Speech given by Diana, Princess of Wales for the Headway Charity Lunch
on 3rd December 1993 at the Hilton Hotel in London
The Time and Space Speech
It is a pleasure to be here with you again sharing in your successes of the past year. Headway has grown into an organisation which is improving the quality of so many lives. I’m so proud of the work you’ve achieved.
In the past twelve years, I can honestly say, that one of my greatest pleasures has been my association with people like yourselves. During those years I have met many thousands of wonderful and extraordinary people, both here and around the world. The cared for and the carers.
To the wider public, may I say that I’ve made many friends. I’ve been allowed to share your thoughts and dreams, your disappointments and your happiness. You have also given me an education. By teaching me more about life and living than any books or teachers could have done. My debt of gratitude to you all is immense. I hope, in some way, I’ve been of service in return.
A year ago, I spoke of my desire to continue with my work unchanged. For the past year I have continued as before. However, life and circumstances alter and I hope you will forgive me if I use this opportunity to share with you my plans for the future which now indeed have changed.
When I started my public life, twelve years ago, I understood the media might be interested in what I did. I realised then their attention would inevitably focus on both our private and public lives.
But I was not aware of how overwhelming that attention would become. Nor the extent to which it would affect both my public duties and my personal life, in a manner, that’s been hard to bear.
At the end of this year, when I’ve completed my diary of official engagements, I will be reducing the extent of the public life I’ve lead so far.
I attach great importance to my charity work and intend to focus on a smaller range of area’s in the future.
Over the next few months I will be seeking a more suitable way of combining a meaningful public role, with hopefully, a more private life.
My first priority will continue to be our children, William and Harry, who deserve as much love, and care, and attention as I am able to give, as well as an appreciation of the tradition into which they were born.
I would also like to add that this decision has been reached with the full understanding of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, who have always shown me kindness and support.
I hope you can find it in your hearts to understand and to give me the time and space that has been lacking in recent years.
I couldn’t stand here today and make this sort of statement without acknowledging the heartfelt support I’ve been given by the public in general. Your kindness and generous affection has carried me through some of the most difficult periods. And always, your love and care has eased that journey.
And for that I thank you, from the bottom of my heart.