a humanitarian figure. Always have been and always will be."

Princess Diana Meets Landmine Victims
Princess Diana photographed meeting victims of landmine explosions during her visit to Angola in January 1997. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty Images

A number of comments on the viral TikTok have praised the princess, who died seven months after the landmines visit from injuries sustained in a high-speed Paris car crash with then-boyfriend Dodi Fayed.

"That poor soul was so destroyed by media and those that had nothing better to do than to try to damage her!" wrote one user.

"She was an outstanding human," posted another, with a further commenter adding: "I love what Diana did for the world."

Today, the princess' work with landmines is continued by her son, Prince Harry, who has visited Angola and continues to have a strong relationship with The Halo Trust, the anti-landmine charity supported by Diana in the final year of her life.

James Crawford-Smith is Newsweek's royal reporter based in London. You can find him on Twitter at @jrcrawfordsmith and read his stories on Newsweek's The Royals Facebook page.

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