Diana's Will Be Among New Blue Plaques in London

English Heritage marks the sites where groundbreaking residents lived or worked
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2021 7:00 PM CDT
New Blue Plaques Honor Diana, Other Trailblazers
Princess Diana uses a remote switch to trigger the detonation of explosive ordinance dug up by mine sweepers in Huambo, Angola, in 1997.   (AP Photo/Giovanni Diffidenti, File)

The London flat where Diana Spencer lived before marrying Prince Charles will soon be marked with a blue plaque by English Heritage. The plaques connect significant London residents with the buildings where they worked or lived. Diana lived in the west London flat with three friends after her parents gave it to her as an 18th birthday gift in 1979. Nominations were offered by the public, the Guardian reports, and Diana's went through the standard process. "Diana is undeniably a really significant figure of the late 20th century," said Anna Eavis of English Heritage. "She made a huge impact and was very popular." Eavis also cited Diana's work on landmines and homelessness, as well as her efforts on behalf of people with HIV, leprosy, and depression. She would have turned 60 this year.

London has more than 900 plaques, but only 14% honor women. A dozen will be added this year, half for women, to reduce the inequity. "We still have a long way to go," Eavis said. The other women being honored, per the BBC, are:

  • Ellen Craft, an American who was enslaved before fleeing to England with her husband in 1850. She disguised herself as a white man, and her husband, who had darker skin, posed as her slave. They lectured against slavery around England.
  • Kathleen Lonsdale, who went to boys schools early last century for math and science classes because they weren't taught at her girls school. Her niche was crystallography, the science of working out the arrangement of atoms in crystalline solids. She became a professor and campaigned for peace and prison reform.
  • Caroline Norton, whose battle for custody of her children influenced Britain's 1857 divorce law. The act permitted women who accused their husbands of cruelty and desertion to obtain a divorce.
  • Helena Normanton, the first woman to practice law at the bar in England, and who fought for married women to be able to keep their money and property instead of turning it over to their husband. She co-founded the Married Women's Association early in the 20th century.
  • Jean Muir, a fashion designer who championed Britain's fashion manufacturing as a skilled industry. "We must combat once and for all the idea that there is something lowly about working with one's hands," Muir said. "Hands need the mind."
(More London stories.)

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