April 29, 1987: Diana, Princess of Wales comes aboard the QEII off Cowes to join 400 schoolchildren who had embarked in Southampton.
A fly-past by the Concorde and RAF Harrier jets salute the QE2 as everyone aboard watches. Following her annual overhaul in November 1983, the QEII developed boiler problems which resulted in the cancellation of a cruise. In October 1984 an electrical fire caused a complete loss of power and delayed the QE2 for two days. On her return to Southampton, it was decided that diesel engines would have to be fitted to the ship in order to increase efficiency. This, the largest maritime conversion at the time, was done by Lloyd Werft at Bremerhaven Germany and was expected to save Cunard £12 million a year in fuel costs. The work meant that the ship was out of service from November 1986 to April 1987. QEII then underwent trials in the North Sea, where a top speed of 34 knots was recorded. The ship returned to commercial service in April 1987. The ship’s farewell celebration was in October 2008.
With new machinery, new interiors and a new funnel (a fatter version of the original designed to house the nine new diesel exhaust pipes), QE2 looked better then ever and certainly was more fuel efficient. A part of the relaunch daily programme of the day is below.
The Princess of Fun aboard the relaunch party for children on the QEII, April 29, 1987. She spent several hours onboard and met many of the ship’s 1000 strong crew. 3000 red, white and blue balloons were released from the ship’s stern as she watched with her young admirers, including some clowns.
28 April 1992: The Official Opening of Riddings Community Centre by Princess Diana, on West Street, Riddings, Derbyshire. Mrs Elsie Mellors is the second lady on the left in the front row in green and cream.
Hundreds turned out to see Diana open the Riddings Park Community Centre. On a gloriously sunny day, Diana toured the premises before going on a walkabout and chatting with some of the onlookers. She over ran her schedule by 40 minutes at the centre that morning.
Her next stop that day was the Whitemoor Day Centre for the disabled in Belper.
Whitemoor provides opportunities for adults with learning disabilities, profound and multiple learning disabilities, and autism and complex needs. It also aids them in accessing activities and gaining skills within Whitemoor and the local community. Whitemoor is in Belper, Derbyshire. Her last stop that day was the Babington Hospital in Belper. In her capacity as Patron of The British Red Cross Youth she went there to open a new Red Cross Training Centre on the grounds of the hospital.
Pat Marjoram, a charity worker at the hospital, recalls the Princess’ visit as she was the one who set up a local centre for the Red Cross, ran courses, and volunteered at the town’s Babington Hospital. Pat devoted a lot of energy to setting up the training room at Babington Hospital which was opened by Princess Diana during this visit.
The Princess was patron of the Red Cross Youth of which there was a strong contingent in Derbyshire. She said: “Princess Diana was absolutely wonderful.
“She was very tall and she really was beautiful. She had the manner where you felt she’d come just to see you and that she was very reluctant to leave.”
When the Princess arrived, the children were clustered in little groups in the hospital garden doing various activities. Pat said: “They were sitting on blankets on the grass and the Princess went and sat with them.”
April 27, 1983: Princess Diana on a walkabout in Otago New Zealand when she attended a luncheon at the Otago Boys High School in Dunedin, New Zealand after the official re-opening by HRH The Prince of Wales.
Otago Boys High School was established in 1863 to provide education for students from Dunedin, Otago and Southland. This remains the central focus for the school today, although students from other parts of New Zealand and overseas are now included on our roll.
The school opened on its present site in Arthur Street in 1885. The Main Tower Block, designed by Mr R A Lawson, has long been regarded as one of the finest pieces of victorian architecture in Dunedin.
Mr. D. J. MacLachlan, Rector from 1963 to 1985, worked tirelessly for the construction of the main teaching block, which now bears his name. Included in his efforts were the preservation and refurbishment of the Main Tower Block, the central feature of which is the Maurice Joel Theatre. New teaching blocks were built on the Arthur Street site and opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1983. The old Assembly Hall was reconstructed as the Theatre and Auditorium. The Prince and Princess toured the library and also the gymnasium as seen in the photo below.
HRH The Prince of Wales, above, re-opens Otago Boys’ High school after a major rebuilding. Dressed in academic robes, he spoke at the re-opening ceremony and called for New Zealanders to have the same respect for the land as Maori and not to copy other countries but to learn from their mistakes. After the ceremony, the Princess unveiled a commemorative plaque and Prince Charles signed the guestbook.
They then attended a celebratory lunch at the school’s auditorium. Princess Diana below with the Rector, Donald MacLachlan.
Later they took a walkabout around Otago and met the large crowds that had turned out to see them.
Princess Diana arriving at the Babino Gesu Hospital, Rome, Italy, April 26, 1985. She is wearing a Bruce Oldfield suit in black and white with a swathed jacket that buttoned at the side. She paired it with a fez style straw hat by Viv Knowland with a seeded pearl flower hat pin and black seamed stockings with tiny bows at the ankles.
The Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital (Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù) is a children’s hospital located in Rome, Italy. It accomplishes its institutional Christian testimony by providing public services in the healthcare field.
The Hospital, which was founded in 1869, is now part of the network of the National Healthcare System in the city of Rome on extraterritorial area administered by the Holy See. Since 1980, due to its prestige and to the strengthening of its relations with the Italian National Health System, it has become a significant point of reference for paediatrics at the national level.
During her walkabout outside the hospital, Diana tried out her Italian on the crowds and fans she shook hands with. The Italians were delighted and proclaimed that her solo visit to the hospital was a huge success. Prince Charles had met with the President of the Italian Senate that same morning.
Lunchtime that day saw Charles and Diana reunited for refreshments at the Casina Valadier Villa Borghese, followed by lunch with the President of the Council of Ministers, Signor Bettino Craxi.
In the afternoon, after a brief visit to the British Company FAO, the Prince and Princess of Wales visited Boy’s Town, an orphanage that was started after World War II by Monsignor John Patrick Carroll-Abbing.
At the end of World War II, thousands of orphaned children in Rome found themselves living on the streets, hustling and shining shoes to buy their next meal. These ‘shoeshine boys’ captured the attention of the Irish Catholic priest Monsignor John Patrick Carroll-Abbing, who, with the blessings of the Pope, took leave of the Vatican and made his first foray into what would become his life’s work.
The Monsignor started off sheltering these boys at what was called ‘The Shoeshine Hotel’ near Rome’s Termini train station. Gradually, he built a community where these children found food, shelter and an opportunity to grow in a safe and loving environment.
In 1951, Boys’ Town was built on the outskirts of Rome, funded primarily by a generous Italian-American donor community that was moved by the Monsignor’s appeal. This 200-acre community welcomed orphans of war and victims of poverty and gave them, in the Monsignor’s words, “A Chance in Life”, a phrase that would soon become the motto of the organization.
At Boys’ Town, these young people received education and vocational training to help them find employment and build secure lives upon becoming adults. Crucially, the Monsignor also established a self-government model and gave these young people the responsibility of managing the Town. This ultimately created a community of empowered, self-reliant youth.
The Prince and Princess toured the facility with Monsignor Carroll-Abbing and visited with the children in the pottery studios and various other classrooms.
Princess Diana unveiled a commemorative plaque during the visit and Prince Charles gave a speech in the school’s auditorium after which one of the boys thanked them for visiting.
They were presented with a large round ceramic plate made in the school’s pottery studio.
The press that day reported that the tour of the Boys’ Town was of immense interest to the Princess and that she was keen to see and learn about the childrens’ lives there.
The £8 million Riverside Leisure Centre (originally the Plaza Leisure Centre), began construction in 1984 and was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales on Wednesday, July 2, 1986. The Princess pressed a button that turned on the pool area including the water flume. She also tried her hand at snooker.
The Princess had a private lunch in the Guildhall and then watched a pageant depicting 150 years of the police service as it marched down the High Street.
Arriving in Exeter July 2, 1986
At the private luncheon which Angela Swiffen attended with her classmates
True to her word, Princess Diana visited Angela at her school, Dr. Barnardo’s Princess Margaret School, on October 13, 1986 in Taunton. Sadly, the little girl passed away in April 1997. The details of her story are in the news article above.
Princess Diana chatting with physiotherapist Pam Thompson at the Dr. Barnardos’ Princess Margaret School on October 13, 1986. She was there to open a new addition to the school.