The trip you didn’t know about: Princess Diana’s two days in Moscow

Принцесса Диана во время посещения Тушинской детской больницы.

Принцесса Диана во время посещения Тушинской детской больницы.

Sergei Mamontov/TASS
As the world remembers Princess Diana, who passed away 20 years ago, we recall the first and only visit the Princess of Wales made to Russia in 1995.

/ AP/ AP

A genuine commitment to humanitarian work and dedication to improve the lives of disadvantaged people brought the Princess of Wales to many countries around the world - and Russia was no exception. She traveled to Moscow in June 1995, but didn’t stay for long: the trip was brief and lasted for just two days.

/ AP/ AP

Diana arrived on June 15 and straight from the airport headed to the Russian parliamentary building (also known as the White House) to meet with Russian state officials in charge of social policy – Deputy Prime Minister Yury Yarov and Minister of Social Security Ludmila Bezlepkina.

/ Reuters/ Reuters

Later that evening the Princess showed up at the Bolshoi Theater. The public applauded her as she took her seat in the royal box to watch the ballet La Sylphide.

/ AP/ AP

Diana loved ballet but was too tall to dance professionally. A supporter of the English National Ballet, she met with the Russian Bolshoi dancers as well.

 / Sergei Mamontov / TASS / Sergei Mamontov / TASS

On the second day of her trip, Diana visited Tushinskaya Children’s Hospital, which she supported even before her arrival in Moscow as head of the Hospital’s Charity Fund.

/ Sergei Mamontov / TASS/ Sergei Mamontov / TASS

First and foremost, the Princess wanted to speak with the kids. Prior to meeting the hospital’s senior management, she sat on the floor with the kids and asked her interpreter to translate everything the sick children were telling her.

“A very calm and persistent woman she was,” one of the hospital’s employees later recalled. “She went to the traumatology department to meet with children who had been hurt in car and train accidents, and she saw the wounds. Even members of her escorting personnel fainted, but she calmly walked around the department.” 

 / Reuters / Reuters

Diana brought new medical equipment to the hospital, including infant dummies to be used for medical training. She even carried out a workshop for medical students on how to swaddle a baby.

/ AP/ AP

After the hospital, the Princess visited primary school no. 751, where she opened a branch of the Waverly House Relief Fund for assistance to disabled children.

 / Sergei Mamontov / TASS / Sergei Mamontov / TASS

Everywhere she went, there were crowds of people keen to sneak a peek or even ask for an autograph. The official photographers had a hard time following her around the city, but she didn’t leave the capital without seeing the Kremlin and the Red Square, of course.

 / Wikipedia / Wikipedia

The trip to Moscow ended at the British Embassy, where the chairman of the Russian Party of Social Democracy Alexander Yakovlev formally presented the Princess with a Leonardo Award for her social and humanitarian work. Two years later, as the world was shaken by the horrible news of her death, the then President of Russia Boris Yeltsin pointed to the fact that Diana was loved not only in Britain, but in other countries too, including Russia. 

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